Questions and answers about your ceremony. If it's not here contact us
- How much does the ceremony cost and when do we need to pay?
On booking your civil marriage/partnership you will be required to pay a deposit, the amount will depend on your choice of your ceremony and venue. The full balance will be due at least two months before the ceremony date.
The only money needed on the day will be the cost of any marriage certificates.
For all ceremony related costs please see the ceremony fees page.
- Can we pay in instalments?
No. We will take a deposit at the time of booking and the balance is payable in full 2 months before your ceremony.
- Do we need to run through things in advance of our ceremony?
Many couples choose to book a ceremony rehearsal discussion. This will take you through your ceremony step by step, helping to put you at ease and ask any last minute questions.
- Do we have to have our banns read?
No, that is only for marriages in the Church of England.
For all other marriages, you must both attend your local register office to ‘give notice’ of your intention to marry.
- Can we write our own vows?
Your civil ceremony gives you a choice of legal words (declaration and contract) required to be spoken by each of you. Our enhanced ceremony allows you to add your own personal promises and readings. These must not have any religious content or connotation and should be agreed with us in advance.
- Can we film the ceremony?
Yes. Please discuss this with the registrars on the day.
- How quickly can we get married?
Legal notice of intention to marry must be given at least 28 days in advance of your ceremony. First of all, you must have lived in a registration district in England or Wales for at least seven full, clear days immediately before notice is given. In exceptional circumstances, for example a terminally ill partner, it can sometimes be possible to have this shortened. Please Contact Us for guidance.
- Can we choose our own music?
Only our enhanced ceremony, either at one of our offices or at a licensed venue, allows for personalisation. Please bear in mind that your civil ceremony must be free of religious content.
- Can we get married outside?
Under current marriage laws in England and Wales it is not possible to have your legal ceremony in the open air. However, some of our venues do offer outdoor structures which are currently used for legal ceremonies (weather permitting).
- When do we have to pay?
A deposit is payable at the time of booking. The full balance is due at least two months before the ceremony date.
- Can we change the venue for our existing booking without penalty?
To change your venue to another one within Nottinghamshire County Council Registration District there will be a small administration fee. To change your venue to one outside of the Nottinghamshire County Council Registration District will count as a cancellation and therefore relevant charges will apply. Please refer to our fees page and ceremony terms and conditions.
- Do we need to bring anything on the day?
You don’t need to bring any documents, but you will need to bring the relevant amount of cash for the number of certificates you have requested.
- What do we need to do in order to get married?
Please see Five Easy Steps to Planning Your Wedding Ceremony.
- What if we are running late on the day?
Your ceremony should start at the appointed time unless there are exceptional circumstances where we have been informed in advance of the change and it has been agreed by us.
Should you arrive late it may not be possible to conduct your ceremony that day, since your registrars will most likely have to attend subsequent ceremonies.
- We don’t wish to see each other before the ceremony, can this be arranged?
Yes. In order to accurately record your personal details in the marriage register, you must both see the registrar before the start of the ceremony. You can arrange to do this separately. Please advise in advance by indicating on your choices sheet.
- Who can escort me into the ceremony room?
It is entirely optional whether or not you are escorted into the ceremony room. If you wish to do so, it can be anyone you choose.
- What happens if I forget what to say?
You don’t have to memorise your marriage vows. The registrar will ask you to repeat the words phrase by phrase.
- Can a family member or friend do a reading?
Only in an enhanced ceremony, a copy of your chosen reading must be supplied to us in advance for approval.
- Who can be a witness?
Your whole ceremony must be witnessed by two people who can speak and understand English and who are fully aware of the nature and meaning of the ceremony.
A witness should be over the age of 16.
Registration Service staff cannot act as witnesses.
- Are we allowed to take photographs?
Yes, but please discuss this with the registrars on the day.
- Do I sign in the register in my new married name?
No. You sign the marriage register using your existing signature.
- Can I change my name in my passport?
Yes. If you have booked your honeymoon abroad in your new name, Form PD2 (completed by us) allows you to obtain a fresh passport, in your new married name, in advance of your honeymoon travel. Contact us for more information.
- Can we have a marriage ceremony anywhere?
For civil ceremonies, you can be married in any register office in England and Wales, or in any approved premises licensed by the local authority.
- May we use our pet as ring bearer?
Please submit your request to us as far in advance as possible, but there is no guarantee.
- Can the 28 day waiting period be reduced?
This is done only in exceptional circumstances. For example, if the bride, groom or a close relative is seriously ill, it is possible for the 28 days to be reduced on the authority of the Registrar General.
You will need to contact us as soon as possible and the decision lies at the discretion of the Registrar General. Additional fees are payable.
- How long will the ceremony take?
It depends on what type of ceremony you are having and whether you are adding in any extra readings or music. We allocate 45 minutes for an enhanced ceremony in a Registration office which includes the pre-ceremony interviews.
- Are we allowed to throw confetti?
It depends on where you are getting married. Please contact your local office to check.
- What if I make a mistake in my vows?
The Registrar will ask you to repeat all vows after them. If you make a mistake, they will simply repeat what you need to say. Please don’t be embarrassed, your guests are there to celebrate your big day and will understand if you make a mistake – you are only human!