Weddings and civil partnerships

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Sources of information on getting married or forming a civil partnership.

You can find general information on weddings and civil partnerships in the UK or abroad on the Directgov website.  The county council (CCC) website has information about weddings in Cumbria.

Legal formalities

You need to give notice and supply some personal information and documents to be married or form a civil partnership.  There are also laws about immigration and your residency status.  Cumbria Registration Services (CCC) have more information about the legal formalities of getting married.  Directgov also has information about your legal obligations when getting married.

Religious ceremonies

If you want a religious ceremony in England or Wales, you can get married in an Anglican church or any other religious building registered for marriage.  

Church of England and Church in Wales weddings

Speak to the vicar of your chosen church.  You or your partner would normally live within the parish or be a regular worshipper. 

If the minister agrees to marry you, they will arrange for the banns to be called or for a Common Licence to be issued.   A Common Licence may be issued if the wedding is taking too soon for banns to be read or one of you is a foreign national.  The minister will register the marriage.  You do not usually need to contact the register office, unless the vicar advises you to do so.

The Church of England has its own website with more details about C of E weddings.

Other religious weddings

Speak to the person in charge of marriages at the building.  You should normally live in the same district as the religious building.  You will have to give formal notice to the superintendent registrar at your local register office.  You may also need to book a registrar from the register office to register the marriage.  Please note that you need to bring at least two other people who can sign as witnesses at your wedding.

Civil marriages and partnerships

You can attend a register office or an approved venue.  Ceremony costs vary according to the day of the wedding and how far in advance you book the date.

Register office weddings

Cumbria County Council has more information about register office weddings.  Key points to note are:

  • There are words you must say by law as part of your vows, but you can personalise much of your ceremony.
  • You can choose music which is special to you as a couple or have some kind of reading, but neither must be religious. The register offices can provide a selection of music if you wish. 
  • You will need to discuss any ideas about the ceremony with the superintendent registrar before your wedding day.
  • You need two witnesses, who may be friends or relatives.  They need to watch the ceremony and sign the register immediately before the ceremony.

Approved Premises

Approved Premises are anywhere that has been granted a licence to hold weddings and which is not a register office.  Cumbria Registration Services gives information on Approved Premises in Cumbria.  There is a wide range of venues available for civil ceremonies.

Other information you may find useful

Cumbria Registration Services has a Marriage Information Index with lots more information about getting married, including:

  • fees;
  • how to plan a wedding;
  • booking a venue;
  • renewing your vows (these have no religious content and do not have any legal status);
  • getting married abroad; and
  • rules about photography at register offices and Approved Premises.

You can get copies of marriage and civil partnership certificates from CCC.

You can get married at home, in hospital or in prison: marriages at home are allowed if you are of the Jewish faith, housebound or terminally ill.  In the latter two cases, marriages are also allowed in hospital. 


Published: 30 July 2012 - 10:28am