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Planning your wedding

You can now get married in any Register Office or Approved Premises you choose.  In Cumbria we offer some of the best venues in the whole of the country.  These include stately homes, historic buildings, first class hotels and Register Offices and provide charming settings for civil weddings.  Although marriages are not allowed to take place outdoors or in temporary or moveable structures such as marquees or boats, certain venues do have permanent constructions outdoors, i.e. pergolas, gazebos etc., which are licensed.

How far in advance can I make a booking?

You can book a wedding up to two years ahead

You may be able to make an advance (provisional) booking with the local Registration Office covering the venue in which you wish to marry.  Please note that there is an additional charge for this which is non-refundable and non-transferrable.  Making such an advance booking does ensure that the specific date and time you require is reserved for you.  Registration staff at any of our offices will be able to give you more precise information regarding advance bookings.

In Cumbria, please book your wedding ceremony before arranging to give notice.

Before you can marry, there are certain formalities which are required under law.  You must both attend the Register Office in the district in which you live to inform them of your intention to marry.  This is called giving notice and you must attend in person.

To give notice of your marriage, which takes approximately half an hour for each party, you should make an appointment to see the Superintendent Registrar in the district where you live.

You will each be required to give an individual notice.  If you live in the same district, then both notices will be given in the same office.  If you live in separate districts, you will be required to each give notice in the district in which you live.

After giving notice you must allow at least 28 clear days before you can marry. For example, if you give notice on the 1st day of the month the earliest you would be able to marry would be the 30th of that same month. Your marriage must then take place within twelve months of the date you gave notice.

The Superintendent Registrar will tell you when your authority to marry is due to be issued.
If you are marrying in another district, you will need to take these certificates to that district before the day of the wedding.

Please note:
Unfortunately we are unable to take bookings for those who do not have the legal capacity to marry. For example, in cases where divorce proceedings are still underway, and have not been fully completed, or where the appropriate visa's may not yet be in place.
If you are in doubt about your own circumstances please speak to one of our offices and a member of the team will be able to advise you further.

Giving notice means that you are declaring that you are both free to marry each other and will require you to provide certain documents. You may do this up to one year before the date of your wedding. When you give notice, the Superintendent Registrar will ask questions about you and your partner. You will both need to provide evidence of your full name, date of birth, nationality, current residence, a consent form (if either of you is under 18 years of age) and (if previously married or in a civil partnership) proof of the end of that relationship. In order to do this, you will each need to produce the following documents:-

 

Evidence of Full Name, Date of Birth, and Nationality

 

Current passport OR

 

1.     If you were born in the United Kingdom before1st January 1983 - your full birth certificate together with one of the following original documents - 

  •       A utility bill dated no more than 3 months before the date of your notice appointment.

  •       A Bank/Building Society statement or passbook dated no more than 1 month before the date of your notice appointment.
  • A Council Tax Bill dated no more than 1 year before the date of your notice appointment.
  •   A mortgage statement dated no more than 1 year before the date of your notice appointment.
  • A current residential tenancy agreement.
  • A valid driving licence.

   2.     If you were born in the United Kingdom after 1st January 1983 - your full birth certificate together with one of the following original documents -

 

  •         A utility bill dated no more than 3 months before the date of your notice appointment.

  •       A Bank/Building Society statement or passbook dated no more than 1 month before the date of your notice appointment.

  •      A Council Tax Bill dated no more than 1 year before the date of your notice appointment.

  •       A mortgage statement dated no more than 1 year before the date of your notice appointment.

  •       A current residential tenancy agreement.

  •       A valid driving licence.

  •  PLUS evidence of either one of your parents British citizenship or settled status in the UK at the time of your birth (their full birth certificate or passport).  NB - If your parents were married at that time and your mother was not British then we also need to see their marriage certificate. If your parents were not married to each other at the time of your birth, your nationality will be that of your mother.

  Evidence of Place of Residency 

  •       A utility bill dated no more than 3 months before the date of your notice appointment.
  • A Bank/Building Society statement or passbook dated no more than 1 month before the date of your notice appointment.
  • A Council Tax Bill dated no more than 1 year before the date of your notice appointment.
  • A mortgage statement dated no more than 1 year before the date of your notice appointment.
  • A current residential tenancy agreement.

  • A valid driving licence.
A letter from the owner/proprietor of the address which is your current residence which confirms this is your place of residence, that they are the owner/proprietor, their full name and address, and which is signed and dated by the owner/proprietor within one month of the date of the notice appointment.

 

Evidence of Ending of Previous Marriage/Civil Partnership (if applicable)

 

  • One of the following original documents:-
  • Court sealed certified copy of your Decree Absolute.  Please note that for documents in a foreign language a translation should also be provided which must be certified, signed, and dated by the translator.  Some foreign divorce certificates must be sent for clearance by the General Register Office before the marriage can go ahead.
  • The death certificate of your previous spouse or civil partner
  • The presumed death certificate of your previous spouse or civil partner.

 

Evidence of Consent

 If either of you is under the age of 18 years, you will need to produce a fully completed consent form (available from your local Register Office). 

 

Immigration Issues

 If you are subject to Immigration Control please contact your local designated Register Office for advice.

 

Abuse of immigration laws & 'sham marriages'

We actively work with the UK Border Agency to identify marriages which seek to abuse or by-pass UK immigration laws, and which are seen as 'sham marriages'. The Cumbria Registration Service will report any such activity which it feels may be, or lead to, abuse of immigration law, and anybody found to be arranging, facilitating or entering into a marriage solely to gain permission to stay in the UK risks arrest or prosecution. Foreign nationals may face deportation and be barred from re-entering the UK for up to 14 years.


The statutory fee for entering a notice of marriage is £ 35.00 per person ( £ 70.00 per couple).

If you are marrying in the Register Office, the fees vary depending on the day of the week and which register office is to hold the ceremony.  Please contact your local registration office for full details.

The cost of a marriage certificate is £ 4.00

If you are marrying in one of our Approved Premises between 1st April 2015 and 31st March 2017 the fees are as follows:

Approved Premises Marriage Fees
DayFee
Monday-Thursday £ 330.00
Friday £ 330.00
Saturday £ 430.00
Sunday and Bank Holidays £ 500.00

Please Note: All fees are required to be paid 8 weeks prior to the date of the ceremony. You can pay in cash, by cheque, or by credit / debit card.  Cheques should be made payable to 'Cumbria County Council'.

A standard non-refundable booking fee of £ 35.00 is charged when you book your ceremony.

This is in addition to any other fees payable.

NB: All fees are regularly reviewed, and can be confirmed at time of booking with the Registrar. 

Please note: If you make any change to your booking there is an amendment fee of £ 25.00 ( £ 50.00 if within 8 weeks of the ceremony date).  It is your responsibility to check that the venue will have a valid marriage licence at the time of your marriage.

Refund of ceremony fees

Our refund policy on cancelled bookings is as follows:

  • Ceremony cancelled 2 months prior to the date - full refund

  • Cancelled less than 2 months up to 2 weeks prior to the ceremony date - 50% refund

  • Less than 2 weeks prior to the date of the ceremony - no refund

Please note

The above refunds do not include the administration fee.

For the purpose of refunds, the cancellation date is deemed to be when written confirmation is received by the registrar.

As soon as you have given your Notice of Intention to Marry (either in Cumbria or elsewhere, depending on where you live), we will send you a booklet entitled "Your Marriage Ceremony Plan".  This explains what will happen during the ceremony and help you to plan your special day.  Within your marriage ceremony plan there is a form for you to send in to the registration office with whom you booked the marriage.  To return this form online please complete your details by double clicking into the relevant fields.  The details you provide on this form will help our staff to personalise your ceremony and make sure that it is everything you hope for.

The booklet also provides details of the fees payable for the ceremony and certificates, a guidance note on photography and video recording and a copy of the ceremony.  There should also be contact details should you have any questions about your ceremony or preceding procedures.

On this special day please help us and other couples who are being married or forming a Civil Partnership on the same day by arriving at the register office fifteen minutes before the ceremony.

We don't want to rush your ceremony or be forced to cancel it, so please ensure you and your guests arrive on time.  Remember there may be traffic delays or a photo call before the ceremony.

Please note we cannot guarantee to reach your venue during periods of extreme weather.  We will however endeavour to attend as soon as it is safe to do so and regret we will not accept liability for any loss in such instances.  We would be obliged if you could take this in to account when choosing the venue and date for your ceremony.
 
The ceremony is conducted by the Superintendent Registrar and registered by the Registrar, who is also responsible for ensuring that all information which is to be entered into the Marriage Register is correct on the day.  He/she will see you and your partner in private to check the details and will be happy to answer any last minute questions you may have about the ceremony or any of the other arrangements.  You will each be asked for the following information:
  • Your full name, age, marital status, occupation and the address of your residence on the day of your marriage.
  • The full name and occupation of your father, and whether he is retired or deceased.      

Although there are words prescribed by law which you must say, there are various ways of personalising your wedding ceremony.  Additional vows may be added after the contractual words and a selection of music is available at the offices if you wish. 

Alternatively, music which is special to you as a couple or a piece of poetry/prose may be read, although neither must be religious by nature.  A booklet containing a collection of verse and music is available at all our Registration Offices.

Please discuss this or any ideas of your own with the Superintendent Registrar prior to your wedding day.

Witnesses
You will need to ask two people, who may be friends or relatives, if they will witness your marriage. Your witnesses must be old enough to understand the ceremony and their role in it, preferably over the age of eighteen.  All they will have to do is watch and listen to the ceremony and sign the register.

Should the services of an interpreter be required, please contact the Superintendent Registrar of the district where the marriage is to take place for advice.

Once the marriage vows have been exchanged, the Registrar will ask you to check that your details have been correctly recorded in the Marriage Register.  Please check them carefully, as there can be problems if errors have to be corrected later.  You will both then be asked to sign the Register.  The bride should sign in the name she was known by immediately before the ceremony.  Your two witnesses will then be asked to sign.

Since April 1995, civil marriages have been allowed to take place in other buildings, apart from register offices, that have been approved by local authorities as a suitable venue for civil marriages. These are known as Approved Premises and generally include hotels, stately homes and other historic buildings.

Please note that currently the law does not allow for a civil marriage to take place in a private house, in open air, a marquee, or in any other moveable structure, such as a boat or hot air balloon.

You can get married in any Approved Premises in any district in England and Wales, although you will still need to give Notice of Marriage in the district(s) where you live.  A full list of all Approved Premises in England and Wales can be obtained from the General Register Office.  A list of local venues is also available from each Registration Office within Cumbria also please find a A to Z List of Premises here

Ceremonies at Approved Premises will follow a similar format to that in Register Offices.

Many of our Approved Premises are set amidst landscaped and beautiful gardens in which to have your photographs taken.  The staff at Approved Premises will be delighted to discuss various arrangements that can be made to make your day really special.

To arrange a wedding in an Approved Premise you must first contact the manager or owner of the premises of your choice to make provisional arrangements.  You must then contact the relevant Registration Office to ensure that the registration officers are able to attend your marriage on that date and time.

Please note we can not guarantee to reach your venue during periods of extreme weather.  We will however endeavour to attend as soon as it is safe to do so and regret we will not accept liability for any loss in such instances.  We would be obliged if you could take this in to account when choosing the venue and date for your ceremony.

Church of England or Church in Wales
If you wish to be married in the Church of England or Church in Wales - and generally you will be able to do so only if you or your partner live in the parish - you should first speak to the Vicar.  If he/she agrees to marry you he/she will arrange for the banns to be called on three Sundays before the day of your ceremony or for a common licence to be issued.  The marriage will also need to be registered by the Vicar or Priest.  There is usually no need to involve the local Superintendent Registrar, unless the Vicar or Priest is unable to call the banns - this would usually be because of divorce or residency.

Other places of religious worship
If you wish to marry by religious ceremony other than in the Church of England or Church in Wales you should first arrange to see the minister or other person in charge of marriages at the building.  However, the Church or religious building in question must normally be in the registration district where you or your partner live.  It will also be necessary for both of you to give formal notice of your marriage to the Superintendent Registrar of the district(s) where you live.  A Registrar may also need to be booked from the Register Office in order to register the marriage.

You should first check with the authorities of the country in which you are getting married as to what legal preliminaries for your marriage are needed.  Some countries require you to give notice of marriage in this country and to produce a Certificate of No Impediment in order for your marriage to go ahead.  However, this facility exists only in certain circumstances.

Where two British subjects are getting married in a foreign country and both live in England and Wales, notice of marriage must be given by both parties in the district(s) in which they have lived for the 8 days before giving notice. The Certificates of No Impediment can be issued 28 clear days after the date on which the notices were given.

There is no facility for giving notice of marriage where two British subjects are getting married in a British Commonwealth Country.

If a British subject is getting married to a foreign national in a foreign country, notice can be given under the provisions of the Marriage with Foreigners Act.  This facility requires the British subject to give notice of marriage in the district, in England and Wales, in which they lived for three weeks before giving notice.  Only one notice of marriage is given and a Certificate of No Impediment can be issued 28 clear days after the notice.

If you are not sure whether you are able to give notice of marriage, or your circumstances are different from those outlined above then you should contact one of the Registration Offices in Cumbria.

If possible, you should register your marriage with the British authorities in the country in which you get married.  This means that you can then obtain a copy of your marriage certificate in this country if you ever need one in the future.

Alternatively, you can lodge copies of your original marriage certificate so as to be able to obtain further copies in the future.  Please see the General Register Office website for further details.

It is also possible to have a Renewal of Vows ceremony in this country in addition to your marriage abroad - your family and friends don't miss out on all the fun if you do this!

Please contact us for further details.

Getting Married At Home/In Hospital
Persons of the Jewish religion are able to marry in a private house, hotel or even outside in a garden as long as the marriage is to be conducted according to Jewish religious rites and both parties are of the Jewish faith.  The marriage can take place at any time and does not have to be within the usual hours for marriage which are 8am and 6pm.

A person who is housebound is able to marry in their own home or in a hospital.  A Doctor must be prepared to sign a statement that the person is not able to be moved for a period of 3 months to a place normally registered for marriage.  The statement form can be obtained from your local Register Office and must be signed not more than 14 days before giving notice.  Notice of marriage must be given in the district(s) of residence of both parties.  In the case of the housebound person, the notice will have to be taken at home.  The marriage must take place within 3 months of giving the first notice.

A person who is terminally ill is able to marry in a house or hospital.  In these circumstances a Doctor must sign a letter confirming that he/she is in medical attendance on the person and that the person is terminally ill and not expected to recover.  The letter must also state that the person cannot be moved to a place and can fully understand the importance of the marriage ceremony.  The marriage can take place once the Registrar General has issued the licence for the marriage.  Where necessary this may be on the same day that the arrangements are made although the marriage must take place within one month of giving notice.  Only one notice is given under these circumstances.

In Prison
A marriage can take place in a prison as long as the Prison authorities agree that the marriage can be performed there.  This agreement must be in the form of a statement signed by the Prison Governor not more than 21 days before you give your notices of marriage.  The person in prison must give their notice to the local Superintendent Registrar.  As the Registrar will normally have to visit the prison in order to take the notice, this will attract an additional statutory fee.  The other party to the marriage will also have to give a notice to the Registrar of the district in which they live.  The marriage, which can be civil or religious, must take place within 3 months of giving the first notice.

Please note that all photography and video recording, professional or otherwise, is by permission of the presiding Superintendent Registrar.

PHOTOGRAPHY

Allowed during the ceremony:

  • photograph as the bride and groom enter

  • photograph of the exchange of rings

  • photograph of the first kiss

Flash guns may be used only with the permission of the presiding Superintendent Registrar, and must be agreed prior to the ceremony.

Photographers are welcome to take photographs before and after the formal ceremony, however it is important that all ceremonies begin on time.

No delay should be as a result of photographs being taken.

VIDEO RECORDING

Video recording is at the discretion of the bride and groom, but the following applies throughout the formal ceremony:

  • only one video camera to be used;

  • the recordist should remain stationary.

It is the responsibility of the couple to advise their chosen photographer of the above guidance.  Cameras must be battery operated to avoid trailing cables, which are a potential health and safety risk to the couple, their guests and employees of Cumbria County Council.