Marriage and Civil Partnership Ceremonies

How to book a registrar, current pandemic restrictions in place and venue details.

Current restrictions

Please be aware that the dates shown below may be subject to further extensions or changes. For this reason, we're not able to guarantee the numbers that may attend your ceremony, nor the ceremony content allowed, until we receive confirmation at each stage from the Government. (Updated 15 June 2021).


From 21 June to 19 July 2021 (or until further notice)

The number of people that can attend is determined by the COVID secure Risk Assessment for the venue and room in which the ceremony is to be held. This will be less than the Pre-COVID numbers permitted in any location. Please see below for further information about ceremonies taking place during this stage.

Find out how to make an ceremony enquiry online. We recommend you complete our online form rather than phone due to a high demand for our ceremony services.

Outdoor ceremonies from 1 July 2021

The Government has introduced new legislation to enable marriage and civil partnership ceremonies to take place outdoors. This is effective from 1 July 2021 in venues that have been approved under the ‘Marriages and Civil Partnerships (Approved Premises) Regulations 2005’.

Outside areas will not be available at all venues so couples are advised to check with their chosen venue to see what may be possible. More information is available at GOV.UK.


Step 4 from 19 July 2021 (subject to change)

No limit on numbers other than what's specified within a venue's risk assessment.

Number permitted in the room will include everyone in attendance, including registrars, bridesmaids and photographer. We do not know what restrictions or limitations will apply to ceremony content.  When we receive further information about this we will update these pages.

Find out how to make an ceremony enquiry online. We recommend you complete our online form rather than phone due to a high demand for our ceremony services.

Ceremony Information

COVID 19 - The restrictions and guidelines that we have received from the government and are currently in place for ceremony delivery, will vary during the pandemic and will therefore change from time to time and potentially this will be at short notice.  We cannot accept any responsibility for changes to the options available for ceremonies including the numbers of guests which are permitted to attend, or the content of the ceremony that is allowable.

Ceremonies that are taking place between 21 June and 19 July 2021, or the commencement of Step 4, are subject to the following arrangements:

  • The maximum number allowed at any ceremony is subject to the COVID secure risk Assessment for the venue and room in which the ceremony is being held. Anybody working at your ceremony, such as the registrars, photographer etc. is excluded from this number.

In some locations the actual number permitted may be lower than you might expect. You must check with your venue to confirm the number they can allow. 
Check how many people can attend our own ceremony rooms.

  • Some smaller ceremony rooms may not be available to enable us to maintain a COVID secure environment.
  • The chairs in use may be positioned singularly, or in bubbles of 2/3 or 4 Unfortunately, we cannot rearrange chairs in our ceremony rooms to match the needs of each ceremony group. It is also possible that some chairs may be in the room but are not available to use.
  • Toilet and changing facilities will not be available at any of our offices/ceremony rooms.
  • We cannot accommodate pushchairs and prams, meaning babies and toddlers will need to be held throughout. Please be aware that babies, children and toddlers need to be included in the number of attendees allowed.
  • There must be a 2 metre distance between our registrars and the ceremony party.
  • Ceremony content returns to pre-COVID arrangements, although congregational singing is not permitted
  • Most of our ceremony rooms can now incorporate an ‘aisle’ to enable the ceremony party to make an entrance.
  • Brides may be escorted into the room and be accompanied by bridesmaids/page boys, but please be aware that the ceremony party are all included in the numbers allowed.
  • Music will be offered in most of our ceremony rooms.
  • Photography options during the ceremony are likely to be limited and dependant on the space available. We will do our best to accommodate your wishes but photographers must follow the instructions of the Registrar at all times.
  • No guest or couple must attend if they are showing any symptoms or are awaiting test results for COVID-19. 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. All those in attendance must wear a face covering in line with government guidance - except for those who are exempt or children under 11 years of age.
  • The couple being married are exempt from wearing face coverings during the ceremony, but will be required to wear them before the ceremony starts and for the signing of the Marriage Schedule.
  • Particular care must be taken by the couple when signing the Marriage Schedule as this is the legal record of your marriage or civil partnership. The responsibility to ensure the information is correct passes from the Registrar to the couple at the point of signing. Any errors found after the signing are subject to the General Register Office correction process and the applicable fees (£90).
  • Marriage/Civil partnership certificates will be posted out to you afterwards and not presented at the ceremony.
  • For approved venue ceremonies only - we will contact you to arrange a Microsoft Teams or telephone discussion to enable you to meet with the celebrant who will be conducting your ceremony. This is an optional service but is a good opportunity to ask any questions you may have beforehand.

Re-scheduling Ceremonies, Fees and Terms and Conditions

Rescheduling Ceremonies

If your chosen venue has not reopened for business, please contact us to discuss available 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).

All Fees and Terms and Conditions

Notices of Marriage and Civil Partnership (which expired during current Pandemic)

We are only able to do Notices of Marriage for Suffolk residents or for those marrying within Suffolk, but who are subject to immigration control (Designated Notices).

Notices of marriage and civil partnership remain valid for 12 months only.  If you have changed the date of your ceremony during the pandemic, it is possible that your notice will not be valid for the new date.  If you are unsure, please check with your local office.

If you need to prepare a new notice because your original one has expired, you will both be required to attend an appointment to do this.  In light of the current situation, we are only preparing new notices for ceremonies due to take place in the next 8-10 weeks or where there is an urgent need.  You will need to bring up to date documentation with you.  Once you have completed the new notice, it will be valid for a further 12 months, less a 29 day waiting period from the date it is prepared.  If you are subject to immigration control, the waiting period may be extended to 70 days.

A statutory fee of £35 applies for most notice of marriage appointments.  This is increased to £47 if you are subject to immigration control.

In some situations, the fee will not be charged.  These are listed below.

We will not charge you the statutory fee for a notice of marriage or civil partnership if:-

  1. Your ceremony was booked to take place between the following lockdown dates
    23 March 2020 to 4 July 2020
    5 November 2020 to 2 December 2020
    26 December 2020 to 19 February 2021 (or end of current restrictions)

    AND
  2. You have transferred your booking to a new date.  Couples who chose to cancel outright and receive a refund of their deposit and/or fees will not be eligible.

    OR
  3. If your venue did not re-open for business on the date of your ceremony.

You may be asked to provide evidence in some cases, for example, if your ceremony was booked for a venue outside of Suffolk or in a religious building.

 

 

 

 

Marriage legislation

New marriage legislation

Since 4 May 2021 marriages are no longer recorded by hand in a marriage register. Instead a marriage schedule, issued by the Registration Service, or a marriage document issued by the Church of England or Church of Wales will be issued and signed.

  • You are each be allowed to have four people's details recorded for mother/father/parent
  • No handwritten certificates are issued or presented on the wedding day
  • Certificates are now posted after the details have been entered onto the computer system, which will take place within seven days of the schedule being received by the Registration Office
  • If you are having a religious ceremony, you will be advised which Registration Office to collect the schedule from in advance of the ceremony
  • After a religious ceremony, the signed schedule or marriage document must be returned to the Registration office as soon as possible to enable the marriage to be recorded - marriage certificates cannot be issued until this process is complete. It is the responsibility of the authorised person or the minister to arrange for the return of the schedule - they may ask yourselves, or one of your guests to do this on their behalf.