Get married or form a civil partnership

Getting married or forming a civil partnership

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.

Rules for ceremonies

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.

Face coverings

Face coverings are no longer required by law. The government suggests that you continue to wear a face covering in crowded and enclosed spaces where you may come into contact with people you do not normally meet.

Individual offices or venues may still have restrictions at events to enable them to take place safely. You should check with the venue before you organise or attend an event.

If you have coronavirus symptoms

Anyone who has Covid-19 symptoms should stay at home. Current guidance regarding public health and should always be followed.

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.

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.

Civil ceremonies

For civil ceremonies you will need to:

  1. choose a venue
  2. book a registrar for your ceremony
  3. give notice at least 29 days before the ceremony
  4. have your ceremony

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 120 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.

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