Apply for this licence

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Apply to your council for a licence to hold civil marriage ceremonies.

You can get a licence for land, a building or a boat or other vessel in Scottish waters.

Types of licence

You can get:

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


The venue can’t have any religious connections (eg you wouldn’t be able to get a licence for a chapel in a stately home). It should also be an appropriate and dignified setting for weddings.

You must:

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

You must also 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 1 hour before and during ceremonies
  • ceremonies don’t have any religious content (eg music or readings)

How to apply

Send the application form to the council with:

  • a description of your venue
  • a plan of the building
  • the application fee (this depends on the council and type of licence)
  • any documents requested, eg your public liability insurance certificate or fire certificate

The council may inspect the premises.

Your council will tell you about any other conditions, eg providing space for car parking.


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