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. Religious or statutory 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.

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.


Last updated: 27 April 2017
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