How to arrange a ceremony

List of venues for civil ceremonies in Suffolk and fees and how to book a registrar and photos of Suffolk County Council ceremony rooms.

The Government has announced that marriages can resume from Saturday 4 July 2020.

Our Registrars are looking forward to solemnising marriage and civil partnerships again after a 3 month break. We have been busy preparing our offices and ceremony rooms to ensure they are safe environments for you and your guests and our registrars. We know it is has been a very difficult and uncertain time for couples and everyone that has been impacted across the ceremony industry.

Ceremonies: July to September 2020

The guidance that we have received from the government sets out a number of conditions and restrictions which will apply to ceremonies in the initial post-lockdown period.

By requesting a ceremony booking with us during this period you're agreeing to the following arrangements:

  • the maximum number of people permitted to be in attendance will be determined by the COVID secure risk assessment for the room in which the ceremony is to be held. The maximum number at any ceremony is 30 - this includes the registrars, the couple, photographer and any other attendants.

    Note: For most locations the actual number permitted will be considerably lower than 30.
    Check how many people can attend our own ceremony rooms.
  • some smaller ceremony rooms may not be available owing to distancing requirements. It is also possible that some chairs may not in use and ceremony parties will be required to stand.
  • toilet and changing facilities will not be available.
  • pushchairs and prams cannot be accommodated, babies and toddlers must be held throughout.
  • the government expectation is that the content of the ceremony will be limited to the minimum legal wording so music and readings will not be permitted.
  • rings can be exchanged but cannot be presented by a best man or ring bearer.
  • photography options are likely to be limited, and please note that the photographer counts towards the room occupancy numbers.
  • all guests are expected to comply with distancing requirements, and not attend if they are showing any symptoms. Particular care needs to be shown for guests that are in the categories that the government defines as vulnerable. We will require all people attending to use the hand sanitisers which will be available to use when entering ceremony rooms.
  • some of our registrars may be wearing PPE.
  • in our ceremony rooms chairs will be spaced to enable distancing compliance. They must not be moved to enable household groups to sit closer together.
  • Marriage/Civil partnership certificates will be posted out to you afterwards and not presented at the ceremony.

Arrangements for ceremonies in our own ceremony rooms for July, August and September 2020

We anticipate a high demand for our ceremony services following the lockdown. Please contact us by phone or by email to make arrangements for your ceremony.

Our offices remain closed for counter enquiries.

We're prioritising:

  • existing bookings
  • rescheduling bookings that were cancelled during the lockdown
  • ceremonies where one of the couple or a close relative is seriously ill (medical evidence will be needed to support these cases)

New enquiries for ceremonies to be held in July, August and September 2020 will not be taken until 13 July 2020. This is to allow couples in the categories specified above to make their arrangements with us.

Check how many people can attend our own ceremony rooms.


Arrangements for ceremonies in approved venues for July, August and September 2020

Please check with your venue that they are open for business and have completed a COVID secure risk assessment. Some venues may not be operational immediately.

The risk assessment will show how many people may be in attendance for your ceremony up to a maximum of 30 people.

We're prioritising:

  • existing bookings
  • rescheduling bookings that were cancelled during the lockdown
  • ceremonies where one of the couple or a close relative is seriously ill (medical evidence will be needed to support these cases)

New enquiries for ceremonies to be held during July, August and September 2020 will not be taken until 13 July to allow couples in the categories specified above to make their arrangements with us.

Re-scheduling ceremonies

Ceremony dates up to 31 August 2020

Contact us to discuss alternative dates or to arrange a refund. Our usual admin fee for making changes to your ceremony will not be charged, but any applicable ceremony price increase will be charged.

Ceremony dates from 1 September 2020

If your chosen venue has not reopened for business please contact us to discuss alternative options or to arrange a refund. Our usual admin fee for making changes to bookings in these circumstances will not apply, but any applicable ceremony price increase will be charged.

Any changes to ceremonies where the venue is open for business will be subject to our terms and conditions (PDF, 92KB).

Fees and terms and conditions

Suffolk County Council ceremony venues

Bury St Edmunds

The Old Billiards Room

COVID secure for 10 people:

  • the couple and 2 registrars
  • 2 witnesses and 4 other people*

Available:

  • Monday to Friday
  • Saturday morning

Telephone: 0345 607 2060 or email: bury.registrars@suffolk.gov.uk

The Old Billiards Room

Ipswich

The Neptune Suite

COVID secure for 18 people:

  • the couple and 2 registrars
  • 2 witnesses and 12 other people*

Available:

  • Monday to Friday
  • Saturday morning

Telephone: 0345 607 2050 or email: ipswich.registrars@suffolk.gov.uk

 The Neptune Suite

Lowestoft

The Conference Room

COVID secure for 10 people:

  • the couple and 2 registrars
  • 2 witnesses and 4 other people*

Available:

  • Monday to Friday
  • Saturday morning

Telephone: 0345 607 2070 or email: lowestoft.registrars@suffolk.gov.uk

 The Conference Room

Sudbury

The Mayors Parlour (no picture available)

COVID secure for 8 people:

  • the couple and 2 registrars
  • 2 witnesses and 2 other people*

Available:

  • Monday to Friday
  • Saturday morning

Telephone: 0345 607 2080 or email: sudbury.registrars@suffolk.gov.uk 

Stowmarket

The John Milton Room

COVID secure for 8 people:

  • the couple and 2 registrars
  • 2 witnesses and 2 other people*

Available:

  • Monday to Friday
  • Saturday morning

Telephone: 0345 607 2050 or email: stowmarket.registrars@suffolk.gov.uk

 The John Milton Room

Woodbridge

Office room (no picture available)

COVID secure for 6 people:

  • the couple and 2 registrars
  • 2 witnesses

Available:

  • Tuesday to Friday
  • Saturday morning

Telephone: 0345 607 2090 or email: woodbridge.registrars@suffolk.gov.uk 

* Other people who can attend include babies, children and a photographer if you're having one.
Other guests cannot wait in our reception or similar areas.

Approved venues

Civil ceremonies can be held at any of our registration offices or approved venues. Approved venues are private buildings that we have licensed to hold ceremonies conducted by our registrars.

If you have booked one of our ceremony rooms we will organise a registrar for you.

You need to book a Suffolk County Council registrar to perform a ceremony at any of our approved venues.You can book your ceremony as far in advance as you wish.

It's your responsibility to ensure you have booked your venue for the same time and date that you have booked the registrar.

You can book a registrar by contacting the register office that serves your chosen venue.

Each approved venue is covered by a specific register office. Pick a register office to find out which approved venues it covers:

Go to fees payable to the Suffolk Registration Service to find out about the cost of booking registrars for approved venues.