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Your Ceremony

We are delighted to be a part of your special day and want to make your ceremony personal to you both.

For Marriages please select the Marriage Options Form 

For Civil Partnerships please select the Civil Partnership Options Form 

The registrars will guide you through your ceremony, which will last about half an hour. Please make sure you and your guests arrive at least 30 minutes before your ceremony is due to start. The registrar will see you and your partner (separately or together) before the ceremony to check your personal details that were given when you gave your notice of marriage.

Outside Ceremonies

If you are hoping to hold your ceremony outdoors, you'll also need to complete our outside ceremony agreement form


You will need to ask two people to witness your ceremony. These can be friends or family members if you wish. Your witnesses must be at least 16 years old, speak English and be able to understand the ceremony and their role in it. They will also have to sign the schedule.


There are words you must say which are prescribed by law. They declare you are free to marry and contract your marriage vows. If you would like to make extra vows to each other, we can give you some examples or you can write your own. Extra vows must not be religious or have any connection with a religious marriage ceremony.

The registrar needs to see them at least 7 days before the ceremony.


Each register office can provide traditional wedding music, or you can use music that has a special meaning for you and your partner. The music cannot be religious. The music can be live or on CD and can be played:

  • whilst your guests are arriving
  • as you walk into the marriage room
  • when you are signing the schedule
  • as you lead your guests from the marriage room

Poetry and readings

If you wish, you or one of your guests could give a reading. You can select a poem or other reading or you could write your own. There is a huge selection of poetry and readings available for you to choose from and by adding these into your ceremony you can make it more personal and meaningful to you both.

Whatever you decide, remember we need to check any readings before your ceremony. There is room on the Marriage Ceremony Options Form for you to tell us which reading you have chosen.

For civil ceremonies, readings are not permitted to have any religious content or association.

Signing the schedule

During the ceremony, the registrar will bring forward the marriage schedule for you and your witnesses to sign. 

You'll receive a commemorative certificate on the day of your ceremony. Please note, the commemorative certificate has no legal standing.

Your legal certificates will be sent to you via post within 7 working days of receipt of the Schedule.

Photos and videos

It is your choice when photographs can be taken. Normally only an official or designated photographer takes photographs during the ceremony. However, there is an opportunity for guests to take photographs after the legal signing of the schedule. This is at the end of the ceremony.

If you would like someone to video your ceremony, the Registrar will let them know the best place to stand.

Please note, no drones are permitted during the ceremony. 


Confetti is not allowed outside the ceremony rooms. Some venues have restrictions on throwing confetti, please check with your venue.

Please ask your guests to turn off mobile phones before the ceremony starts. Please also note that food and drink is not allowed in any of the ceremony rooms.