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Latest information and advice

Q: From what date can marriages/civil partnerships take place? 

A:  In Wales marriages can be solemnized and civil partnerships formed from 22 June.  In England this can take place from 4 July. 
Q: Where a person is shielding, can a marriage be solemnized, or a civil partnership formation take place remotely by video conferencing technology?

A:  No, there is no provision within current legislation for a virtual marriage or civil partnership to take place, however the venue may be able to broadcast the event so that guests may join virtually. 

Q: Can couples who have already given notice proceed with their marriage / civil partnership if they wish to do so?

A: Yes, as long as notice of marriage has been given, their authorities are still valid, and the venue hasn’t changed.  However, this will be subject to the venue being open and safe for registrars to attend, in line with public health and local authority guidance.   

Q: what if the venue where I was due to get married is closed what can I do?

A: Contact your local register office as you will need to give a new notice for a different venue. You would normally need to wait 28 clear days from giving the notice before you can get married but there is a facility to apply to reduce this time to allow the wedding to go ahead on the original date. Fees for the waiver process will not be charged if your plans have been affected by covid-19. Oldham registrars service will not charge for a new notice in these circumstances.

Q: I have made arrangements to get married but have not been able to give notice can my wedding still go ahead?

A: The wedding cannot go ahead without both parties giving notice at their local register office. Most register offices are now making arrangements to take urgent notices to allow weddings already booked to go ahead. Contact your local office.

Q: How many guests can I invite to the wedding and what about the reception afterwards?

A: The government guidelines is 30 people maximum attendance at a wedding, which includes the ceremony staff, photographer etc. However, this is still subject to the 2 metre social distancing measures and you will need to check with the venue. The registrars service will not continue with any wedding ceremony where the public health and social distancing measures are not observed. Refunds will not be appropriate in these circumstances. Any post celebrations can only take place following the government guidance, indoors a group consisting of two households including your own or outdoors 6 people from separate households.

Q: Should PPE be worn?

A:  Wearing PPE is optional, however if an individual chooses to wear a face mask, we will ask you to remove it briefly before the ceremony.

Q: What if my witnesses or guests have Covid-19 symptoms on the day of the wedding? 

A:  Anyone who has covid-19 symptoms should be self-isolating at home along with others in their household. Guidance regarding public health and social distancing should always be followed and anyone attending with symptoms will be asked to leave. If it is one of the parties to the marriage or civil partnership a new appointment date can be rearranged over the phone.  If it is one or both of the witnesses, you will be required to provide new witnesses.  

Q: Can I give notice by phone? 

A:  No there is a legal requirement for you to give notice in person and provide specified evidence to your local register office.

Q: Can I have enhancements such as readings, music at my wedding ceremony/civil partnership 

A: At the current time we are unable to allow enhancements to the ceremony such as readings or live music/singing but you will be able to use pre -recorded music. 

Q: I have booked the register office how many guests can I bring?  

A: The maximum capacity for the register office is 4 people – the couple and two witnesses only. We will not be able to allow entry to extra guests including babies, children photographer.

Q: Could I have my ceremony outside as there may be less risk of infection and could I have more guests there? 

A: No. A marriage or civil partnership must take place within the venue as detailed on the notice. There is no facility in law to allow for legal ceremonies to take place outside other than licensed structures.

Q: Why can’t witnesses use video technology to witness the ceremony?

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

Q: Does the marriage register still need to be signed with registration ink? This would mean that everyone would use the same pen.

A:  It is preferable for registration ink to be used. The registrars service have implemented sanitising measures to reduce risk. You and your guests will be asked to sanitise on entrance and are advised to sanitise on the way out but if you are concerned then you will be allowed sign using your own pen (either black or blue/black), which should be permanent ink where possible.