Please note, this guidance is only for ceremonies which are taking place while there are local coronavirus restrictions in place. If there is a national lockdown, marriages and civil partnerships will not be going ahead. The latest information is available on our coronavirus update page.
If you’re having your marriage or civil partnership ceremony at the Register Office, you must read and agree to our coronavirus guidelines below.
You can find the full government guidance on GOV.UK: COVID-19: guidance for small marriages and civil partnerships.
Our guidelines are here to make sure our building is COVID-secure, to keep both members of the public and our staff safe.
- Anyone who has coronavirus symptoms and / or is self-isolating should not attend the Register Office. If the person/people with symptoms are the bride and/or groom, please contact the Register Office on 01642 729004 so we can reschedule your ceremony.
- Please see the Register Office coronavirus update for information about capacity for our ceremony rooms.
- Children will be counted as guests and included in the total of 15 people.
- All guests are required to wear a face covering unless you're exempt. The bride and groom do not have to wear one. Wearing gloves is optional.
- We’ll ask for details of everyone who attends the ceremony, to support the NHS Track and Trace service.
- The seating is pre-arranged. Chairs cannot be moved around the room, because we need to make sure people follow social distancing rules.
- Everyone will need to use hand sanitiser when they enter the building. Alternatively, hand washing facilities are available in the Town Hall (entry via Corporation Road).
- Guests must respect social distancing inside the Register Office (corridors and the ceremony room), and stay as far away as possible from people they do not live with, and also the Register Office staff.
- Attendees must enter the building in a strict order. This will be managed by a member of staff.
- Windows in the ceremony room will be left open for ventilation, to help reduce the risk of infection.
- In line with government guidelines, the ceremony will be conducted in the minimum time possible, while still meeting all the legal requirements. This is to reduce the risk of infection to guests and Register Office staff.
- We will play generic background music for your ceremony. Unfortunately we're not able to provide personal music choices.
- We’ll give you a standard script with vows and declarations.
- The exchange of wedding rings will be strictly between the bride and groom. To minimise the spread of infection, you will not be able to have someone else hand you the rings.
- At the end of the ceremony, guests should avoid shouting or raising their voices. This is because shouting and speaking loudly can increase the risk of the virus being transmitted through airborne droplets from the mouth.
- We request that couples do not kiss at the end of the ceremony.
- The marriage register will be prepared for each party to sign. Couples and witnesses should bring their own (biro) pen (preferably black ink) to the sign the register entry.
- The marriage certificate will be posted out to you the same day, or the next working day, to reduce the risk of infection spreading due to people handling documents.
- We request that no group photographs are taken on the stone steps at the entrance, to follow social distancing rules. Photo opportunities in the ceremony room will also be limited, due to the need for social distancing. This includes no group photographs in the room.
- The marriage party will leave the building in an orderly way, while also maintaining social distancing.
- There are no toilets open in the building. The nearest toilets are in the Town Hall (entry via Corporation Road).
We realise that your ceremony will be different from your original plans, but we’ll do our very best to make sure that your day with us is still special and memorable.
If you have any questions or would like to speak to member of staff, please do not hesitate to contact us on 01642 729004 and we’ll be happy to help.
Please note, these guidelines may change if government guidance or rules are updated.
Cancelling or rescheduling your ceremony due to coronavirus
It may be necessary to cancel and/or reschedule ceremonies at short notice due to changes in government restrictions, local lockdowns, or our staff needing to self-isolate.
We will contact any affected customers as soon as possible if there are any changes to the services we're offering.
By booking a ceremony during the pandemic, you agree that you understand and accept the risk of late notice cancellations and/or rescheduling. We aim to always give customers as much notice as possible.
If you have a ceremony booked, you will have the option of either being contacted at a later date to reschedule the ceremony, or getting a refund (excluding the non-refundable booking fee).
If you cancel your ceremony, you will receive a refund minus the non-refundable booking fee.