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Approval of premises for civil marriage and civil partnership

To hold a civil ceremony or wedding in England or Wales, the premises must be approved by the local authority.

Before you apply

Before you apply, you need to identify a specific room or rooms where weddings or civil partnerships take place.

You can have outside space where weddings or civil partnerships take place if both of the following apply:

  • you also identify a specific room or rooms inside
  • the outdoor space is within the grounds of the building

The Council must be happy that the premises are 'seemly and dignified' and that they will be regularly available for marriages or civil partnerships.

The premises must also have all the necessary fire and safety provisions required by the local council.

You must:

  • appoint someone suitable to make sure all conditions are followed
  • give this person's details to the Council after you get the licence
  • tell the Council if the person's details change
  • tell the Council about any change to the premises, for example name or layout
  • make sure that the superintendent registrar or local registration authority or registrar has approved all wedding or civil partnership arrangements before the proceedings take place
  • make sure your premises can be inspected at reasonable times
  • display a notice at every public entrance that the premises are approved 1 hour before and during the proceedings, with directions to the exact location
  • make sure that there is no food or alcoholic drinks sold or consumed in the specified area 1 hour before and during the proceedings

You also need to make sure that the proceedings:

  • only take place in the specified area
  • do not have any religious content (for example music or readings)
  • are freely open to the public

There may also be other specific requirements for your grant of approval (for example your council may ask you to provide space for car parking).

Civil marriages cannot be conducted anywhere with current or recent religious connections. For example, you cannot get a grant of approval for a chapel in a stately home.

Civil partnerships can be conducted on religious premises approved for this purpose. However, any application for a grant of approval must be subject to the consent of the faith group's governing body.

Faith groups are under no legal obligation to allow their premises to be used for civil partnerships.

You should also read the following before completing an application: 

 

How to apply

Contact us to apply for grant or renewal of premises approval for marriage or civil ceremonies

What happens next?

Your application and plan will be under consultation for 28 days and will be made available to the public for inspection. We will place a notice of the application on our website as part of a public consultation process.

It is our aim to complete the application process within 30 working days (subject to a satisfactory consultation within this period).

If your application is successful, your licence will run for 5 years from when it is granted.

Tacit consent

Tacit consent does not apply in respect of these applications. 

Tacit consent means that if we have not dealt with licence applications within the target period then the application can be deemed to have been granted or approved. 

It is in the public interest that we process your application before it can be granted. 

If you have not heard from us within 10 working days, contact us on 01642 524802 or licensing.administation@stockton.gov.uk 

Refusals

If we refuse your application, you may be able to appeal this decision to the Magistrates' Court or First-Tier Tribunal.

Full details will be included in any refusal notice.

 

Contact us

Contact the Licensing Team for advice on any licence or to make a complaint about a licensed business.

Phone: 01642 524802 

Email: licensing.administration@stockton.gov.uk