Civil marriages and civil partnerships are not religious ceremonies.
A civil marriage is the union of two people in the eyes of the law.
A civil partnership is when two people of the same sex enter into a legal partnership.
If you are 16 or 17 and want to get married or enter a civil partnership, you will need permission in order to marry or form a civil partnership unless you have been widowed or a surviving civil partner.
You will need the permission of a parent with parental responsibility or any legal guardian. In certain circumstances, you will need the permission of someone else as well as the permission of your parent or guardian. This might be because you have been looked after by the social services or because of other personal circumstances.
If you don't know where your parents are, parental consent may not be available. If this is the case, the General Register Office may waive the need for permission or a court can give the necessary permission.
You'll get a marriage certificate, dated when your civil partnership was formed.
You must sign a legal statement to say you intend to get married or form a civil partnership. This is known as 'giving notice'. You must give notice at least 29 days before your ceremony, excluding the date the notice is signed off. For example, if you give notice on 1 June, the earliest date you can get married or form a civil partnership is 30 June.
You must hold your ceremony within 12 months of 'giving notice'.
You must apply for a visa to get married or form a civil partnership in the UK if you:
The visa or permit you need depends on where you or your partner are from and whether you want to live in the UK after your ceremony.
Notice of intention to marry cannot be given until the party living outside the country has arrived. If either of you is a foreign national, you must both attend a designated register office to give notice. The nearest designated register offices to us are at Hull, Sheffield and Lincoln. You must wait until the person arriving from abroad has established residence in England and Wales for at least 8 days. Notice of marriage can then be given but, you must wait a minimum of 29 and possibly up to 70 clear days before the marriage can take place.
For information regarding a marriage visa, a family visa or a family permit, visit the GOV.UK website: Check if you can get married or form a civil partnership (external website)
If you're a British national getting a marriage or civil partnership abroad, you might need certain documents from the UK government, for example a Certificate of No Impediment (CNI). A certificate of no impediment for some countries can be granted 29 days after a notice of intention to marry is submitted.
At this present time marriages cannot take place in your home or a private venue. Your chosen venue needs to have a licence for marriages, these are applied for by commercial venues.
If your ceremony is to be held outdoors you and the venue must also identify an alternative indoor licensed area, which is available for use in the case of bad weather. The area must be able to accommodate the same number of guests you have invited for outdoors.
The venue and the registrars will make the final decision if the ceremony can be held outside on the date of your ceremony due to weather conditions.
A celebratory ceremony is a ceremony held in a private venue after the legal wedding registration or formation has been completed in a registration office, registered building (church or chapel) or an approved venue. If you decide to have your ceremony in a private venue, there will be an additional venue assessment fee which must be paid at the time of booking your wedding package.
Find out more about the assessment fee in our cost guide.
You will need to provide us with a simple hand drawn picture of the venue and the positioning of the ceremony 6 months in advance. If you choose to hold your ceremony in a small private venue, we will provide you with a basic guide to assist and you will be invited to a meeting with a dedicated celebrant to help you build your ceremony. The basic guide can be picked up during the interview or sent via email.
If your ceremony is to be held outdoors you must also identify an alternative area, which is under cover and available for use in the case of bad weather conditions. The area must be able to accommodate the same number of guests you have invited for outdoors.
Please note: there are additional charges for holding your celebratory ceremony in a private venue. Read our cost guide for more information about charges for celebratory ceremonies.
Persons of the Jewish religion are able to marry in a private house, hotel or even outside in a garden as long as the marriage is:
No. Exchanging rings is a personal choice, not a legal requirement.
No. Exchanging vows is a personal preference, not a legal requirement.
Live music is permitted during the ceremony if the venues is approved. You need to speak to your venue regarding any restrictions.
Any music that you choose must be:
If the music you want to play during the ceremony is pre-recorded, we have to check that your CD is compatible with our sound systems. Music compatibility check:
We suggest that you select a few pieces of music:
Please note: the tracks on the CD you submit need to be arranged from 1 to 8 as described above.
A pay and discuss appointment is when you pay the outstanding fee for your wedding package. You will also have the opportunity to discuss any final requirements and confirm the details of your ceremony, such as music and reading arrangements.
The pay and discuss appointment will be 4 weeks before the date of your ceremony.
You can attend a group rehearsal evening at the register office in Beverley.
Ceremony rehearsals take place on the second Wednesday evening of each calendar month between March and October. You will be contacted two weeks before the rehearsal to confirm the date and the time.
Please note: wedding and civil partnership rehearsals are subject to enough couples wishing to attend.
Read more about the rehearsal charges in our cost guide.
There are a few things to be aware of:
No. Only a civil registrar can conduct the ceremony.
The minimum number of witnesses you need is two. They need to speak English and have given you permission to be your witnesses.
We suggest a minimum age of 15 for your witnesses.
If you get married or hold your civil partnership in church then you need to contact your minister directly to check on the availability of the church on your chosen date.
If you have decided on a church or chapel of any other denomination other than the Church of England or Wales you will need to give notice of intention to marry. There are some churches/chapels, which are registered with the Registrar General's Office for holding civil partnership formations/ceremonies, if you are unsure as to if your chosen church/chapel is, the minister or your local registration office will be able to advise you.
There is no legal requirement to take your partner's name after you get married. You can keep your own name. You have the option to take your partner's name or even combine the two.
You only have to notify people or organisations that have an interest in your identity. For example, you will have to notify your employer, your bank and organisation that need to have an updated record of your personal information.
You will receive one marriage certificate on the day. Additional marriage or civil partnership certificates may be purchased. You can buy copies in the future from the registrar at any time. It costs £11 to buy an additional copy your wedding certificate.
You can stay married if you apply for a Gender Recognition Certificate.
You and your spouse must fill in a statutory declaration saying you both agree to stay married. You'll get an 'interim certificate' if you or your spouse do not want to remain married, or if your spouse does not fill in a statutory declaration. You can use the interim certificate as grounds to end the marriage. You will only get a full certificate once you end your marriage.
Contact the administrative team at the Gender Recognition Panel if either you or your spouse change your mind about staying married during the application process. If you're in a civil partnership You must either:
Please note: you must covert your civil partnership into a marriage before you apply to the Gender Recognition Panel. Apply for Gender Recognition Certificate (external website)
You need to contact both your venue and your registrars who will go through their cancellation process with you.
You need to contact both your venue and your registrars who will got through their cancellation process with you. Cost guide:
The absolute essential fees you need to pay for when getting married:
You can have a naming ceremony after your wedding or a civil partnership ceremony. You will receive a 25% discount on the overall cost of the ceremonies.
For more information regarding the packages we offer, visit our wedding packages page.
This depends on the type of package you have chosen and when you book your wedding. Booking within a year of your ceremony You will pay £50 deposit Booking over a year from the date of your ceremony You'll pay £50 deposit plus an extra £30 booking fee for keeping the date available for your ceremony.
Yes. It costs £30 per couple to book a wedding rehearsal.
If you decide to have your ceremony in a private venue, there will be an additional £220 venue assessment fee which is paid at the time of booking.
A celebratory ceremony can be held outside office hours and offers more flexibility. There is a £100 extra charge for out of office hours.
Please note: once the assessment has been completed, the fee is non-refundable.
The cancellation fee is £25.
The cancellation fee is £50.
The whole of the ceremony fee must be paid.
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