Licensing a venue for marriage and civil partnerships

Please see our current fees and charges list for the cost of licensing a venue for marriage and civil partnerships for 3 years.

The Registrar General has confirmed that all venues which are currently licensed for marriages and civil partnerships will be deemed to be licensed for same sex marriages and there will be no need to re – apply for approval.

The application must be made by the proprietor or trustee of the premises. When made on behalf of a limited company, there should be a separate statement of the names and addresses of all the directors.

The premises must fulfil the following standards requirements in Schedule 1 of the regulations.

  1. Having regard to the primary use, situation, construction and state of repair, the premises must, in the opinion of the authority, be a seemly and dignified venue for the solemnisation of marriages and civil partnerships.
  2. The premises must be regularly available to the public for use for the solemnisation of marriage and civil partnerships.
  3. The premises must have the benefit of such fire precautions as may be required by the authority, having consulted with the fire authority, and such other reasonable provision for the health and safety of persons employed in or visiting the premises as the authority considers appropriate.
  4. The premises must have no recent or continuing connection with any religious practice or religious persuasion which would be incompatible with the use of the premises for the solemnisation of marriages or civil partnerships, in pursuance of section 26 (1)(bb) of the Act.
  5. The room or rooms in which the ceremonies will be conducted, if approval is granted, must be identifiable by description as a distinct part of the premises.

In addition

  • The premises must have four walls and a roof and be rendered totally immobile. This would preclude open air ceremonies, tents, marquees, boats etc. as well as any temporary structure.
  • The public must have unfettered access to witness a ceremony or make an objection. This would preclude charging a fee for access.
  • Private houses are unlikely to be licensed as they would not be known to the public as a marriage / civil partnership venue or regularly be available for their use.
  • A disused chapel which has stained glass windows depicting a religious image would be deemed as having a continuing religious association as would religious fixtures and fittings.


  • Applications should be made to the Superintendent Register at The Register Office, York House, Richmond Road, Twickenahm, TW1 3AA.
  • A separate room must be available for the private interviewing of the couple prior to the ceremony.
  • 3 copies of a plan of the premises clearly showing the rooms intended for licensing plus the interview room must be submitted.
  • An advertisement must be placed in the local newspaper allowing three weeks for objections, and a copy of the advertisement when published, must be sent to the Superintentendent Registrar at The Register Office, York House, Richmond Road, Twickenham, TW1 3AA.
  • Public liability insurance must be up to date and proved to the authority.
  • Car parking must be made available to the Registrars.
  • A named ‘responsible person’ must be available for one hour before and during any ceremony.
  • A legal public notice must be displayed at every access point to the premises for one hour before and during any ceremony.
  • No food or drink can be consumed in the room for one hour before or during any ceremony.
  • No bookings can be finalised without ensuring that the Registrars are available and booked to attend.

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Updated: 18 May 2017