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Apply to your council for a licence to hold civil marriages and civil partnerships.

Types of licence

You can apply for:

  • a temporary licence for a specific date
  • a 3-year licence


Your venue can’t have any current or recent religious connections (eg a chapel in a stately home), and it must be an appropriate and dignified setting.

You must:

  • approve a suitable person to make sure that requirements are followed if you’re not there
  • give this person’s details to the council and tell the council if they change
  • make sure that you or the other person are available 1 hour before and during ceremonies

You also need to make sure that:

  • your venue’s open for inspection at all reasonable times
  • the local registration authority or registrar has approved all wedding arrangements before ceremonies take place
  • no food or drink is sold or consumed in the specified area 1 hour before and during ceremonies
  • ceremonies don’t have any religious content (eg music or readings)

Your council may have specific conditions - eg if your ceremony area is outdoors, you may need to provide shelter in case of bad weather.

How to apply

Before you apply, you should choose a particular room or place where weddings or civil partnerships can take place.

Send the application form to the council with:

  • a description of your venue
  • a plan of the building, showing the area where ceremonies will be held
  • the application fee (this depends on the council and type of licence)
  • any documents requested, eg your public liability insurance certificate

The council may inspect the premises.


If you don’t follow these requirements, or if the council feels that your venue is no longer appropriate, you may lose your licence.