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.
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 our website.
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 140 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.
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.
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 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.Print this page