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Wedding and Civil Partnership Ceremony

This section explains the basic rules for having weddings and civil partnership ceremonies. Information covers the wedding vows, signing the register, and the cost of registering a marriage or civil partnership.

Exchanging Vows or Formal Wording

Anyone who gets married in the United Kingdom must exchange some kind of formal wording.

You may need to discuss any other wording that you want to have in the ceremony. If so, you should get more information from the person who conducts it.

There is no legal requirement to exchange vows if you are having a civil partnership. Nevertheless, you can choose to do so if that is your wish.

You can also choose to include readings, songs or music in civil ceremonies. But, it must not include anything considered to be religious (e.g. hymns or readings taken from the Bible).

Note: There must be at minimum of two (2) witnesses present at the ceremony.

Signing the Register

There is a signing process for all weddings and civil partnership ceremonies. Both of the partners, along with the two witnesses, must sign either the marriage register or the civil partnership document.

Cost of Registration

There will be a fee to pay when registering a United Kingdom marriage or civil partnership. But, you may find that different fees apply if you are getting married abroad.

The cost of having a ceremony at a register office is £46. But, the price may be higher at other types of venues. The registrar, or the religious minister, can provide you with further details.

You will also need to pay for the marriage or civil partnership certificate. In most cases, it will cost £4 if you get it on the day of the event, or £10 after the day.

Note: Keep the certificate safe because you might need a copy of it to prove your marital status in the future.

Choosing an Approved Venue

There are many places that you can hold a civil ceremony or a civil partnership, such as:

  • At a register office.
  • At any venue approved by the local council (e.g. a hotel or a stately home).
  • At any religious premises with permission given by the organisation if the premises have approval from the local authority.

The Home Office has a list of premises approved for civil marriages and civil partnerships in England and Wales.

Note: The Ministry of Justice announced the legalisation of outdoor civil wedding and partnership registrations from the 1st of July 2021 in England and Wales. Apart from providing greater flexibility for a couple’s wedding day, the new Statutory Instrument (SI) also aims to support the marriage and civil partnerships sector in the United Kingdom.

Rules for Weddings and Civil Partnership Ceremonies in the United Kingdom