Guide to planning your marriage or civil partnership ceremony

Guide to planning your marriage or civil partnership ceremony

1. Where you can get married

 

Religious ceremony

You can have a religious marriage ceremony in a place of worship, such as a church, temple or mosque, which holds a licence for marriage.

Civil ceremony

You can have a civil marriage or partnership ceremony in any approved venue, including the Bristol Register Office at the Old Council House.

 

You don't have to live in Bristol to have your ceremony here.

You need to contact your chosen venue directly to book your ceremony.

2. Book registrars

A civil marriage or partnership ceremony is performed by two registrars.

Once you’ve provisionally booked your venue, call us on 0117 922 2800 to book the registrars for your chosen day and time.

You should book the registrars as early as possible. You can do this up to two years in advance. You’ll have to pay registrar fees, including a booking fee if you book before you give notice.

If your ceremony is at the Bristol Register Office, you don’t need to book registrars separately. We’ll book the registrars when you book the ceremony.

3. Give notice

You must to sign a legal statement to say you intend to get married or form a civil partnership. This is known as ‘giving notice’.

If you’re having a ceremony in a Church of England church, contact them to see if you need to give notice.

When to give notice

You must give notice at least 29 days before your ceremony and you must hold your ceremony within 12 months of giving notice.

If you or your partner are a foreign national
You should give notice at least 71 days before your ceremony if you or your partner are a foreign national from outside the European Union (EU), European Economic Area (EEA) or from Switzerland and you don’t have:

  • evidence of settled or permanent resident status, such as a biometric residence card
  • a marriage visa
  • exemption from immigration control

This is because we’ll need to check your immigration status.

Where to give notice

You and your partner must give notice in person at your local register office. You can find your local register office on GOV.UK.

You must have lived in the area where you give notice for at least eight days. This might be in a different area to where your ceremony is taking place.

You might have to give notice at different register offices if one of you lives in a different area. You don’t have to give notice on the same day.

If you or your partner are a foreign national
If you or your partner are from outside the EU, EEA or from Switzerland, you must give notice together at a designated register office, even if you live in different areas. You can find a list of designated register offices on GOV.UK. You can give notice at any designated register office, for example Bristol Register Office.

Bristol Register Office

Call 0117 922 2800 to book an appointment to give notice.

The Old Council House, Corn Street, Bristol, BS1 1JG.
The entrance is on Broad Street.
Access guide on the AccessAble website.

What it will cost

You need to pay a fee to give notice, usually £35 per person.

The fee is £47 per person if you or your partner is from outside the EU, EEA or Switzerland, and you don’t have:

  • evidence of settled or permanent resident status, such as a biometric residence card
  • a marriage or civil partnership visa
  • exemption from immigration control

What to bring to your appointment

You must bring:

  • details of where the ceremony will take place
  • proof of your nationality, this can be your passport, travel document, European ID card or naturalisation certificate
    If you were born in the UK

    If you were born in the UK before 1 January 1983, you can prove your nationality with your full UK birth certificate.

    If you were born in the UK on or after 1 January 1983, you can prove your nationality with your full UK birth certificate and either:

    • proof of your mother’s UK citizenship, such as a passport or full birth certificate
    • proof of your father’s UK citizenship, such as a passport or full birth certificate and your parent’s marriage certificate
  • proof of address, for example a:
    • bank statement from the last month, this can be a printed copy
    • gas, electric or water bill from the last three months
    • council tax bill from the last 12 months
    • mortgage statement or tenancy agreement from the last 12 months
    • current driving licence
    If you normally live outside the UK

    If you normally live outside the UK, you’ll need to give us details of the address, in England or Wales, where you’ve lived for the last eight days. We’ll also need to see proof of this, such as a letter from:

    • the homeowner or tenant at the property where you’ve been staying
    • from your hotel

If you’ve been married or in a civil partnership before

If you’ve been married or in a civil partnership before, you must bring one of these documents to your appointment:

  • the decree absolute or final order, if you’re divorced, you’ve ended a civil partnership or the marriage has been annulled
  • your former partner’s death certificate, if your partner has died

If the documents aren’t in English, you must bring an English translation done by a third party, which includes the translator’s details and signature. You’ll have to pay a fee of £50 for us to check them. If we need to ask the General Register Office to check them, the fee will be £75.

If you’ve changed your name

If the name on your documents isn’t the same as on your identification, you must also bring evidence of your change of name. For example, a deed poll, statutory declaration of change of name or the marriage or civil partnership certificate.

If you’re under 18

If you’re under 18, you’ll need consent to give notice and get married from each parent named on your birth certificate. They’ll need to fill in a consent form before your appointment. Forms are available from the Bristol Register Office, call 0117 922 2800.

If you or your partner are a foreign national

If either you or your partner is a foreign national from outside the EU, EEA or from Switzerland, you must bring:

  • a passport size photo for each of you, even if only one of you is a foreign national
  • proof of your current immigration status
  • a translation of any documents that aren’t in English

If you or your partner can’t speak English, you must bring an interpreter with you. Partners can’t interpret for each other.

What happens at the appointment

You and your partner will be interviewed separately by one of the registrars. This can take up to 40 minutes. The interviews will take place in a private office. You’ll be asked questions about each other and when the ceremony will take place.

4. Having a ceremony quickly

If either you or your partner is terminally ill and not expected to recover, you might be able to have a marriage or civil partnership ceremony sooner than usual.

For religious ceremonies, contact the place of worship where you’d like the ceremony.

For civil marriages or partnership ceremonies, call us on 0117 922 2800.

5. What your ceremony will cost

Civil ceremony at Bristol Register Office

You’ll have to pay:

  • a ceremony and room fee, see rates for wedding or civil ceremony hire.
  • £11 for each extra marriage or civil partnership certificate, you’ll receive one certificate as part of your ceremony fee

If you book your ceremony with us before you give notice, you’ll also have to pay a £30 non-refundable booking fee.

Civil ceremony elsewhere

You’ll have to pay:

  • for the venue
  • registrar fees:
    • £392 for a ceremony Monday to Saturday
    • £407 for a ceremony on a Sunday
    • £487 for a ceremony on a bank holiday
    • (these fees are set for ceremonies that take place before 31 March 2020)
  • £11 for each extra marriage or civil partnership certificate, you’ll receive one certificate as part of your registrar fee

If you book the registrars before you give notice, you’ll also have to pay a £30 non-refundable booking fee.

Religious ceremony

If you use a religious venue and a registrar has to be there, you’ll have to pay a registrar fee of £97. This fee includes one marriage certificate. Contact your chosen venue to see what other charges there will be.