Plan and book your wedding or civil partnership ceremony

Civil registration fees

From Tuesday 28 May our civil registration fees will be increasing, any appointments that you make starting from that date will be subject to the new fee increases.

Contents

What happens on your wedding day

Your ceremony booking confirmation email will advise you of your pre-ceremony interview start time. This is scheduled 30 minutes before your ceremony start time and you must ensure that you are ready and available to be seen.

A ceremony officer will conduct the pre-ceremony interview and ceremony and will be happy to answer any last-minute questions that you may have.

Arrival

You will be greeted by the ceremony officer for a brief meeting. This meeting is to ensure that all the information given at your notice of marriage appointment is still correct as of the day. You will be asked to confirm if you wish to include your natural, step or adopted parent's full names and occupations.

These details will be pre-recorded on your schedule and any changes will be amended with your confirmation. You will be asked to initial any changes during this meeting. This is to make sure that the schedule is correct on the day and when entered into the electronic register the information is accurate.

You will also be advised that your certificate will be sent in the post and an address for posting will be agreed upon at the time. 

You and your guests must be on time as the ceremony officer will have other ceremonies to attend on the same day. Please consider this when advising guests of their arrival time. See your ceremony confirmation email for the suggested arrival time.

For details of guest and seating capacity in our ceremony rooms, please see our registration office pages. For information on approved venue seating, please contact the venue.

Order of events

A typical running order for the ceremony is:

Marriage and civil partnership ceremony

  • Introduction and welcome
  • Declaration of freedom to marry
  • First reading
  • Contracting words
  • Exchanging of rings
  • Additional promises
  • Second reading
  • Signing the schedule

Marriage and civil partnership registration

  • Introduction and welcome
  • Declaration of freedom to marry
  • Contracting words
  • Exchanging rings
  • Signing the schedule

No other embellishments for a marriage registration can be offered due to the location and limited time available for registration. Guests are limited to the 2 witnesses only.

The marriage legalities conclude with the formal signing of the schedule which will take place after you have been declared husband(s) and/or wife(s).

Marriage ceremony words

In a marriage ceremony you will say the following:

Declaratory words

​The choice of words below are spoken aloud during the ceremony in the presence of witnesses by both partners as a declaration that they are free to marry.

(a) Traditional: “I do solemnly declare that I know not of any lawful impediment why I [full name] may not be joined in matrimony to [full name of partner]”

(b) Modern: “I declare that I know of no legal reason why I [full name] may not be joined in marriage to [full name of partner]”

(c) Simplified: “(If the answer to my question is yes please reply I am).

Are you [full name] free lawfully to marry [full name of partner]?”.

Contracting words

​The choice of words below are spoken aloud during the ceremony in the presence of witnesses by both partners to signify they are entering into a contract of marriage.

(a) Traditional: “I call upon these persons here present to witness that I [full name] do take thee [full name of partner] to be my lawful wedded husband/wife”

(b) Modern: “I [full name] take you [full name of partner] to be my wedded husband or wife”

(c) Simplified: “I [full name] take thee [full name of partner] to be my wedded husband or wife”.

Readings and additional promises

For ceremonies, the couple can have an additional reading and exchange additional promises to make the ceremony even more special. Your guests can take the lead with readings if you wish.

Witnesses

  • The law requires that you have 2 witnesses at your marriage or civil partnership (ceremonies only)
  • They can be relatives or friends and must be able to speak and understand English - children and young people can sign the schedule as additional witnesses
  • All witnesses must be able to understand what is taking place and testify to what they have witnessed

Ceremony conclusion

The formal signing of the schedule will take place after you have been declared husband and wife/husband and husband/wife and wife.

Flowers

All ceremony rooms in the Registration Offices are decorated with either silk or dried flower arrangements.

Confetti

Confetti is a familiar part of any marriage. We simply ask your guests not to throw confetti inside the building.

Photographs and recording the event (for ceremonies only)

  • This is up to you and your guests but recording needs to be discreet during the ceremony
  • The ceremony cannot be interrupted for recording
  • Some of our registration offices are close to attractive public parks that provide excellent backdrops for your photographs

Please let us know in advance when you submit the planning form so we are prepared. 

Use of an interpreter

  • If one or both of you is unable to speak and/or understand English, you will need to provide an interpreter
  • Interpreters will be asked to sign the marriage or civil partnership schedule as witness
  • Interpreters will be asked to sign a statement that he/she has translated the questions and answers correctly
  • You are not able in law to interpret for each other

Ceremony fees

For details of current charges please see our fees page.

Booking terms and conditions

For information on our booking conditions see our terms and conditions page.

Last updated 06 March 2024