Arranging a marriage or civil partnership in difficult circumstances

If your circumstances are such that your ceremony needs to be held in a venue that is not licensed for civil ceremonies, or you need to have a ceremony very quickly – we may be able to help you.

Please contact us for full information and to discuss your individual circumstances. You and your partner must be free lawfully to marry or enter into a civil partnership in order for us to be able to assist you: we cannot be involved in contacting the county court / High Court to speed up the issue of a decree absolute / dissolution in order to facilitate a ceremony.

If you are ill, and not expected to recover

The doctor in charge of your medical care must be willing to sign a statement to confirm that you are unable to attend a place that is licensed for civil ceremonies, are suffering from a terminal illness and understand the nature of the ceremony. Once the legal preliminaries have been completed, the ceremony can take place at any time of the day or night. The person who is ill must be able to make their own responses.

If you are ill, and have been given a date for an operation within the next 30 days

If you are seriously ill, and have been given a date for an operation to treat your illness that is within the next 30 days, the doctor in charge of your care must be willing to sign a letter detailing the nature of your illness and the effect that the operation may have on your life expectancy. You must still be able to attend a place that is licensed for civil ceremonies, and as well as giving your notices, you would have to apply for a reduction in the statutory waiting period. This will involve an additional fee, as the application papers are sent by the registrar to the General Register Office for approval.

If a close family member is seriously ill, and you need to bring your ceremony date forward

If a close family member is seriously ill or due to have a serious operation, and you are considering moving the date of your ceremony to enable them to attend, then the doctor in charge of their care must be willing to sign a letter confirming the seriousness of their illness. The ceremony would have to take place at a venue that is licensed for civil ceremonies, and unless you have already given your notices you would have to apply for a reduction in the statutory waiting period. This will involve an additional fee, as the application papers are sent by the registrar to the General Register Office for approval.

If you are a member of the Armed Forces, and are being posted to front line duties

You will need to produce confirmation of your posting from your Commanding Officer, and in addition to giving your notices you must apply for a reduction in the statutory waiting period. This will involve an additional fee, as the application papers are sent by the registrar to the General Register Office for approval.

If your priest or minister has forgotten to tell you that you need to give notice

Your priest or minister must be willing to write a letter confirming that you were not informed of the requirement to give notice, and you must be able to produce evidence such as invoices and bookings to show how long you have been planning your ceremony. In addition to giving your notices, you will have to apply for a reduction in the statutory waiting period, which will involve an additional fee as the application papers are sent by the registrar to the General Register Office for approval.

If you are housebound

Your doctor must be willing to sign a statement confirming that you are unable to attend a place that is licensed for civil ceremonies, for at least 3 months. Upon receipt of this document, the registrar will attend your current residence to take your notices of marriage / civil partnership and the ceremony can be conducted at this same address.

If you are detained

The Governor of the institution where you are detained must sign a statement confirming that they are willing for a ceremony to take place on their premises. Upon receipt of this document, the registrar will make arrangements to take the notice from the party who is detained, and the other party should give their notice at their own district Register Office.

Please contact us for full information and to discuss your individual circumstances.

Updated: 21 November 2017