Planning your ceremony

 Before having your marriage or civil partnership ceremony, there are several important things you need to do.

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1. Choose a ceremony venue

You may have a civil marriage or civil partnership ceremony in any register office or at any approved venue of your choice in England or Wales.

If you decide to have your ceremony in Westminster, there are a number of venues for you to choose from, including:

•    the elegant grade II listed Asia House in Marylebone
•    the intimate rooms of the historic Mayfair Library
•    over 150 other stunning ceremony venues within Westminster

 

2. Book registrars

A civil marriage or a civil partnership is a non-religious ceremony performed by 2 registrars.

If you book your ceremony at Mayfair Library or Asia House, the attendance of the registrars will be booked for you.

If you choose to book your ceremony at one of the other approved venues in Westminster, you'll need to separately book 2 registrars to attend the venue.

The cost of the registrars’ attendance is included in the ceremony fee at all approved venues, excluding religious buildings.

Check availability, view fees and book your ceremony

We recommend that you book early to ensure that registrars are available on your chosen date.

 

3. Give notice of intention

Before getting married or forming a civil partnership, you must both give notice of intention at a register office, usually in the district in which you live.

Westminster Register Office is classed as a designated register office which means that we are also able to take notices of intention for certain non-EEA nationals who live outside of the City of Westminster.

Giving notice involves attending an appointment at a register office where you will declare who you intend to marry or form a civil partnership with, where the ceremony will take place and that you are legally free to get married or form a civil partnership.

This is a legal requirement which must be completed at least 29 days prior to the ceremony. In certain cases, depending on your immigration status, this may be extended to 71 days. Therefore, we advise that whenever possible you give notice at least 3 months prior to your ceremony.

View the full guide for giving notice of intention.

4. Civil ceremonies

Civil ceremonies

Westminster offers a choice of three ceremony scripts, which you can view by going to our ceremonies website

Once you have decided on a script, please email us with your choice and we will update your booking along with information about any readings you may be having as part of your ceremony.

If you would like to change / edit the scripts (whether it's a word or an entire paragraph) we are happy for you to do so. However, you need to send the amended script back to us for via email to registeroffice@westminster.gov.uk no later than 2 weeks before the ceremony. Please note: the words highlighted in bold within each of the ceremony scripts are legal contractual words which must be spoken during your marriage ceremony and cannot be removed or altered.  

Please ensure you do not incorporate anything of a religious nature or any religious connotations. For example, there cannot be any readings from any religious text or any hymns played during the ceremony. Please note: the words, "…to have and to hold, from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, till death do us part" are from the Church of England Book of Common Prayer, so therefore cannot be included in a civil ceremony as they stand.

Personal vows

You are welcome to exchange short, non-religious personal vows during your ceremony. We usually suggest that this takes place prior to the exchange of rings, but we are happy to consider other suggestions that you may have. 

Music

You are welcome to have non-religious music during your ceremony, either live or recorded.  Music is usually played whilst guests wait for the ceremony to begin, for the entrance/start of the ceremony, for the signing of the register and for the exit of the couple/close of ceremony.

 

 

5. Religious ceremonies

Religious weddings

A religious wedding can take place at a church, chapel or other registered religious building.

Most religious venues have an authorised person to perform the ceremony, however some do not so please check this with the venue. If they do not have an authorised person, you will need to book a registrar to attend.

The cost of the registrars attendance is £165 including the non-refundable booking fee of £75. The cost of the ceremony, place of worship hire, marriage certificate and any other legal or religious requirements are not included. Please contact the religious venue directly for information on their fees.

If you are planning on marrying within the Church of England and one or both of you are from outside the European Economic Area, you will both need to give notice of intention at a register office. Please confirm with the church that you meet their requirements before giving notice. In some circumstances, we will require a letter of consent and clarification from the church to be brought with you to your notice appointment.

Those wishing to have a Jewish ceremony are also required to give notice of intention.

If you are planning on marrying in a place of worship that is not a synagogue or part of the Church of England, please make initial enquiries with that religious venue.

6. Statutory ceremonies

Statutory wedding or civil partnership

This is a brief, basic ceremony held in an administrative office at the Westminster Register Office on Harrow Road. There is limited weekday availability and no availability at weekends.

This ceremony cannot be personalised or enhanced with things such as music or readings. Only 2 guests are permitted and they will need to act as witnesses.

This ceremony costs £50 which includes registrar’s attendance and 1 certificate only.

7. Ordering extra marriage certificates

Prior to your ceremony

Extra certificates can be ordered prior to the ceremony date or after the ceremony date. However, please note that extra certificates cannot be ordered on the day of the ceremony. Certificates ordered before the ceremony date are £4.00 each. 

To make an online payment for extra certificates, you will need to have already booked your ceremony and know your booking reference number. On the ordering page, you will need to select Account Group: "Miscellaneous" and Account Type:  "Marriage/Civil Partnership - Certificates" from the drop down list, after which you will be prompted to enter your booking reference and the amount of certificates you require. 

After your ceremony

If your ceremony has already taken please, you can also order copies of your certificate online. However, you are advised to read the information on how to Order a Copy Certificate beforehand as it is a different process. Certificates ordered after the ceremony date are £10.00 and may include the cost of postage. 


Last updated: 23 October 2017
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