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You will be sent full details about your civil ceremony once you have both given notice.

Within the information you receive from us, is a form called 'Instructions for your civil ceremony'. You will be required to return this form to us before your ceremony.

Your pre-ceremony interview

The interview is your chance to meet privately with the Registration Officers, and to be reassured about what will happen. You may chose to interview together or separately when you select your ceremony options. You will be asked the same questions you were asked when you gave notice. You should not need to have any documentation with you on the day.

It is a legal requirement that this interview takes place on the day of the ceremony / partnership at the venue where you will be married / forming your civil partnership. This is to ensure that your details are correct, and that you are entering into the marriage / civil partnership freely and willingly.

Changes to your personal information

Your age, occupation and address may have changed since you gave notice. The Registration Officers will ask for your current information, valid on the day of marriage / civil partnership. If different responses are given regarding your name, gender or marital status, documentary evidence will need to be produced before the marriage / civil partnership can proceed.

Recording your parents' details

You will be asked for your parents' full names and occupations. These details will be recorded on the schedule and on your certificates. You can list up to four parents, two birth parents and two step-parents.

Choosing your witnesses

Witnesses can be relatives or friends, but it is not a legal requirement that they are known to you. They are not required to bring identification, and we do not need to know who they are in advance. Your witnesses must be over 18 years of age and able to speak and understand English. If either of you require an interpreter this person must also act as a witness. They must be present for the entire ceremony. Unfortunately, the Registration Officers cannot act as witnesses or provide witnesses for you.

Music and readings

Any music or readings used in a civil ceremony must be free from any religious connotations.

You can select three tracks; one for the entrance, one for the signing of the register / schedule, and one for your exit from the ceremony room.

Music on CDs or iPods can be played at The Loggia Room (York House). Please ensure the tracks are in the appropriate order on your CD or playlist. Please also check that any copied CDs will play on other machines and bring the originals with you as a back-up.

A reading of non-religious poetry or prose may be read by you or a member of your party. This gives a member of your family or a friend the chance to play a part in the ceremony.

You will be asked to detail the music and reading(s) on the 'Instructions for your civil ceremony' form. (This form will be within the information you receive from us once notice is given by both of you). You will also be required to attach copies of the readings to the form.

Photography and video

Your nominated photographer may take photographs discretely throughout the ceremony. We usually ask that other guests wait until the end of the ceremony, so as not to cause a distraction. We do not allow photographs to be taken of the register when signing, as other people’s personal information may be visible. You can be staged for a photograph with a blank page at the end of the ceremony.

What happens if we notice a mistake in the register/on the Schedule?

If you notice an error before you have signed, alert the Registrar and they will amend the entry/schedule. If you notice an error after all the parties have signed, you will need to apply to the Registrar General for a formal correction, which if granted, will be in the form of a marginal note. This can take several weeks and you will both be required to attend the office to witness the correction, during working hours.

How should we sign the register/Schedule?

You must sign the register/schedule in registration ink in your usual signature, in the name you are using on the day. You may change your name after marriage/civil partnership if you wish, and should present your marriage/civil partnership certificate as evidence of this. Changing your name is not obligatory.

Updated: 12 December 2023

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