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What happens during your register office or approved premises ceremony.
Find out more about COVID-19 changes to marriage and civil partnership ceremonies.
To make sure everything runs to time on the day, please arrive at the register office on the day of your ceremony 30 minutes before your start time.
The ceremony is conducted by the superintendent registrar and registered by the registrar. The registrar is also responsible for ensuring that all information which is to be entered into the marriage register is correct on the day.
They will see you and your partner in private to check the details and will be happy to answer any last minute questions you may have about the ceremony or any of the other arrangements.
You will each be asked:
You will need to ask two people, who may be friends or relatives, if they will witness your marriage or civil partnership. Your witnesses must be old enough to understand the ceremony and their role in it, preferably over the age of 18. All they will have to do is watch and listen to the ceremony and sign the register.
Should the services of an interpreter be required, please contact the superintendent registrar of the district where the marriage is to take place for advice.
Once the marriage or civil partnership vows have been exchanged, the registrar will ask you to check that your details have been correctly recorded in the marriage register. Please check this carefully, as any mistakes made and not highlighted before the registrar's have signed and are to be corrected at a later will incur a fee.
If you are sure that everything is correct you will both then be asked to sign the register. Both people should sign using the names they will use moving forward. Your witnesses will then be asked to sign.
As of 4 May 2021, changes were introduced to marriage registration. This provides a more secure system for keeping marriage records and allows you to add more than just your father's name to your registration. You will not receive your marriage certificate on the day but will be asked to sign the marriage schedule.
These changes apply to marriages only and not civil partnerships. Find out more about electronic registration of marriages.
To arrange a wedding in an approved ceremony venue you must first contact the manager or owner of the premises of your choice to make provisional arrangements. You must then contact the registration service to check if a registration officer is able to attend your ceremony on that date and time.
Ceremonies at approved premises will follow a similar format to that in register offices, so please arrive at the venue 30 minutes before your start time.
Please note we cannot guarantee to reach your venue during periods of extreme weather. We will however endeavour to attend as soon as it is safe to do so and regret we will not accept liability for any loss in such instances. Please take this into account when choosing the venue and date for your ceremony.
Telephone: 0300 303 2472
After your ceremony, you can order copies of your certificate.