Apply for permission to hold civil marriages and civil partnerships at your venue.
You must have a civil marriage or civil partnership venue licence if you want to hold:
- civil marriage and / or or civil partnership ceremonies in a non-religious venue; or
- civil partnership ceremonies in a religious venue.
Non-religious and religious venues apply for licences in the same way, although the requirements and conditions are different.
The application must be made by the proprietor or trustee of the venue. If you are applying to hold civil partnership ceremonies in a religious building, we may require the consent of the governing authority.
Along with the completed application form, we will also need a number of documents and the fee. Please carefully read the guidance handbooks below as we may not be able to process your application if documents are missing.
During a ceremony, the following duties should be performed by the 'responsible person' named in the application form for the venue.
One hour before the ceremony
- a notice should be displayed at all entrances to the venue;
- stop serving food and drink in the ceremony area (if applicable);
- there should be a designated parking space for the registrars; and
- ensure that the music is set up and working.
30 minutes before the ceremony
- ensure that there is water, tea and coffee available for the registrars;
- greet the registrars on arrival;
- show the registrars to the interview room;
- bring party one to the interview room; and then
- return party one to their guests.
15 minutes before the ceremony
- ask the guests to move to the ceremony area, ensuring they do not take any food or drink with them;
- bring party two to the interview room (approximately ten minutes before the ceremony, or after party one has been interviewed); and
- be available to escort party two to the ceremony room, ready to make their entrance.
At the start of the ceremony
- give a nod or other indication to the registrar when party two is ready to make their entrance.
During the ceremony
- be present and visible to the registrars during the ceremony, in case of any arising issues.
The fees include all costs, including advertising in the local newspaper. The licence lasts for three years. You can see the current fees here.
Buildings that can be licensed
The venue must be in good repair and a permanent structure. This excludes boats that can be moved, gardens or the grounds of a stately home. Temporary buildings or marquees cannot be licensed. Different rules apply for the licensing of buildings for religious weddings. You can find out more in the guidance notes below.
Ceremonies covered by the licence
The licence covers holding a civil marriage and / or the registration of a civil partnership for same sex couples.
For non-religious venues, the licence does not cover holding religious ceremonies on your premises. Your licence could be cancelled if you hold religious ceremonies on a part of the premises approved for civil weddings or civil partnerships.
The public has the right to object to your application. Your application will be publicised in a local newspaper and the public may consult your application form. You also need to display a notice on your premises stating you are applying for a licence. If any objections are made, we will attempt to resolve any issues before we make a decision on the application.