Marriage and Civil Partnership ceremonies

COVID-19 update to marriage and civil partnership ceremonies

Following the Government announcement on Monday 22 February 2021, we have updated our road map on the easing of restrictions.

Current national restrictions remain in place and there are no changes for marriages and civil partnerships in England prior to 29 March. The changes planned are:

  • Step 1 (stage 1) 8 March to 28 March

    Legal limit of 6 attendees with exceptional circumstances only.

    Marriage and Civil Partnership ceremonies can only proceed in exceptional circumstances, for example if one of the people wishing to marry is seriously ill and not expected to recover, they are receiving debilitating treatment or undergoing life changing surgery.

    We are currently in the process of contacting couples who are directly affected.

  • Step 1 (stage 2): From 29 March

    Legal limit of 6 attendees but no longer limited to ‘exceptional circumstances’.

  • Step 2: No earlier than 12 April

    Legal limit of 15 attendees (depending on the capacity of the room).

  • Step 3: No earlier than 17 May

    Legal limit of 30 attendees (depending on the capacity of the room)

  • Step 4: No earlier than 21 June

    No legal limit on attendees.

The number allowed to attend includes the couple, witnesses and guests. However, these steps are being reviewed regularly by the Government and are subject to change. For the up to date information please keep checking the GOV.UK website

If you have any concerns about a forthcoming ceremony booked with ourselves please email We greatly appreciate your patience during this extremely busy time.

If you have a Marriage or Civil Partnership booked before 31st July 2021, and have not been able to give notice, please contact us on 0161 912 3026 to arrange an appointment

Giving notice of Intention to Marry or enter into a Civil Partnership for British or European Union Citizens

Both parties must attend, in person, to give notice of their intention to marry or enter into a civil partnership to the Superintendent Registrar of the Registration District in which they each reside.

For same sex couples who are unsure whether to have a marriage or civil partnership, the UK Government gives details of the comparison of civil partnership and marriage for same sex couples to help you to make an informed choice.

Residential qualification

Each party to the marriage must reside in the relevant registration district for 7 clear days before notice can be given.

Timescale for notices

By law, notice cannot be given more than 12 months in advance of the date of the marriage or civil partnership.

Once notice has been given there is a statutory 28 clear day waiting period before the marriage or civil partnership authority can be issued.

Documents you will need to produce when giving notice

You will be required to provide the following documents:

  • A current valid passport (if you do not have a current passport you must contact the Register Office to establish what alternative documents you are required to to produce), and
  • birth certificate or driving licence (photocard), and
  • proof of address*

Also, where relevant, you will also need to provide:

  • Documentary evidence to show change of name (such as Deed Poll or Statutory Declaration).
  • Evidence of the end of previous marriage or civil partnership in the form of:

    • Divorce - Decree Absolute along with marriage certificate.

      Where the divorce or civil partnership dissolution took place outside the British Isles, please telephone us to establish what documentation is required.

      There is a statutory charge for processing all foreign divorces. For further details and charges please visit our fees page.

    • Death - Death certificate of spouse, along with marriage certificate.

If you do not have any of the required documents please phone the Register office on 0161 912 3026 and we will advise you whether alternative documentation can be accepted.

Only original documents can be accepted.

Proof of address

The proof of address must take the form of one of the following:

  • Utility bill dated no more than 3 months before the date notice is being given
  • Bank/Building society statement dated no more than 1 month before the date notice is being given
  • Council tax bill dated no more than 1 year before the date notice is being given
  • Mortgage statement dated no more than 1 year before the date notice is being given
  • Current residential tenancy agreement
  • Valid UK driving licence (full/provisional) showing current address (UK licence must have been issued in UK, Isle of Man or Channel Islands)

Making an appointment

You will require an appointment to give notice of your intention to marry or enter into a civil partnership.

If you wish to make an appointment to give notice of marriage, contact us on 0161 912 3026 between 9.00am-4.00pm Monday to Friday.

Giving Notice of Intention to Marry or enter into a Civil Partnership for Non European Nationals

Notice is required to be given at a designated Register Office where one or both of the parties to the marriage or civil partnership are not European Nationals.

The nearest designated register office is Manchester, telephone 0161 234 5005.

For further information please visit the Immigration and Nationality Directorate website or telephone 0870 241 0645.

Approved premises

Under the Marriage Act 1994, civil marriages may be solemnised in hotels, stately homes and historic buildings which have been licensed by the local authority.

Getting married in a church or other religious building

If you are planning a Church of England wedding, you should contact the vicar of the church for advice about the necessary legal requirements.

If you are getting married in any other religious building, apart from a church belonging to the Church of England, you must both give notice of marriage at the Register Office for the district where you live.

You may only marry in a church, mosque or temple etc. in a different district from where you both live if it is your usual place of worship or there is no church of your religion in your district. Our staff will be pleased to advise on 0161 912 3026.

A registrar from the district which covers the building must be present at the wedding, or the governing body of the religious building can choose to apply to the Registrar General to appoint an Authorised Person to register marriages there.

Common law marriage

Common law marriage is a myth and does not actually exist.

Many people believe that once you've been living with your partner for two years or more you get the same legal rights as married couples. This isn't true. In fact, you have very few rights.