Personalise your ceremony

For ceremonies being held by our registrars

Find out about the legally required aspects of a marriage or civil partnership ceremony. You can also find ways of personalising your ceremony and complete your relevant ceremony choices form.

Ensure you have booked your ceremony before submitting your ceremony choices form.

Legal requirements for a marriage or civil partnership

All marriage and civil partnerships must include the following:

  • registrar's welcome
  • signing of legal documents by the couple, witnesses and registrars
  • conclusion.

In addition:

  • for marriages, the couple must repeat declaratory and contracting words after the registrar.
  • for civil partnerships, the couple must read the legal declaration - reading aloud is optional.


You must provide two witnesses for your ceremony. They must be:

  • old enough to understand the purpose of the ceremony
  • able to understand the English language.

We are not able to provide witnesses for you.

Optional parts of a marriage or civil partnership

You may wish to include any or all of the below elements to your marriage or civil partnership ceremony:

  • reading(s)
  • exchange of rings
  • making promises to each other.

Below you can find suggested vows, sample readings for your ceremony type and the relevant choices form for you to complete to let us know your requirements.

Example ceremony running orders

    • Registrar’s welcome.
    • Reading (optional).
    • The couple repeating declaratory and contracting words after the registrar.
    • Exchange of rings (optional).
    • Additional promises (optional).
    • Reading (optional).
    • Signing of legal documents by couple, witnesses and registrars.
    • Conclusion.
    • Registrar’s welcome.
    • The couple reading the legal declaration.
    • Signing of legal documents by couple, witnesses and registrar.
    • Reading (optional).
    • Making formal promises to each other (optional).
    • Exchanging rings (optional).
    • Conclusion.
  • We cannot guarantee a particular registrar for your ceremony and would advise against printing an order of ceremony with any registrar’s name included.

    The example orders of ceremony above should be used simply as a guideline. Individual registrars may do things in a slightly different order. Specific requirements should be advised through your ceremony choices form.

What happens next?

Once we receive your choices form it will be sent to your registrar a few weeks before your ceremony to give them time to prepare. They will be in touch with you a day or two before your ceremony to introduce themselves and answer any last minute questions you may have.

If you have questions or issues in the meantime we'll be happy to help. To raise your enquiry, complete a general enquiry form. We'll get back to you as soon as we can.

For marriages and civil partnerships

On the day, before the ceremony begins, registrars will need to speak to you both to confirm details given at your notice appointment. For this reason, if you want to come to the ceremony separately, one of you should arrive roughly 30 minutes and one 15 minutes before your ceremony start time.