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Essex Register Office ceremony plan guidance

Your ceremony plan helps you plan your ceremony and tells us your choices for your special day. It is important you fill in all the details.

Please:

If it is necessary to change the date, time or venue of your ceremony you must contact us immediately. Please note that a fee of £25.00 will be incurred each time you alter your arrangements.

Arranging a ceremony can be stressful but we will do our best to make it as simple and straightforward as possible.

On your ceremony day

In all cases, you will be interviewed together by the Registrar immediately prior to the ceremony.

Please ensure you and your guests arrive no later than 15 minutes before the time of the ceremony.

Wheelchair access is available.

The Registration and Nationality Service does not accept responsibility for delays beyond its control. Please be mindful that our staff may be attending other ceremonies on the day and it is important that your ceremony starts on time.

If you are more than 10 minutes late for the start of your ceremony it may need to be arranged for another day or time.

Witnesses

You must provide two witnesses to the ceremony, these are usually either relatives or friends. They should be over the age of 16, able to understand English and the significance of the ceremony they are witnessing.

Entering the ceremony room

You will walk into the ceremony room together.

Registration of your ceremony

Before you sign the register the Registrar will ask you to check that all the particulars have been correctly recorded. It is important that you check the entry very carefully, as errors discovered after the register has been signed can be a lengthy and difficult process to correct. Finally, the witnesses will be called to sign the register.

Photography and video policy

We ask your guests not to take photographs during the ceremony or at the signing of the register. When the ceremony is complete and the register is signed, we can stage a mock signing of the register when photographs may be taken.

Confetti may not be used inside the building.

The elements of your ceremony

The Superintendent Registrar reserves the right to alter the order of service where necessary.

Declaratory words

These words are required by law to make sure your ceremony is valid. They cannot be changed or left out. You must choose one of these options.

A1. I do solemnly declare that I know not of any lawful impediment why I (Partner’s name) may not be joined in matrimony to (Partner’s name).

A2. I declare that I know of no legal reason why I (Partner’s name) may not be joined in ceremony to (Partner’s name).

A3. If you are free to marry, please answer “I am” to the following question: Are you (Partner’s name) free lawfully to marry (Partner’s name)?

Contracting words

These words are required by law to make sure your ceremony is valid. They cannot be changed or left out. You must choose one of these options.

B1. I call upon these persons here present to witness that I (Partner’s name) do take thee (Partner’s name) to be my lawful wedded wife / husband.

B2. I (Partner’s name) take you (Partner’s name) to be my wedded wife / husband.

B3. I (Partner’s name) take thee (Partner’s name) to be my wedded wife / husband.