How To Register A Marriage

Registering your marriage is a legal – and therefore essential – part of the process. But it’s not likely to be something you’ve had any experience with until it comes time to ticking it off the to-do list. To better understand how, when, where and what, we asked celebrant Jennifer Patrice to fill us in.
CHELSEA OLD TOWN HALL

First Steps

“To register your legal marriage, you need to make an appointment at your local registry office. During this appointment, you will need to provide paperwork to prove the following:

  • Your name, date of birth, nationality.

  • Your residency – you should have lived at the address for at least seven days. If you and your partner do not live in the same registration districts, then you should give notice at each of your registry offices – the appointment does not need to happen on the same day.

  • That you are legally free to marry if you were previously married or in a civil partnership. 


  • Change of name documents if you’re known by any other name. 


  • A passport-style photograph, if subject to immigration control.

You will also need to give details of where you intend to hold your civil marriage ceremony if it’s not at the registry office. Just bear in mind that if you change the venue, you would need to give notice again, which would incur another fee. For religious ceremonies you will still need to give notice to marry and have banns (an announcement in church of your intention to marry and a chance for anyone to put forward a reason why the marriage may not lawfully take place) read for three months before getting married.”

Orleans House
Hackney Town Hall

The Fees

“Couples in England and Wales can be married in a simple ceremony, with two witnesses, for £127. This includes giving notice (£35 each for UK citizens), the ceremony (£46) and a marriage certificate (£11).”

The Timings

“After the appointment, the registry office publicly posts that you intend to marry in that area. After 28 days, if there are no objections, your authority to marry will be issued, and from that date you have one calendar year to perform your legal marriage, in that area or at the specified venue. You don’t need to get married at the office where the notice was given; it can be at any registry office or approved venue of your choice in England and Wales, without the need to prove residency in that district.”

Woolwich Town Hall

The Ceremony

“At a two-plus-two ceremony a couple only need to say the legally binding words declaring them married, exchange contractual vows and sign the marriage register – all in the presence of two witnesses. It’s important to note that you do not need to exchange rings or say personal vows – it’s entirely up to you. If you wanted to have more guests than just the two witnesses at the legal marriage this is also perfectly okay, but register office fees for larger numbers differ from district to district. Do note that at the registry office, the formalities do not give couples the freedom to be creative with what they say – there are three scripts to choose from for your ceremony.”

A Final Word On Destination Weddings…

“If you’re planning on having a destination wedding, it’s always easier to carry out the legal bit at home first. There are many packages that include the legal element, but depending on the country, there will also be other formalities to adhere to, so it’s best to get it out the way.”

Visit JenniferPatrice.com

Chelsea Old Town Hall
Lambeth Town Hall

Need to register your marriage in London? Here’s where to do it…

Chelsea Old Town Hall

This beautiful Grade II-listed Victorian building on the King’s Road in Chelsea has been meticulously restored, and now offers three stylish rooms in which to say your vows. The Main Hall has vaulted ceilings and wooden panelling; the bright and airy Small Hall has a stunning ornate fireplace; and The Ante Room is ideal for intimate weddings. For a classic London location and a range of spaces, it’s a great option. 

Visit RBCK.gov.uk

Hackney Town Hall

The impressive Art Deco entrance to Hackney Town Hall is reason enough to get married here – two dramatic sweeping staircases lead to the beautiful Assembly Hall, which is just one of five recently refurbished spaces where couples can get married. You can also choose to have your reception at Hackney Town Hall, too – making for a hassle-free wedding day start to finish. 

Visit HackneyVenues.com

Woolwich Town Hall

There are three spaces couples can choose from at Greenwich Registry office (which is part of Woolwich Town Hall), ranging from a two-plus-two ceremony to 130 guests in normal (non-Covid) circumstances. Soaring ceilings and period features are just some of the reasons to get married in this magnificent and historic listed building, and specifically the luxurious Victoria Hall. 

Visit RoyalGreenwich.gov.uk

Orleans House

The Octagon Room at Orleans House in Richmond is a charming space. Grade I-listed and recently refurbished, it’s set in woodlands and overlooks the Thames – making for a rural setting but still in close proximity to the city. The ornate ceiling and large windows make for a very special space. 

Visit OrleansHouseGallery.co.uk

Islington Town Hall

Even the exterior of Islington Town Hall is impressive thank to its grand entrance and imposing architecture. Inside you’ll find sweeping staircases, wood panelling and beautiful period features. There are four rooms from which to choose to hold your ceremony – from the historic Council Chamber to the large Assembly Hall. 

Visit SayIDoIslington.com

Old Marylebone Town Hall 

There’s a choice of seven rooms at Marylebone Town Hall – from the muted grey panelling and feature fireplace of The Knightsbridge Room to the dark and sumptuous wood-panelled Westminster Room. A major refurbishment of the town hall was undertaken between 2014 and 2018, restoring the venue back to its former glory. It’s also dog friendly, in case you want to include your pets on the big day.

Visit ADayToRemember.London

Mayfair Library 

This quiet registry office, ideal for an intimate wedding, has two ceremony rooms – the Marylebone room or the Mayfair room. Think antique books, original fireplaces and stained glass windows. Just be aware the library is only taking bookings for ceremonies here until August 2022, so get in now if you think this is the one for you. 

Visit ADayToRemember.London

Lambeth Town Hall

This beautiful Edwardian town hall in the centre of Brixton offers seven different spaces in which to get married, from modern rooms to more historic spaces. The Circular Hall is one of the stand-outs, though, with its stained glass windows and period features set under a clock tower.

Visit Lambeth.gov.uk

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