Getting Married or Registering a Civil Partnership

The Ceremony and Arrangements for the Day

Before the ceremony a Registration Officer will check the details which were given at the time of the Notice of Marriage. This information will then be entered into the register during the marriage. Once the couple are married a marriage certificate will be issued.

The Ceremony

At the start of the ceremony, you are reminded of the solemn and binding character of the vows you are to make.

You will each be asked to repeat the declaratory and contracting words of marriage.

Declaratory words

  • "I do solemnly declare that I know not of any lawful impediment why I...may not be joined in matrimony to.."


  • "I declare that I know of no legal reason why I...may not be joined in marriage to..."


  • By replying "I am" to the question "Are lawfully to marry"….

Contracting words

  • "I call upon these persons here present to witness that take be my lawful wedded wife/husband"


  • "I...take you/ be my wedded wife/husband".

Ring words – if having rings

The following words can also be included in your marriage ceremony:

  • "I give/receive this ring as a token of our marriage and a lasting symbol of the promises we have made today.”


  • “I give you this ring as a symbol of our marriage. I promise to be loving, faithful and loyal to you, in living our married life together."


  • “As I take you to be my wife I promise to care for you in love and friendship. I offer my support, respect and commitment in our future life together. I give you this ring as a symbol of our love and as a lasting reminder of the vows we have made here today.”

Please Note: You will need to tell us your choice of words before the wedding day, or we will assume that you would like the 'traditional words' numbers 1, 1 and 3.

Having made your marriage vows to each other in the presence of your witnesses (and guests), you become Husband and Wife.

When the registration of your marriage is complete, you must check the details recorded in the register. Then both you and your witnesses will then be asked to sign the register (the bride signing in the name by which she was known at the time of the ceremony).

After the Registration Officer and Registration Assistant have signed the register you will be given a marriage certificate. A short period of time will then be allowed for photographs to be taken in the marriage room.

If you are having a ceremony in an Approved Premise you can also include readings as part of your ceremony.

Arrangements for the Day

Music: when holding a civil ceremony in the Register Office the music is provided by the Registration Service. If you are having a civil ceremony in an approved venue you can bring your own music, but it should be strictly non-religious. This means you cannot have hymns or religious anthems. Even some classical pieces of music related with weddings may be restricted due to religious links.

Photography: during the ceremony photography is restricted. The Registration Officer will tell you when you can take photos. You can video record the ceremony as long as it does not interfere with the ceremony.

Arrival: you must arrive at least 15 minutes before the start of your ceremony, as you will be interviewed by the Registration Officer before the ceremony.

Witnesses: by law you must be accompanied by two credible witnesses to sign the register and be present throughout the ceremony. They can be relatives or friends, and must be over the age of 16 and able to understand English.

Page last updated: 22/08/2019