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Births, deaths and ceremonies

Last Updated 4:43pm, 4 May 2021


Introduction

Information about coronavirus is available in different formats and languages, including easy read, BSL and for people who are not online.

Ceremonies

Changes to ceremonies following the government’s roadmap announcement

The restrictions listed apply to all areas of England from the dates specified but are subject to the four tests outlined in the roadmap being met at each step.

The changes planned from 29 March are:

  • Step 1 (2nd stage): From 29 March – Legal limit of 6 attendees but no longer limited to ‘exceptional circumstances’.
  • Step 2: No earlier than 12 April – Legal limit of 15 attendees.
  • Step 3: No earlier than 17 May – Legal limit of 30 attendees.
  • Step 4: No earlier than 21 June – No legal limit on attendees (subject to the outcome of the scientific Events Research Programme).

As is currently the case, the number allowed to attend includes the couple, witnesses and guests, but those working, such as registration officials and venue managers are not included.

Please be aware that until 21 June at the earliest, masks and social distancing will still apply and restrictions will still be in place in registration office ceremony rooms with capacity dependent on the size of the room.

The numbers below include the couple, guests, and photographers but not the registration staff.

Venue Capacity from 29 March 2021 Capacity from 12 April 2021
Okehampton Town Hall 6 8
Larkbeare (A la ronde) now Knightshayes 6 7
Larkbeare Killerton and Boatshed 6 14
Clinton Room (County Hall) 6 8
Devon Register Office (Newton Abbot) 4 4
Follaton House (Repton room) 6 10
Follaton House (Nash room) 5 5
Taw View 6 6
Caddsdown (with guests) 6 11
Quay House 6 10
Mid Devon Registration Office 6 8
Exmouth Town Hall 6 6

Please note that if you have booked the Boatshed these numbers still apply as if the weather is inclement you will be required to use the Killerton room – risk assessments do not allow for the Boatshed to be used in wet conditions, please ensure that guests bring a face covering in case the ceremony is moved inside.

Please ensure that you do not bring any additional guests to the ceremony as this puts our team in a difficult position and puts everyone at unnecessary risk.

If you wish to move your ceremony date please contact the ceremonies team at ceremonies-mailbox@devon.gov.uk – please ensure that you have checked availability for your new date with your venue first. In some cases, the venues are contacting us on your behalf.

Please remember that you must give your notice of marriage/civil partnership at least 28 days before the date of your ceremony in your local registration district. If you gave notice more than 12 months before the date of your ceremony date then a fresh notice must be given in your local registration district.

For new ceremony booking enquiries please follow the link on our website.


All ceremonies that take place will be subject to the following restrictions:

  • On arrival at a registration office, everyone must wait outside until invited in by a member of staff. Social distancing should be adhered to.
  • All attendees must sanitise their hands on entering the building and follow the instructions of the registrar.
  • All guests and the photographer must wear face coverings.
  • Anyone showing signs of COVID-19 symptoms should not attend and will not be allowed into the building – if this is one of the couple the ceremony should be rescheduled.
  • A pen should be supplied by the couple to sign the register (black gel or biro) to reduce potential cross-contamination.
  • Rings should be held by the couple (rather than a third party, for example, the best man or registrar) and these can be exchanged as normal.
  • No readings will be permitted during the ceremony. No live music.
  • Guests and the couple must leave the building immediately after the ceremony.

Your notice of marriage/civil partnership

Appointments to give notice for future marriages and civil partnerships can continue to be made and you should do so by phoning 0345 155 1002.

Please do not attend an appointment if you are showing any symptoms of coronavirus. Instead, call 0345 155 1002 to rebook your appointment.

If you choose to book an appointment please consider the fact that if the venue stated in the notice does not reopen in the future and your marriage or civil partnership cannot take place at that venue, new notices would be required.

Remember, your notice of marriage/civil partnership must be given at least 28 days prior to the ceremony date (70 days for non European Economic Area (EEA) nationals) and is valid for 12 months.

The following criteria will apply at the appointment:

  • You should arrive at the office at the time of the appointment and wait outside – the registrar will let you into the office at your allotted time.
  • You should bring all paperwork with you, along with a black ballpoint pen.
  • Face coverings must be worn.
  • Hand sanitising will be required once entering the building.
  • If you are late you may be turned away and asked to book another appointment.
  • All social distancing guidance must be followed.

If possible, please do not bring children to the appointment.

Religious ceremonies

Read the latest guidance for churches on the Church of England website.

Citizenship ceremonies

From 5 January 2021, British citizenship ceremonies will take place virtually – you will be contacted once we have received your naturalisation certificate from the Home Office.

If you previously had a face-to-face ceremony booked, the Registration Service will contact you to arrange a virtual one.

Some applicants may have received a letter from UKVI to say their application has been successful but those certificates have not yet been received. The service will be in touch as soon as they do receive these.

Trading Standards advice on wedding cancellation

Devon Somerset and Torbay Trading Standards have written advice for people whose weddings have been cancelled due to coronavirus.

Birth registrations

Birth registration appointments can be booked online, or by calling 0345 155 1002.

The following criteria will apply at the appointment:

  • Face coverings must be worn in registration offices.
  • If you are married, only one of you needs to attend the appointment.

How to claim Child Benefit

Due to these exceptional circumstances, you will now be able to make a claim for Child Benefit or Universal Credit prior to a birth being registered.

First time parents should complete the Child Benefit Claim form CH2 and send it to the Child Benefit Office – add a note to your claim to explain that you have not been able to register the birth due to COVID-19.

If you already claim Child Benefit, they can complete the form or add your newborn’s details over the phone on 0300 200 3100. You will need your National Insurance number or Child Benefit number.

Child Benefit claims can be backdated by up to 3 months.

European settlement scheme

A face-to-face appointment is required therefore these appointments cannot take place at the present time.

Please consult the government website which guides you through downloading an app on to your smartphone to enable you to process the application at home.

Death registrations

Death registrations will continue to be conducted by telephone. Please do not call to book an appointment.

The Registration Service will be provided with next of kin details as well as the medical certificate of cause of death by the doctor/hospital involved and will then contact the person registering the death.

The Certificate for Burial or Cremation (the ‘green form’) which gives permission for burial or an application for cremation will be forwarded directly to the relevant place.

You will also be able to order and pay for death certificates over the phone.

For more information, view the latest government guidance on what to do if someone dies during the COVID-19 pandemic.


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