A Guide To Registry Office Weddings In London
If you’re thinking of planning an intimate registry office wedding in London, here is all the information you need to know!
Whether you’re opting for a town hall wedding because you’re having your wedding abroad or because you would just prefer something small and personal, here are the ins and outs that should answer some questions you might have about planning your wedding at a registry office.
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There’s been a modern-day shift in wedding styles and along with that, registry office weddings have become increasingly popular.
It’s a wonderful option if you are after a wedding that is a lot more intimate and a bit more on the alternative side. It’s also one of the easiest ways to cut costs on your wedding budget.
The registry office might just be a necessary part of the process for you or it might be an integral part of your wedding day. Whether it’s the place you choose to say ‘I do’ or it’s a pre-stop before your destination wedding, here are all the details you need to know to make your wedding planning a bit easier!
Before we get started, I thought I would pop in some of my favourite register offices in the UK…
London Registry Offices & Town Halls
Registry Office Wedding Rules
The rules regarding who can get married in a registry office don’t vary much to those that apply to get married anywhere else in the UK.
Here are a few of the general rules you can expect:
- The legal age for marriage in the UK is 16 years old (some places require parental consent).
- Of course, there are a separate set of rules that apply to anyone who is not a UK citizen. The person who originates from outside of the UK may need to apply for a Marriage or Civil Partnership Visitor visa.
- If you are looking for any further details regarding regulations, you should be able to find them on the UK government website.
Why Would You Have A Registry Office Wedding Ceremony?
How To Get Married At A Registry Office
If a registry office or town hall wedding is sounding like the right fit for you, here’s a quick look at the process involved if you decide to go ahead.
Choose Your Registry Office
Whether you just want to keep it local and choose one near your home or you might have a sentimental area in mind, pick whichever one feels right for you! If you want to take a look at the registry offices by area, you can take a look them on this registry office finder!
Giving Notice of Marriage
Once you’ve found the one you would like to get married at, it is required to give notice at your local registry office. It’s the same as if you were getting married at a restaurant who has registered as a wedding venue. If you are looking into that as an option, click here for a list of the restaurant wedding venues in London we love the most.
Can you get married at any registry office?
Whether you have chosen your local registry office or one out of town, you still need to give notice at your local registry office. Book with the registry office you have chosen to marry at to arrange an appointment where you can go through the interview process and complete all the required documentation.
It’s important to note that if you and your partner live in different registration districts, then it is advised for you to give notice separately at your own local registry offices.
Bring Your Documentation
On your initial visit to the registry office, the documentation you will need to bring along includes:
- Proof of your name, age and nationality. (eg. valid passport, birth certificate, national identity card, etc)
- If you’ve changed your name, you will need to bring proof along to support that.
- Proof of address (eg. valid UK or EEA driving licence, recent gas or electricity bill, recent bank statement, etc)
Ultimately, it would be ideal to check with your local registry office what documentation is required as there are slight differences between the offices. Check their website or give them a call to confirm before you make your way there.
Once you have given notice, you have 12 months to get married from the day you gave notice and at least 28 days are required before your decided marriage date. Of course, the more time you are able to provide the better!
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How much does it cost to get married in a registry office?
The main cost involved in choosing to marry at a registry office is the room hire but all-in-all, you will most likely end up saving money on your wedding celebration thanks to the simplicity of a registry office wedding.
Registry Office Wedding Prices
- The cost of hiring a room in a registry office starts from around £57+ for a standard ceremony.
- There is also a fee involved for giving notice which is around £35-£50 per person.
- Your marriage certificate will cost around £4 on the day or £10 should you arrange to fetch it afterwards.
- Additional costs you can incur include: paying for a ceremony room not just a registry office room, extra charges for Saturday appointments to give notice, and fees paid for approving divorce documents from outside the UK or making changes to your application.
Getting Married in a UK Registry Office Before An Overseas Wedding
Depending on the legalities of the country you have chosen to get married in, it might be necessary for you to get married at a UK Registry office beforehand.
Your situation may be an exception should you have residency or have been living in a country for a certain period of time. Be sure to do your research for the country you have chosen for your wedding. A lot of the time it is easier and less complicated to get married in the UK at a small registry office wedding or just with your partner and then jet off to your magical destination to host a blessing.
Personalising a Registry Office Ceremony
A registry office wedding has many advantages but the freedom to decorate the space as you please is not necessarily one of them since there are often several couples booked to have their ceremony in the same day.
Instead of fussing over décor, the best way you can make you ceremony sentimental and special to you and your partner is through readings, personal vows, and music. Besides from the legal words that need to be said, there is a lot of space for you to make your ceremony as personal as you like.
How long does a registry office wedding take?
Registry office weddings are quite quick, and normally about 20-30 minutes long. They will often ask you and your guests to be at the town hall at least 30 minutes before. You and your partner will have to each be interviewed separately before the ceremony can take place. After the ceremony, you are normally given about 10 minutes for confetti and photographs on the steps.
A Few Things To Take Note Of
I hope we have been able to answer most of your questions in this blog but here are a few extra pieces of info that are good to know when planning a registry office wedding:
- A marriage ceremony in a local registry office generally takes a minimum of 10 minutes to a maximum of 30 minutes.
- Your marriage has to be carried out by a person or at least in the presence of a person who is authorised to register marriages in your chosen district.
- As romantic as getting married alone might sound, you are required to have at least two witnesses present.
- Registry offices are typically decorated with flowers pre-ceremony, but there are some rooms that allow you to incorporate your own flowers or decorations to an extent.
- Many weddings are usually booked per day which is why keeping your décor and floral arrangements as simple and easy to move around as possible are advised.
- Generally, the choice of music and readings at a registry office is up to you, however, hymns or passages from the Bible are not permitted. Music and readings with religious connotations are not allowed at registry offices.
- It’s important to know that passages such as ‘to have and to hold, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer’ originate from religious backgrounds so they are not permitted at the ceremony.
- When it comes to your wedding attire, it is completely up to you! Some brides and grooms show up in a traditional white wedding gown and suit while others keep it more casual by dressing semi-formal.
- No type of food or drinks are allowed in the rooms.
- A friend or family member may only conduct your ceremony if they are legally authorised by a registrar.
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