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Civil partnerships

3. Your civil partnership ceremony

Whilst there is no legal requirement to have a ceremony you may like to consider one.

Please complete the online civil partnership options form three months before the date of your ceremony. This form helps us to plan and deliver your individual ceremony and allows you to make choices.

Civil partnerships options form

If you are hoping to hold your ceremony outdoors you will also need to complete our outside ceremony agreement form.

The registrar will guide you through your ceremony, which will last about 20 minutes.  Please ensure you and your guests arrive at least 30 minutes before your ceremony is due to start.

The registrar will see you and your partner (separately or together) before the ceremony to check your personal details that were given when you gave your notice of civil partnership.


You need two witnesses, they can be friends or relatives. They need to be old enough to understand the ceremony and their role. They attend the ceremony and sign the schedule.


Before you sign the schedule you may chose to recite the words printed in the civil partnership schedule.  If you would like to make extra vows to each other we can give you some examples or you can write your own. Suggestions are included on the options form. Extra vows must not be religious or have any connection with a religious marriage ceremony. The registrar needs to see them at least seven days before the ceremony.


Each register office can provide music, or you can use music that has a special meaning for you and your partner. The music cannot be religious. The music can be live or on CD and can be played:

  • whilst your guests are arriving
  • as you walk into the ceremony room
  • when you are signing the schedule
  • as you lead your guests from the room

Poetry and readings

If you wish, you or one of your guests could give a reading. You can select a poem or section of prose or you could write your own. There is a huge selection of poetry and other readings available for you to choose from and by adding these into your ceremony you can make it more personal and meaningful to you both. Whatever you decide, please remember that we need to check any readings before your ceremony. There is room on the Civil Partnership Options Form for you to tell us which reading you have chosen.

For civil ceremonies, readings are not permitted to have any religious content or association.

Signing the schedule

During the ceremony, you and your partner will be asked to sign the schedule. This will then be signed by your witnesses.  Any certificates you have requested will then be sent to you in the post.

Photos and videos

It is your choice when photographs can be taken. Normally only an official or designated photographer takes photographs during the ceremony. If you would like someone to video your ceremony, the registrar will let them know the best place to stand.


Confetti is allowed outside the ceremony rooms. Some venues have restrictions on throwing confetti, please check with your venue.

Please ask your guests to turn off mobile phones before the ceremony starts.  Food and drink is not allowed in any of the ceremony rooms.

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Last updated: 31 January 2018

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