Civil Wedding Ceremonies

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This might not be the most glamorous part of planning your big day, but without it there is no wedding.

A civil wedding is a legally approved ceremony, carried out by a registrar. The ceremony can also include music and readings, so long as they are of a non-religious nature.

Civil marriages and civil partnerships in England and Wales can take place in the following:

  • A register office
  • An approved venue, which includes hotels and stately homes

Giving notice

Both you and your partner will need to visit the register office to give notice, this is a formal declaration of your intention to marry or form a civil partnership.

If you and your partner live in different districts, you will each need to go to your local register office, many of which will operate on an appointment basis. Both of you must have resided in the relevant district for at least 7 days before giving notice.

Charlton House - licensed for civil ceremonies and civil partnerships.
Charlton House, London

If you are getting married in a different area to where you reside, then you should still give notice at your local register office but also contact the district in which you wish to marry in order ensure that a registrar is available on the chosen date.

You must give notice of your intention to marry at least 28 days before the marriage or civil partnership is to take place. You will also be required to pay a fee (£35 each as of May 2015).

London Borough of Bexley - Manor House, Sidcup.
Sidcup Manor House, Kent

Both of you will be required to provide original documents as evidence of the following when giving notice:

  • Name
  • Address
  • Date of birth
  • Nationality

If you or your partner have been married or in a civil partnership before, you will need to provide evidence that you are free to remarry or enter in to a new civil partnership. Proof includes:

  • A decree absolute or final order of civil partnership dissolution bearing the court’s original stamp
  • The death certificate of your former partner

Please note that an English translation will be required for any documents not in English. It is highly recommended that you clarify in advance which documents the register office will actually accept when giving notice.

Following this, notices are displayed at the register office for 28 clear days in view of members of the public. After the 28 clear days have expired your authority to marry will be issued.