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Guidance Notes for Civil Ceremonies

These guidance notes are for couples that live in England and Wales and intend to marry, by civil ceremony, in approved premises in Cheshire.

Booking the Registrars

As soon as a couple has made provisional arrangements for a marriage to take place in approved premises, they should contact the Superintendent Registrar of the district in which the premises are situated. On the day of the marriage it will be necessary for two Registrars to attend, one to conduct the ceremony and the other to register the marriage. Registrars will attend marriages in approved premises from 10.00am to 4.00pm, Monday to Sunday, subject to availability. It is possible to book Registrars up to twelve months in advance and couples are advised to contact the register office as soon as possible. The marriage cannot take place without the presence of the Registrars.


The Notice of Marriage

Although it is not necessary for the couple to reside in the district where they intend to marry, they are required to give legal Notice of their intention to marry. This must be done by the Bride or Groom at their local register office(s). The two different types of Notice shown are both valid for three months.

By Certificate

Notice must be given to the Superintendent registrar of the district in which the Bride and Groom have resided for at least the previous seven days. A minimum of 21 days must elapse between the giving of the Notice and the day of the marriage. If the couple live in different districts, Notice must be given to the Superintendent Registrar of each district.

By Licence

This is a more expensive procedure. Only one Notice is required, even if the couple live in different districts. The Notice should be given to the Superintendent Registrar of the district in which either the Bride or Groom has resided for the previous 15 days. A minimum of one clear working day must elapse between the Notice and the day of marriage.


The Marriage Ceremony

The content of the marriage ceremony must be approved in advance by the Superintendent Registrar who will be attending on the day. Please note that, by law, only a civil ceremony is permitted: any music, reading, words or performance which forms any part of the ceremony must be secular in nature. The Superintendent Registrar will be happy to offer advice and guidance to couples that wish to personalise or enhance their marriage ceremony. The address and telephone number of the Cheshire & Ellesmere Port Office is as follows:

Cheshire West & Chester Council HQ
Nicholas Street
Telephone Number: 01244 977989

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