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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.

What makes a suitable venue? 

  • It must offer a seemly and dignified area(s) for ceremonies to be held
  • It must be regularly available
  • It must consist of at least one named indoor room for ceremonies to be held and a further private room that can be used for the pre-ceremony interviews
  • Outdoor areas and linked outdoor areas within the boundary of the venue can be included in the licence if desired
  • It must allow free and unfettered access to the public, to enable a legal objection to the ceremony to be lodged

Examples of suitable venue include hotels, country clubs, barns, community, civic & historic buildings. 

Buildings that are used as a place of worship or recognised as having a recent or continuing connection with religion are not usually eligible for licensing for civil ceremonies.

What else will be needed?

  • An up-to-date Fire Safety Risk Assessment
  • A seating plan to show the number of seats and their positions within each room or outside area must be included with your application
  • Confirmation of planning consent
  • A copy of your premises Licence (if held) 
  • One or more named responsible person(s), who are required to be in attendance for each ceremony and for one hour beforehand
  • A scale plan of the premises showing the room(s) and any outdoor areas in which it is intended that marriages/partnership registrations will take place
  • Appropriate arrangements for the health and safety of people in attendance, Accessibility, and adequate public liability insurance
  • Confirmation of the arrangements for parking or access for the registrars
  • Suitable toilet facilities
  • A separate risk assessment will be required for each outdoor area where it is proposed that ceremonies will be held

What is the cost of a Licence? 

The application fee is £1,800. This is not refundable in the event your application is unsuccessful. If granted, the licence is valid for 3 years. It is not possible to grant a licence for a one-off occasion.

We recommend that new applicants arrange an informal visit from one of our senior Ceremony managers before committing to a formal application. We will be able to make an initial assessment of your venue and provide advice and guidance. We charge £100 for this visit but the charge can be deducted from the full application fee if you decide to apply.

We can offer no guarantees that any application will be successful.

How long does the application process take?

We suggest you allow a minimum of 3 months.

How to Apply

Please email the Licensing Officer Lynn Flack at lynn.flack@suffolk.gov.uk who will send you an application form, our full terms and conditions and answer any questions you may have.

What happens after I have submitted my application?

We will place a formal Public Notice in a local newspaper or on our website and consult with:

  • The local planning authority
  • The county ceremony management team who will arrange for a formal inspection of your venue
  • Suffolk Fire & Rescue Service

Religious buildings

Find out 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 email lynn.flack@suffolk.gov.uk.