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Ceremony FAQs

We have compiled a list of frequently asked questions about the ceremonies you can enjoy in Gloucestershire.

If your question or enquiry is not listed here please contact Gloucestershire Registration Service who will be able to help you.


General ceremony questions

We have a dedicated team of ceremony coordinators who are based at our office in Cheltenham. Our preferred method of contact is via email: ceremonies@gloucestershire.gov.uk.

You can also contact us by phone on 01452 425060 (option 3). Monday- Friday 8.30-5pm.

You can have your ceremony at any of our registration offices or approved venues within Gloucestershire. Please visit the Venues section on this website.

A list of current fees are displayed on this website – please see our ‘Ceremony fees’ page.

Our fees are subject to review in April of each year.

Payments can be made using credit /debit card. Please telephone the office on 01452 425060 (option 3). Alternatively you can pay in person at our Cheltenham Office. (Gloucestershire Registration Service, St Georges Road, Cheltenham, GL50 3EW).

Please note: payment must be made in full. There is no facility for part-payment to be accepted.


Weddings & civil partnerships

The standard service we offer is called a statutory registration. This is for you and your partner and two witnesses only, in either our Cheltenham or Gloucester office. It is the minimum registration you need to be legally married. Please note there will not be a ring exchange, photos or music.

Alternatively you can choose to have an enhanced ceremony, which will include all the legal formalities to ensure that you are married, but will also be a celebration and an opportunity to involve your family and friends. The ceremony can include personal touches and enhancements, such as music, readings, exchange of rings, as well as the opportunity for photographs.

We work with you to create your own individual ceremony. Our ceremony team are on hand to provide support and help you create the ceremony of your dreams.

Contact your chosen venue directly. When you have booked the venue please then telephone the ceremony team on 01452 425060 (option 3). Registration Officers will be required to attend your ceremony so it is important to contact us as early as possible to ensure they are available on the date you would like.


You must each give formal notice of your intention to marry or form a civil partnership, in person at a registration office in the district where you live. You are required to have lived in the district for at least eight days before giving notice.

When you attend a Registration Office to give notice of marriage or civil partnership, you will need to produce certain original documents to confirm your name, age, marital status and nationality.

  • full birth certificate or
  • evidence of nationality - your valid passport
  • if you were born after 01.01.1983 and you do not hold a passport you will, in addition to your own full birth certificate, need your mother’s birth certificate or passport
  • evidence of address - council tax bill (for the current year), utility bill (dated within the last 3 months), bank statement (dated within 1 month), valid photo driving licence
  • evidence of change of name (deed poll/statutory declaration)
  • fee payable per person

If either of you are not a British Citizen or National of a country within the European Economic Area, you will need to attend together at a designated registration office for which additional information will be required at the notice appointment.

If either of you have been married or entered in to a civil partnership before you will need to bring one of the documents listed below as evidence that the marriage/civil partnership has ended and that you are free to marry:

  • decree absolute following divorce
  • decree of dissolution of civil partnership
  • death certificate if a widow/widower/surviving civil partner
  • decree of annulment

The law changed in 2012 allowing couples to marry at any time. Gloucestershire Registration Service has welcomed the opportunity to offer couples ceremonies at approved venues from 8am to 8pm throughout the year. Our ceremonies team are happy to discuss individual requirements outside of these times.

When you have decided on your venue, please telephone us on 01452 425060 (option 3) to check the Registration Officer's availability on the date you would like. We will make you a provisional booking and then ask you to give notice of your intention to marry at your local registration office in the district where you both live. The ceremonies team who make your booking will explain the procedure to you.

If you are having a civil ceremony at a registration office or at an approved venue, you do not have your banns read as you will both give notice of marriage. It’s mainly Church of England churches where banns are read.

Civil ceremonies in approved premises may be followed by a celebration, commemoration or blessing of the parties’ choice, providing that it is not a religious ceremony and is separate from the civil ceremony. A civil ceremony commences with the registration officer’s questioning of the parties and concludes with the departure of the registration officers. There must, therefore, be a clear break between the civil ceremony and any other proceedings. No such proceedings should take place before the civil marriage ceremony.

You will need to obtain parental permission to marry. When making your booking, please inform the ceremonies team who will forward you the relevant parental permission forms to be signed.

By law, you need two witnesses. Gloucestershire Registration Service policy states that witnesses should be 18 years or over and capable of understanding the events that have taken place. Please note members of the registration service cannot act as witnesses. Please phone or email us if you require further clarification on this.

By law, you need to choose declaratory and contractual words of marriage from the options listed within the ceremony brochure. But you can replace the promises with your own words. We will need to know the words you will be saying to each other, and you will either need to learn them or have them written on paper for the day. 

Yes you can. The legal words of marriage must be said within a licensed structure. A number of venues in Gloucestershire offer this option.

No. The law states that civil marriage ceremonies must not be religious in nature and any inclusion (reading, music etc) must be essentially non-religious in context. No civil marriage ceremony should include extracts from an authorised religious marriage service or readings from sacred religious texts, hymns or other religious chants, involve any religious rituals or any form of worship.

Currently you are unable to marry in your own garden. However there are options for marrying at venues which have an outside structure licensed.  Please contact our ceremonies team on ceremonies@gloucestershire.gov.uk or telephone 01452 425060 (option 3), to talk through the options.

A list of current fees are displayed on this website – please see our ‘Ceremony fees’ page.

Our fees are subject to review in April of each year and couples are reminded that it is their responsibility to ensure they pay the correct fee at least 2 months before their ceremony.

Choices should be submitted at least 2 months prior to the ceremony to enable your personalised script to be produced. The ceremony fee must be paid at least 2 calendar months before the date of your ceremony.  In the case of bookings made within 2 months of the proposed date full payment is required at the time of booking.

When we have received everything we need, we will send you a courtesy email to inform you that we have everything and that we will meet you both on the day.

You will meet the Registration Officers on the day, before the ceremony is due to start. This is when you can tell us of any changes of witnesses, photographers etc.

Yes, you can change your readings and music but we will need to approve any changes. Please email the changes to ceremonies@gloucestershire.gov.uk, unfortunately we cannot guarantee to accommodate last minute changes. Please include your names and booking reference number on any correspondance. 

An amendment fee of £30 will be charged for any changes to the date, time or venue of your ceremony. If you have changed your venue since giving notice, you will need to give notice again and a fee of £35 per person will be payable for each new notice given

Gloucestershire Registration Service recognises the importance of photographs which capture the moment and serve as a lasting memory of a couple's special day and will work with an official photographer (or one member of the party who is not a witness, if there is no official photographer) to ensure, where possible, the wishes of the couple are accommodated.

There are appropriate points in the ceremony for music to be played:

  • Prior to the start of the ceremony we suggest that you choose enough songs to be played whilst your guests are settling themselves in the ceremony room
  • As you enter the ceremony room, please bear in mind that any music chosen will only be played for around 30 seconds so one track is sufficient.
  • Whilst signing the register, we suggest around 3 – 4 songs depending on whether you wish to have photographs taken with a blank register at this point.
  • For the couple’s exit, as with the entrance the music will only be played briefly for your walk down the aisle, so please choose just one track.

If you are getting married at one of our approved venues, please send the CD directly to that venue. If you are getting married at one of our Registration Offices, please ensure the CD is sent to the Cheltenham office;

Gloucestershire Registration Service,
St Georges Road,
Cheltenham GL50 3EW.

CDs should be sent when returning your choices form, 2 months prior to your ceremony, to ensure we have the opportunity to confirm they play on our music system. If music choices have not been received within time scales, Gloucestershire Registration Service will provide suitable music for your ceremony.

Unfortunately we are not able to guarantee using your own choice of music if your CD arrives late or you bring it with you on the day.

The couple are seen privately and separately to check the details which are to be entered into the marriage register. It is also an opportunity for you to ask any last minute questions you may have.

No: All legalities and preparations for the ceremony would have been completed prior to your big day. Which means on the day itself all you have to think about is arriving in good time and having a wonderful day!

Whilst some say that it is tradition to be ‘fashionably late’ on the day, it is important that your ceremony starts promptly as your Registration Officers may have other ceremonies to attend. Late arrival may result in your ceremony not going ahead


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