Apply for a venue licence for marriages and civil partnerships

This licence will allow people to get married or hold a civil partnership at your venue.

To apply for a licence, the venue must be:

  • a permanent structure
  • open to the public
  • non-religious 

Outdoor ceremonies 

The Government has introduced new legislation to enable marriage and civil partnership ceremonies to take place outdoors. This applies to venues that have been approved under the ‘Marriages and Civil Partnerships (Approved Premises) Regulations 2005’. 

Existing venues will not need to resubmit a new application or new plans to enable them to use outside areas for ceremonies, but we will need to work with venues to agree that the areas proposed are seemly and dignified and the location clearly identifiable by description before confirmation can be given to couples.

There is no obligation for venues to offer outside areas for ceremonies if they are not able, or they do not wish to do so. Venues will be responsible for ensuring full access to the public and for displaying signs at all public entrances to the premises confirming where the ceremony is to take place. 

As now, venues will be responsible for compliance with health and safety legislation, including conducting relevant risk assessments. Food or drink should not be served or consumed during the ceremony, but non-alcoholic drinks may be consumed prior to the ceremony. Further guidance is available on GOV.UK.

Licence terms and cost

The licence costs a non-refundable £1,800 and lasts for 3 years.

If you are applying for your first licence you can organise an informal information visit by a Senior Registrar for £75. This will enable the registrar to give you advice guidance on the approval requirements. The £75 fee will be removed from the cost of the licence if you decide to apply for it.

Information to submit

Your application must include:

  • a completed application form
  • 3 copies of your most recent Fire and Safety Risk Assessment
  • 3 copies of plans of your premises (scaled 1:200)
  • a cheque made payable to 'Suffolk County Council'
  • a seating plan to show the number of seats and their positions within each room
  • any other documents required in the application form
Download form

Before you apply

You should read the guidance notes before completing your application:

Religious buildings

Find information about religious buildings wanting to obtain a license for marriage at GOV.UK.

Religious buildings can obtain a licence for civil partnerships by contacting the Licensing Officer, Lynn Flack on 01473 264 380 (open Tuesday to Thursday) or by email at

After you apply

Once we will receive your application we will:

  • issue you with a receipt
  • make an appointment to inspect the premises
  • ask Suffolk Fire and Rescue Service to comment on your application
  • ask your local district or borough council to comment on your application

We will also place a notice in the local newspaper for your area with details of the application, stating a place where the plans can be inspected and notifying the public that they have 21 days to object to the application.

The time taken to process an application varies. We suggest you allow a minimum of 3 months.



Further information

If you have any questions, please contact Lynn Flack: