Guide: Plan a marriage

Part 1 Choosing a venue

A civil marriage ceremony may take place in a registration office or other building licensed for civil ceremonies. The ceremony is conducted by a registration officer and is strictly non-religious.

A religious ceremony may take place in a church, chapel or other building of religious worship which has been formally registered for marriage ceremonies. The service is conducted by the minister in accordance with the religious rites and ceremonies of the premises.

Approved Venues

You may marry at any venue approved by the local council in England or Wales.

For registration offices and additional ceremony rooms, please contact us on 0345 155 1002.

For a ceremony at an approved venue, contact your chosen venue direct to make a provisional booking.

It is recommended that you do not pay a deposit to your chosen venue until you have confirmed that the registration officers will be available for the day and time of the proposed ceremony.

Making a provisional booking

Registration officers will be required to conduct and register the marriage so it is important to contact us as early as possible – please call 0345 155 1002. You can only make a provisional booking at this point, which will be confirmed when you have ‘given legal notice’.

We will need to take a £50 non-refundable deposit (full balance for statutory ceremonies) which will secure your booking over the phone. This deposit will be deducted from your final fee. For bookings made within 12 weeks of the proposed date, full payment is required at the time of booking. To find out the cost of your ceremony, please visit our fees page.

You will receive an email with a booking form and a receipt confirming your provisional booking. If you don’t receive the confirmation email you can either contact us on 0345 155 1002 or email with your names, date of ceremony and venue and a member of the ceremonies team will re-send your confirmation.

See our Marriage and Civil Partnership ceremonies frequently asked questions for more information >

Church of England or Church in Wales

Should you wish to be married in an Anglican church you or your partner would generally have to live within the parish of the church, or be a regular worshipper. If the minister is able to marry you, he or she will arrange for the Banns to be called or for a Common Licence to be issued. The marriage will also be registered by the minister, and there is generally no need to involve the local registration office. Fees are payable to the minister.

Other places of religious worship

The church or religious building must normally be located within the registration district where you or your partner live, or, if outside the district, be a place of regular worship for either or both of you. The service will be conducted by the minister of the venue, but occasionally a registrar is required to register the marriage. A fee will be payable to the minister, in addition, if a registrar is required, a statutory fee is payable on the day.

To book a ceremony at any of the above venues, contact the minister of the church or building, and the local registration office, where necessary.

In all cases there is a statutory fee for marriage certificates.

Getting married abroad

Couples who choose to marry abroad may need to obtain a Certificate of No Impediment by giving notice, by appointment, at a registration office. Marriage laws vary in different countries and it would be advisable to contact a registration office as soon as the decision to marry abroad has been made, and before any travel has been booked. Notice periods for Certificates of No Impediment vary depending on whether both parties are British citizens or not.

For advice on marriages or civil partnerships abroad see Foreign Office: Marriage and civil partnerships.