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Civil Marriages - what are they?


These are marriages which are non-religious and are conducted by the local Superintendent Registrar. They can take place in a Registration Office or an Approved Venue licensed by the local authority.

Where to hold your civil ceremony - Registration Office or Approved Venue?

For a civil ceremony in England or Wales you can chose a Registration Office or an Approved Venue (these are buildings licensed by the local authority e.g stately homes, castles, town and country hotels etc). Under current legislation a civil ceremony cannot take place in the open air.

Your local authority will have a list of venues approved for civil ceremonies in its area. To obtain an up to date Approved Venue list and also a free copy of the brochure Getting Married in Cornwall, please email registration@cornwall.gov.uk or telephone the Registration Information Service on 0300 1234 181.

You can choose to marry in any Registration Office or Approved Venue within or outside your district of residence.

If you choose to marry in a venue outside the district of your residence, you must provisionally book a date with the Approved Venue and the Registration Officer in that area before you make any firm arrangements. This is to ensure that you can have the date and time you want, and that the Registration Officers are available to conduct the ceremony.

For information about national registration services visit the Registering Life Events page on the Directgov website.