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.
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
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.