Births, deaths, and marriages

Licence a venue for marriages and civil partnerships

You must have a civil marriage or civil partnership venue licence if you want to hold civil marriages and / or civil partnership ceremonies in a non-religious venue.

Non-religious and religious venues apply for licences in the same way, although the requirements and conditions are different. For religious venues please contact the marriages and civil partnerships ceremonies team .

A photo of wedding flowers in a line

The application must be made by the owner or trustee of the venue.

Before you apply

Guidance for licensing a venue for marriages and civil partnerships

We welcome enquiries and applications from all types of venues, not just stately homes and hotels, as couples all have their own individual wishes.

This guidance sets out our arrangements for the licensing of non-religious venues as approved premises. It also offers practical information and guidance to help you manage ceremonies at your venue. You should also give consideration whether you wish to add an outdoor area to your licence.

Before making an application, we encourage you to arrange an initial visit to discuss the arrangements and commitment required. If a site visit isn't carried out before the application is submitted, one will take place once it's received. Payment will not be taken, and the application process won't commence until a site visit has been carried out.

The site visit gives you a good opportunity to meet our ceremonies team who can offer practical advice and answer any questions you may have. The guidance will provide you with information about what the team will be looking for during the site visit.

What happens during a site visit

There are a list of checks carried out during a site visit to consider suitability for premises to be approved for civil marriages and civil partnerships.

Premises check:

The type of premises checks we carry out are to check whether:

  • The premises are seemly and a dignified venue for the proceedings
  • The premises are regularly available for use for civil marriages and civil partnerships
  • The ceremony rooms are identifiable
  • There is a room for the Registrar to interview bride/groom
  • There is a chair and a table large enough to accommodate the Registrars and paperwork
  • There is a person appointed to control any recorded music
  • There are parking facilities for Registrars
  • There are any religious activities that take place on the premises at any time
  • The premises are wheelchair accessible
Responsible person

We like to check that the responsible person is:

  • Aware of the conditions and understand the requirement of the role
  • Aware of the emergency procedures
  • Providing guidance to the wedding party
  • Ensuring that there are no naked flames or candles
Linked outdoor area

We like to ensure whether:

  • The premises intend to hold ceremonies in a linked outdoor area or outdoor semi-permanent structure
  • It is seemly and dignified
  • the boundary is identifiable
  • They intend to hold ceremonies in semi-permanent structures (such as marquees)
  • They understand inclement weather provisions and management of customer expectations and contingency plans.
  • Health and safety considerations are taken into account in respect of the linked outdoor area such as; accessibility, hazards, electrical leads and cables, potential falls from height, ground conditions, slips and trips, changes in level and noise.
  • Music considerations can be heard in the outdoor area considering the environment and weather
  • Sound considerations are taken into account, so guests can hear the ceremony.
  • There is room for Registrar to interview the bride/groom.
  • A chair and a table are large enough to accommodate the registrar to sign schedule.

Please contact the marriages and civil partnerships ceremonies team to arrange a visit.

Venue requirements

The venue needs to be solemn and dignified and be open for public bookings. We encourage you to check the guidance conditions and checklist for what happens at a site visit to make sure you can meet the requirements of the licence once it's approved.

Please think carefully about which rooms and outside areas you would want on the licence, you can have as many rooms as you like included as part of the standard fee. You can also have an outside area if you wish. If in doubt, include the room, there is no requirement that you have to use a particular room or offer it to couples, but if it's licensed it can be used in the event of any unforeseen circumstances in a licensed room.

We advise you to check that you have the correct planning permission to be able to host weddings at your venue. Planning will be consulted during the application process and can object to the approval based on planning regulations.

If you plan on selling alcohol at your venue, then you should make sure you have the correct premises licence in place for those sales. Where you do have the correct premises licence for the sale of alcohol you should also check the conditions attached to that licence as there may be restrictions that would conflict with your plans to host ceremonies.

To obtain a licence, all venues must meet the licence requirements set out in law. These requirements are set out in detail in Appendix 1 (Annex A) requirements for the grant of approval of premises that are not religious premises, with the conditions for all licensed venues, that will be attached following approval, set out in Appendix 2 (Annex C) conditions to be Attached to Grants of Approval of Premises that are not Religious Premises and Appendix 3 (Annex 3) Conditions to be attached to grants of approval of premises which are not religious premises relating to proceedings held in linked outdoor areas for venues with outdoor areas. When we visit the venue we will also be looking for other practical suitability requirements.

Main requirements

  • the built venue must be a permanent immovable structure consisting of at least one room, or any boat or other vessel which is permanently moored
  • the venue must be in keeping with the solemnity and dignity of the marriage or civil partnership ceremony
  • the premises must not be religious premises
  • the premises must be regularly available for the solemnisation of civil marriages or the formation of civil partnerships.
  • the rooms(s) or area(s) where ceremonies take place must be identifiable and accessible because the public must have unrestricted access to witness the marriage or civil partnership, and make an objection prior to or during the ceremony
  • no charge may be made to any member of the public attending a ceremony
  • the venue should, where possible, comply with disabled access requirements (however it is accepted that this may not always be possible given the age, construction and style of the building) and if disabled access is not possible then measures must be in place for a disabled objector to voice their concerns.

Freestanding 'gazebo' structures and terraces

Where no outdoor area is licensed, a freestanding or 'gazebo' structure must be permanent and immovable. This will usually be taken to mean a solid floor and a roof.

  • the structure must have a brick, stone, concrete or wooden base
  • the structure should have a permanent and waterproof roof (which ideally should be tiled, although other coverings will be considered), the roof should be supported by brick, stone, concrete or wood pillars or walls and the space between pillars may have trellising or other decoration
  • the structure should be of sufficient size to accommodate a ceremony in comfort for at least the following: two registration staff, one table, at least two chairs, the couple and two witnesses

Within the venue

Within the venue, individual rooms or areas are licensed; ceremonies may only take place within the rooms, or outdoor areas, listed on the licence. There is no limit to the number of rooms that can be approved, however full details must be included in the application.

Whilst the ceremony rooms do not have to be separate from other activities at the venue they must not be affected by any other activity taking place at the venue before and during a ceremony.

The room, or outdoor area, will need to be provided with a table (for signing the legal documents) and a chair. There should also be enough space where the couple, two witnesses and the two registrars will stand.

The ceremony room or area should be ready one hour before the agreed start time for the ceremony.

Interview room

In addition to the ceremony room or outdoor area, a further separate room must be available for a confidential interview with the couple before the ceremony.

The process

  1. Contact us to arrange a site visit.
  2. Complete and submit the application form and associated documents.
    • If a site visit wasn't carried out before the application form was submitted it will be arranged on receipt of your application.
  3. Make payment
  4. The application will be published on our website for 21 clear days. Objections to the application from local residents and other authorities can be made during this period. At the end of the public consultation period, we will consider any objections. Where objections are made, a suitable hearing for review may be arranged.
  5. The application will be sent to:
  • Planning - to check the correct permissions are in place to hold ceremonies
  • Licensing - to check the correct premises licence in place if there is an intention to sell alcohol
  • Environmental health for food hygiene
  • West Yorkshire fire and rescue for health and safety matters and safe occupancy figures.

The licence and how to apply

There is a fee of £1600 for the licence.

The licence is valid for three years from the date of approval. Rooms added at a later date will require a further application and payment of a new licence fee.

We require immediate notification of any of the following changes:

  • the layout of the premises, as shown in the plan submitted with the approved application, or in the use of the premises
  • the name or full address of the approved premises
  • the description of the room or rooms in which the proceedings are to take place
  • the name and address of the holder of the approval
  • the name, address or qualification of the responsible person

Apply online for premises to be approved for marriages

Fill in the online application form.

To complete the application you will need:

  • Plans of premises clearly showing the rooms you wish to licence
  • A site map ( if you wish to hold outdoor ceremonies), clearly showing the area you wish to hold the outdoor ceremonies
  • A recent fire risk assessment

For information about how we store your data please read the Kirklees Registration Service Privacy Notice

Clock Completing this form takes around 10 minutes

Apply online

After you've applied

If there are no objections and your licence is approved, your venue is licensed after the four-week objection period has elapsed. We will send you your licence. We will also add your details to the public register on our website and make your venue available for bookings with our registrars.

Licensing requirements

Licensing requirements for outdoor weddings

Outdoor areas including temporary structures

You must hold a licence for the building to be able to add an outside area or an area for a temporary structure such as a marquee and it can only be in the grounds around the licensed building. If you are applying for a building to be licensed, you can add an outdoor area to your application.

Outdoor ceremonies are weather dependent and we must be notified in advance of the intention to hold a ceremony outdoors. Wedding couples must notify us when completing the ceremony guide. The guide asks them to confirm that they are aware that the registrar will have the final decision when it comes to moving the ceremony indoors due to inclement weather and to maintain the solemnity and dignity of the occasion, as well as the health, safety and comfort of the wedding party and staff.

You should discuss this option with your couples if you think it would appeal to them but you should also consider whether there are any factors that could interrupt or disturb the ceremony, for example noise from passers-by or traffic.

Where the guests are not covered by a weatherproof structure an alternative (non-weather dependent) approved room should be available on the day. This is a significant point to consider as you must have an additional room set up, and prepared, to host the ceremony if it needs to be moved inside.

If the wedding couple or venue haven't made a decision to move the wedding inside, in advance of the registrar attending, the Registrar will. They have to consider the dignity of the ceremony and the health and safety of the wedding party, therefore their decision, whilst balanced and fair, will be final.

Licensing requirements for the responsible person and displaying the licence

The responsible person

The venue must have a person appointed as the responsible person. This person is the main link between the venue and ourselves. They will need to be present before, during and after the ceremony to assist the registrars with any issues that may arise.

The licence holder may be the responsible person, but usually deputies are appointed. An appropriately qualified responsible person or their deputy should have an occupation, position of responsibility in relation to the premises, to indicate that he or she is in a position to ensure compliance with the conditions attached to the approval.

The licence notice

A suitable notice stating that the premises have been approved for the proceedings and identifying and giving directions to the room or outdoor area in which the proceedings are to take place, must be displayed at each public entrance to the premises for one hour prior to and throughout the proceedings.

Promotion of the licence

The licence holder or anyone employed or acting on their behalf may not imply in any advertisement, statement or document that we or the Registrar General recommends the venue for civil marriages or civil partnerships. The licence holder may wish to use the following words to describe an approved premises licence:

"Approved by Kirklees Council as a venue for the solemnisation of civil marriages and the formation of civil partnerships"

We supply a paper copy of the licence which you may place on public display

Current licence holders

Renewal or revocation of a licence

Renewing a licence

The holder may apply for the renewal of an approval when the current approval has twelve months to run. An application for renewal made in this period will extend the current approval until the application has been finally dealt with. Any renewal will run from the expiry date of the current approval.

We will aim to contact approved premises within 3 months of the expiry of their licence to remind them of the expiry date and the renewal procedure. However it is up to licence holders to renew their licence before it expires

For all renewals after January 2024 please confirm that you have included the following with this application:

  • Plan of the premises clearly showing the ceremony rooms
  • For applications including and outdoor area, please submit a plan showing the area in which you want to hold ceremonies and detailing the outside boundaries
  • Latest copy of venue Fire Risk Assessment

Revoking a licence

We may revoke the licence if:

  • any conditions attached to the grant of the licence have been breached
  • the use or structure of the approved premises has changed and we no longer consider the premises as a suitable venue
  • if directed to do so by the Registrar General

Licence holders information

Changes after approval

If ownership of the premises changes then the new owners become the holders of the approval. The standard conditions require the holders of approvals to notify the authority immediately if there is any change to the details that were included in the application, such as change in holder of the approval.

It is not possible to outline all potential circumstances in which a change may occur after approval. One common change might be the use of an additional room (one that was not specified on the original plan) which would require a fresh application to be made.

Booking ceremonies

All ceremony bookings must be agreed with the staff at your local registration office.

Food and drink

No food or alcohol may be sold and/or consumed within the ceremony room or area one hour before or during the ceremony. Food and/or drink can be served and consumed elsewhere at the venue, but the applicant is responsible for ensuring that no food and/or alcohol is brought into the ceremony room or area.

Guests

Guests should be assembled in the ceremony room or area 15 minutes before the start of the ceremony.

The registrars have the discretion not to proceed with a ceremony if any of the party or either of the couple is threatening, abusive or seemingly under the influence of drink or drugs.

The venue's responsible person will be expected to deal with inappropriate behaviour by guests.

Music

Couples often choose to have music played before, during and after their ceremony. Any music system must be operated either by a member of the venue staff or someone nominated from the guests. Alternatively if live music is to be provided space should be made available without compromising the area needed to conduct the ceremony.

Music should be of a secular nature although music that contains words such as 'heaven' or 'angels' in a pop song may be allowed. The venue is responsible for ensuring compliance, where necessary, with any copyright licence requirements.

Photographs

Photographers must not cause any delays to the ceremony.

Car parking

Where car parking is available one car parking space should be reserved for the use of the registration staff. These spaces should be near to the main entrance so that the registration staff may leave promptly once the ceremony is finished.

Naked flames

There should be no naked flames in the ceremony room whilst the ceremony is taking place.

Applications pending approval

There are currently no applications pending approval.