Ceremony questions and answers
Here you will find the answers to the most frequently asked questions about our service. Our ceremony terms and conditions also contains additional information on our ceremonies and what to expect. If you have a question that is not covered below, please contact us.
What do we need to do to get married or form a civil partnership?
Please see our five-step planning guide to your ceremony or formation.
When do we need to pay?
When you book your ceremony or formation you will be required to pay a deposit, the amount of which will depend on your choice of ceremony/formation and venue. You must make sure that you pay the full balance to us at least two months before the ceremony/formation date.
For all related costs, please see the our fees page.
Can we pay in instalments?
No, we cannot accept payments in instalments. We will take a deposit at the time of booking and the balance is payable in full two months before your ceremony/formation.
How can we pay?
To book your ceremony/formation and pay your deposit contact us.
Do we have to have our banns read?
This is only required for marriages in the Church of England and Wales. Please contact your local vicar for further information. For all other marriages and civil partnership, you must both attend your local Registration Office to ‘give notice’.
Do we both have to give notice?
Yes. You both need to attend your local registration office in person to give your individual notice. If you are subject to immigration control you will both need to attend together
When do we have to give notice?
You must give notice a minimum of 28 full days before your ceremony/formation. If you are subject to immigration control the 28-day waiting period may be extended to 70 days. You may give notice up to a year in advance of your ceremony/formation. We recommend that you give notice three to six months prior to your ceremony/formation.
You can find out more about this on our giving notice page.
How quickly can we get married/form a civil partnership?
Legal notice of intention to marry/form a civil partnership must be given at least 28 full days in advance of your ceremony/formation. To do this, you must have lived in a registration district in England or Wales for at least seven full days immediately before you give notice. In exceptional circumstances, such as a terminally ill partner, it may be possible to reduce the waiting period subject to the Registrar General’s approval. For more information, please contact us.
Do we need to run through things in advance of our ceremony/formation?
Whilst it’s not compulsory, many couples choose to book a ceremony rehearsal discussion to put them at ease. This provides an opportunity to discuss the ceremony in more detail and for you to inform us of any special requests.
Can we write our own vows?
There are certain words that must be said during a marriage ceremony. If you book an enhanced ceremony you may choose to write your own promises (vows) to say in addition to create a unique and personal ceremony. Please note that the ceremony must be free of religious content. All personalisation of the ceremony must be agreed with us in advance.
Can we take photographs/film the ceremony or formation?
Yes. Please take into consideration the size of the ceremony room and the maximum capacity permitted.
Can we choose our own music?
Yes. Please bear in mind that your civil ceremony must be free of religious content. For more information, please contact us.
Can we get married/form a civil partnership outside?
It is possible to have your legal ceremony/formation in the open air, however, this can only take place within the grounds of an approved premises (licensed venue). This is subject to risk assessment and weather conditions.
Can we change the date or time of our ceremony/formation?
Subject to availability you can change the date or time for an administration fee of £25.
Can we change the venue for our existing booking without penalty?
Please contact us to discuss this in more detail. You may also refer to our ceremony terms and conditions for more information on cancellations.
Do we need to bring anything on the day?
You don’t need to bring any documents, but you must provide a minimum of two witnesses (who speak and understand English and are over the age of 16).
What if we are running late on the day?
If you arrive late on the day, it may not be possible to conduct your ceremony/formation or it could be delayed. Your ceremony/formation should start at the appointed time unless there are exceptional circumstances.
We don’t wish to see each other before the ceremony/formation, can this be arranged?
Yes. If you wish to do this, please indicate this on your choices sheet provided when you gave notice.
Can a family member or friend do a reading?
If you book an enhanced ceremony you may choose anyone to present a reading. Please note that the ceremony must be free of religious content. All personalisation of the ceremony must be agreed with us in advance.
Who can be a witness?
You must provide a minimum of two witnesses who speak and understand English and are over the age of 16. Your witnesses must be fully aware of the nature and the meaning of your ceremony. Please note that registration staff cannot act as your witnesses.
Do I sign the schedule in my new name?
No. You sign the schedule in your current name.
Can I change my name in my passport?
If you wish to update your passport in your new surname prior to your ceremony or formation, it is possible to do so up to three months in advance. You will need to complete a PD2 form Passports for newlyweds and civil partners at GOV.UK. An appointment should be made with the registration office conducting your ceremony or formation for the form to be countersigned by a Registrar (fees may apply). For more information, please contact us.
Does getting married legally affect our children?
Yes, if the natural parents marry each other after the birth of their children, it is a legal requirement to re-register the birth(s)
Are animals allowed at ceremonies/formations?
We cannot guarantee that this will be possible. If you wish to request this please contact us for approval.
How long will the ceremony/formation take?
This depends on the type of ceremony/formation you have chosen and whether you are adding in any extra readings or music. For more information, please contact us.
Are we allowed to throw confetti?
It depends on where you are holding your ceremony/formation. For more information, please contact us.
How many people can attend my ceremony/formation?
It depends on where you are holding your ceremony/formation and the type of ceremony/formation booked. Please contact us
- Statutory ceremonies or formations permit a maximum of four people. The couple plus two witnesses only.
- Standard ceremonies or formations permit a maximum of 20 people. The couple plus two witnesses and up to 16 guests.
- Numbers permitted at enhanced ceremonies or formations will vary according to the venue.
What documents do I need to provide when giving notice?
Please refer to the GOV.UK information page Marriages and civil partnerships in England and Wales.
Who can perform my ceremony/formation?
Nottinghamshire Registration Service staff are trained to a high level and the fee for their services is included in your booking with us. Only a Registrar that is registered with the General Register Office may conduct a ceremony/formation in England and Wales. For more information, please contact us.
Can I get married/form a civil partnership anywhere?
Currently in England and Wales couples may only marry/form a civil partnership in licensed premises and their grounds (subject to risk assessment). For more information, please contact us.