Get married or form a civil partnership

Everything you need to get married or form a civil partnership in Essex. Includes booking a registrar, a venue and giving notice.


If you’re getting married or forming a civil partnership in Essex, we can help you with the legal requirements and planning your day.

You can have a religious or a civil ceremony.

Civil ceremonies

For civil ceremonies you will need to:

Step 1 - Choose a venue licensed for marriages or civil partnerships

Contact the venue to provisionally book a date and time for your ceremony.

Step 2 - Book the registrars

Call 0345 603 7632 to book the registrars to conduct your legal ceremony.

Our team will check availability and offer alternative timings if necessary. They will also take your deposit payment and advise you on your next steps.

Step 3 - Give notice

It is a legal requirement that you must both attend a notice appointment with a registrar in the district where you live. 

Step 4 – Finalise your plans

Pay your final balance and return your completed ceremony planner.
A planner is a document that explains your ceremony and gives you a chance to tell us your personal options. Blank ceremony planners can be downloaded from the venues pages.

Step 5 - Enjoy your ceremony

The registrars will arrive at your venue 30 minutes before your booked ceremony time. They will interview you both (separately or together) to check your personal details are accurate and to confirm your ceremony details with you.
They will then guide you through the ceremony so you can relax and enjoy yourselves.

Other information about civil ceremonies

If you have a civil ceremony, you won't be allowed to have religious readings or music.

Civil ceremonies can be held at one of the approved venues across Essex licenced to hold marriages or civil partnerships.

For a simpler ceremony choose one of our community venues or the Essex Register Office.

If you're forming a civil partnership you don't have to have a ceremony, but the process and the fees for booking a registrar and giving notice are the same.

There are slightly different rules if you're getting married abroad.

There are also differences affecting giving notice if one of both of you are not a UK or Irish national.

Religious ceremonies

If you’re having a Church of England ceremony, normally the Church will take care of these things for you.

For any other religious ceremony, speak to the person in charge where you're getting married.

Once your ceremony has taken place you will need to order and pay for a marriage certificate from us.

Virtual ceremonies

There is currently no provision for virtual marriage or civil partnership ceremonies to take place, though some venues may be able to broadcast the event so guests who cannot attend can join virtually.

If you have coronavirus symptoms

Check the latest guidance from GOV.UK.

Can we move the ceremony outdoors?

Under certain circumstances ceremonies can be held outdoors. Please speak to your venue to see if they have approval for ceremonies to take place in specific outside areas.


There is still a requirement within the legislation for 2 witnesses to attend to witness a marriage or civil partnership and then sign the schedule.