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Civil weddings

1. Civil weddings

We are delighted to help you organise your wedding day and want to ensure that your day is special. 

You can get married in our ceremony rooms in Aylesbury, Beaconsfield and High Wycombe or in one of the licensed venues of your choice. In Buckinghamshire, we have around 80 wedding venues to choose from, providing beautiful and stunning settings for your civil wedding. Many licensed venues will also, if you wish, arrange your reception for you. In Buckinghamshire we offer wedding ceremonies from 10am. Our Registrars will attend on any day of the week but we do have restrictions for some Bank Holidays. Full details of the times available in our Registration Office ceremony rooms are here. For ceremonies held at a licensed venue between 5.30pm and 7pm on Fridays and Saturdays there is an additional fee. Please see our Fees page for full details.

Once you have chosen your venue and made a provisional booking, you need to contact us to check that Registrars are available on the day and time you want. It is essential you do this before making any other arrangements. Bookings can be taken up to 2 years ahead of time.

To contact us please email ceremonies@buckscc.gov.uk with a brief description of your enquiry or request with your telephone contact details, specifying if you wish to book a ceremony in either the Beaconsfield or Aylesbury area. Alternatively, call Aylesbury 01296 382481 or Beaconsfield 01494 475092, please be aware our phone lines can be very busy.

If you need to arrange an urgent wedding or civil partnership for a life limiting medical reason and our offices are closed, please call 07708 566 939 and if necessary leave a message.  Please note this number is only available Saturday, Sunday & Bank Holidays between 9am and 5pm.  All other bookings or enquiries should be made on Monday - Friday between 9am - 4:30pm to the office nearest your wedding venue, either Aylesbury  01296 382481 or Beaconsfield 01494 475092.  If you leave a message about a booking which is not related to the above reason, we will contact you on the next normal working day.

Outside Weddings

Some venues offer outside weddings in garden structures. These ceremonies can be held between 1st March and 31st October. However, if you plan an outside wedding, and there is bad weather, the ceremony will need to be held indoors. Find out more about outside weddings.

Combined Ceremonies

If you wish, you can combine your legal marriage vows with a celebratory ceremony at a venue of your choice, a private residence or an outdoor location. Please note that terms and conditions apply.  Charges can be found on our Fees page. Please contact us to discuss your requirements.

 

Giving notice of marriage

Before you can marry there are certain formalities which are required by law. You must both attend the register office in the district in which you live to inform the Registrar of your intention to marry. This is called 'Giving Notice'. This means declaring you are both free to marry each other; you will be required to provide certain documents. A notice of marriage may be given up to a year in advance of the wedding day. The Giving Notice of Marriage page gives you all the information you need.

Fees

Fees for wedding ceremonies are payable 4 months before the date of your ceremony or immediately if booked within 4 months of ceremony date.

Information on costs and fees

2. Ceremony brochure

Our brochure will help guide you through the legal formalities and plan your special day. You can view it online by simply clicking the Celebrate in Buckinghamshire photograph on this page or we can send you a copy by post.

Celebrate in Buckinghamshire

 

Email: ceremonies@buckscc.gov.uk

Telephone:

Our brochure is produced annually. The next issue will be available in October. We want this to be as helpful as possible, so if there is something you feel needs to be included in the next edition, or would like to advertise, please contact us.

3. Ceremony payments

Booking

Before paying for your ceremony please make sure you have a confirmed booking with us.

Paying

Select the type of ceremony and where you are having it, and pay online.

Pay online

4. Changes to your passport

There are many things to organise when you are getting married, but don't forget to notify the passport authorities if you are changing your name. Due to the recent increases in security measures, you may no longer travel in your maiden name and have your passport in your married name, or travel in your married name and have your passport in your maiden name.

It is not sufficient to take your marriage certificate as a form of identification when you check-in.  So if you have recently married, but have not yet changed your name in your passport, please ensure that any flight booking is also made in your maiden name.

You can change your passport details at any time up to three months before the ceremony, although you will not be able to use your passport until the actual day of your wedding. To do this you will need to apply to the Passport Office for a new standard UK passport. Alternatively, the Passport Office will amend your existing passport to show your future married name.

The form PD2 'Passports for Newly Weds and Civil Partners' is available from Post Offices or can be downloaded from The Passport Office. Once you have given your notice of marriage or civil partnership, you can complete the form and bring it to the registration office which is conducting your ceremony.  The PD2 form has to be completed by the Superintendent Registrar. Our staff will inform you when to return and collect it or we can post it to you if you provide a stamped, addressed envelope.  The completed form should then be sent to the Passport Office, together with the application for a passport or amendment to your passport.

There is a charge for this service - please visit our fees page for details.

Remember, if you are going abroad on honeymoon, book any travel tickets in the name you will have in your passport at the time of travelling.

5. Foreign nationals

This information is for people who are subject to immigration control and would like to marry or have a civil partnership in the UK.

You need to:

  • hold entry clearance as a fiancé/e, partner or marriage visitor, or
  • be a person with settled status in the UK (e.g. indefinite leave to remain), or
  • hold a Home Office certificate of approval

If you are subject to immigration control, you need to give notice to marry or have a civil partnership in a designated register office. You must attend the register office together.

For detailed information about this, visit the Home Office's Immigration and Nationality website, or contact your local register office who will advise you of the location of designated register offices.

6. Giving notice of marriage

To give notice of marriage, you need to make an appointment at the register office in the district in which you live.

If you live in Buckinghamshire, please book your appointment.

Book your appointment

If you live outside Buckinghamshire and would like details of your local office, you should be able to find it online or via your local Council.

Fees

You will each pay a non-refundable booking fee when reserving the date and time of your appointment. Once you attend, the booking fee will be transferred across to pay for your 'Notice' in full. You can change the date or time of your appointment up until 1 week beforehand.

Any changes within one week of your appointment are subject to an amendment fee. If you cancel your appointment at any time or do not attend your appointment, you will lose your booking fee and will have to pay again. Please see our Fees page for information on all costs.

What we need to know

When you give notice, the Registrar will ask questions about you and your partner. You and your partner will be asked for information including your full names and addresses, date of birth, occupation and nationality.

We will ask you about your previous marital status. We will also need to know the name of the venue for your forthcoming wedding. Please bring your booking confirmation letter with you.

Documents you need to provide

You will need to provide the following documents when giving Notice, please see the prescribed list below.

For each partner you will need to bring original documents, photocopies will not be accepted under any circumstances.

A valid UK Passport. If you do not have a valid UK passport and you are a British Citizen born BEFORE 1st January 1983, you will need to bring your birth certificate showing your parents’ names plus one other form of identification such as a photo driving licence showing your current name.

If you do not have a valid UK passport and you are a British Citizen born on or AFTER 1st January 1983, you still need to bring your birth certificate, showing your parents’ names as above plus evidence that your parents are British.

If you are an EEA citizen or a Swiss national, please bring a valid passport or a valid National ID card.

 

The following is applicable to all parties

Please note that it is a legal requirement for you to bring the following documents.

Proof of address for each party to be one of the following:

  • Utility bill that is not older than three months
  • Bank/Building Society statement not older than one month (online statements showing address are acceptable but must be printed)
  • Most recent Council Tax Bill
  • Valid UK driving licence (including provisional) with current address
  • Letter signed by the owner or proprietor who is able to confirm the address and period of residence of the relevant party and proof that the owner and proprietor lives there, for example a utility bill. This should be dated within one month of the notice
  • Current mortgage statement dated within one year or current tenancy agreement, signed and dated.

If you have been in a marriage or civil partnership previously, you will need to prove that you are free to marry. To do this you will need to bring your original decree absolute or civil partnership dissolution with the court stamp and an English translation if applicable. If the names you are using are different from the names on your documents you must provide evidence to link the names, e.g. a marriage/civil partnership certificate, change of name deed showing the names that link to the marriage.

If applicable, a death certificate with a marriage certificate in order that we can link your names.

Also, if you have used any other names you will need to show us your Deed Poll or Change of Name Deed.

Failure to provide this ID may result in your notice not being able to be taken and the loss of your fee.

Consent Form

If you are under the age of 18, please ring us for advice.

Timings

You and your partner must have lived in England or Wales for nine days - one day travelling, seven clear days residency, we can then take notice on the ninth day. It does not matter if either of you then moves to a different address after you have given notice.

The Registrar will tell you when your Certificate for Marriage will be issued.

Once you have given notice the soonest you can marry is after 28 days and the notice is valid for 1 year from the date that you give notice.

Foreign nationals

If you are not a British or EEA citizen, please get in contact with us.

Certificate of No Impediment

If you are getting married abroad and need a Certificate of No Impediment this page gives further details.

7. Suggested order of ceremony

Some couples like to produce a printed Order of ceremony for their special day.

A civil ceremony generally lasts round 30 minutes, depending on the music and readings you include. You may have up to 2 readings, our example shows where these may be included.

Suggested order of ceremony

  • Pre-arrival music (approximately 15 minutes)
  • Entrance music (approximately 2 minutes)
  • Arrival of the wedding party
  • Welcome and introduction
  • Legal statements
  • Declaratory words
    (You could have a reading here)
  • Contracting vows
  • Additional vows
  • Exchanging of rings
    (You could have a reading here)
  • Signing of the Register to music (approximately 5 minutes)
  • Photographs
  • Presentation of the certificate
  • Married couple lead out to music (approximately 5 minutes)

8. Your wedding ceremony

We are delighted to be a part of your special day and want to make your ceremony personal to you both.

Please complete one of our online Your Marriage Ceremony options forms at least 2 months before your ceremony. This helps us plan and deliver your individual ceremony and allows you to make choices.

Your Marriage Ceremony options form

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

The registrars will guide you through your ceremony, which will last about half an hour. Please make sure 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 marriage.

Suggested order of ceremony

We have produced a suggested order of ceremony. This shows you how your ceremony will progress and how long any pieces of music you choose should be.

Witnesses

You need 2 witnesses, they can be friends or relatives. They need to be old enough to understand the ceremony and their role. They attend and understand the ceremony and sign the register.

Words

There are words you must say which are prescribed by law. They declare you are free to marry and contract your marriage vows. If you would like to make extra vows to each other, we can give you some examples or you can write your own. Extra vows must not be religious or have any connection with a religious marriage ceremony. The registrar needs to see them at least 7 days before the ceremony.

Music

Each register office can provide traditional wedding 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 marriage room
  • when you are signing the register
  • as you lead your guests from the marriage room

Poetry and readings

If you wish, you or one of your guests could give a reading. You can select a poem or other reading or you could write your own. There is a huge selection of poetry and 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 we need to check any readings before your ceremony. There is room on the Marriage Ceremony 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 register

During the ceremony, the registrar will record the marriage in the register, which you and your witnesses sign. You will then be presented with your marriage certificate. You can request extra copies either on the day or at a later date.

Photos and videos

It is your choice when photographs can be taken. Normally only an official or designated photographer takes photographs during the ceremony. However there is an opportunity for guests to take pictures of the mock signing of the register at the end of the ceremony. If you would like guests to do this please tell the Registrar. If you would like someone to video your ceremony, the Registrar will let them know the best place to stand.

Confetti

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. Please also note that food and drink is not allowed in any of the ceremony rooms.

9. Corrections to Marriage Registrations

If you need to make a correction to a marriage registration, please contact us for advice on what to do next.  We will let you know whether you need to use the link below and complete a correction application form, which should be then sent or dropped in to us with supporting documentation.

 

Correct a Marriage registration