Marriage and Civil Partnerships

Various photos of weddings

Due to Covid Pandemic we are following Government guidelines for Marriage and Civil Partnerships.

Contact during national lockdown should be limited. Marriages and civil partnerships can go ahead, but only in exceptional circumstances. For example, where one of those getting married is seriously ill and not expected to recover (‘deathbed wedding’) or due to undergo debilitating treatment or life-changing surgery.

If you think you have exceptional circumstances and your marriage should go ahead, provide details and we'll review your request. Please email us quoting ‘Exceptional circumstances’ in the subject matter heading.

Attending a ceremony, under exceptional circumstances, is limited to 6 people. This includes the couple, witnesses and guests (including children). Registration officials and venue staff, are not included in the maximum number of 6.

As many venues are closed, please check your venue is still open for your

Changes to the rules for ceremonies – Roadmap from 29th March ‘21

New Provisional Wedding Bookings will be considered

From 29 March ceremonies will be permitted for all couples. There will be a limit of 6 attendees.

This includes the couple, witnesses and guests. Registration officials and venue staff are not included in this figure.

The numbers permitted at each Venue may be subject to Covid Secure Risk Assessments, please check with your Venue on the attendees possible.

Restrictions will then be eased in stages, as long as it is safe to do so. There will need to be a 5 week gap between each stage so it's possible these dates will be pushed back.

From 12 April at the earliest, 15 attendees will be permitted at ceremonies.

From 17 May at the earliest, 30 attendees will be permitted at ceremonies.

These both include the couple, witnesses and guests. Registration officials and venue staff are not included in the figures.

From 21 June at the earliest, and as long as it is safe to do so, ceremonies may take place with no restrictions on the number of attendees.

To marry or register a civil partnership by civil ceremony at a Register Office or other building approved for civil marriage/partnership, you should contact the Superintendent Registrar of the district where you wish to have the ceremony. In Southend, that is via the Register Office in the Civic Centre. You can do this by using our Online Provisional Booking forms.

You both also need to give formal notice to the Superintendent Registrar of the districts(s) where you live. Even if the ceremony is taking place in a different registration district to the one(s) that you and your partner live in, you need to register in the district where you actually live.

After giving notice, you must wait at least 28 days (although in some circumstances this could be increased to 70 days) before the ceremony can take place, but you can give notice as much as 12 months in advance.

Marriage Abroad

A Registration Officer may accept notice for a marriage to take place in a foreign country between a British person and a foreign person or another British person.

This is called a 'Certificate of No Impediment to marry' and should be taken/posted to the country where you plan to marry. The timeframe for these vary from country to country and as the certificate has no expiry date you must check how long the certificate is valid for with the embassy/consulate of that country.

Sometimes a record of the marriage can be made under the Foreign Marriage Order 1970, but you should contact the Registration Office for more details.

Go to top