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Marriage and civil partnership ceremonies during coronavirus

Road map out of lockdown

Further to the Government’s announcement on 14 June, please see below for changes to weddings and civil partnerships in Buckinghamshire.

From 21 June to 19 July 2021

Ceremonies in a licensed venue (e.g. hotel, golf club or country house)

There will no longer be a maximum number cap for the number of people attending a ceremony set out in law. Instead, the number of attendees at weddings and civil partnerships will be determined by how many people the venue or space can safely accommodate with social distancing measures in place. This will be based on the COVID-19 risk assessment of the venue or outdoor space, and the measures put in place to limit the spread of COVID-19.

You will need to contact your venue to check the numbers they can accommodate for your ceremony and how they are adhering to the current social distancing guidelines.

Registration Office ceremonies

Please note that due to social distancing requirements, limits remain on the maximum number of people who can attend a Registration Office ceremony and are based on the COVID-19 risk assessment. This number includes two Registrars:

• Midsomer Court, Beaconsfield: 12 people (couple, 8 guests plus 2 registrars)
• John Hampden Room, Aylesbury: 12 people (couple, 8 guests plus 2 registrars)
• Disraeli Room, Beaconsfield: 6 people (couple, 2 witnesses plus 2 registrars)

Contacting the Ceremonies Team

Our telephone lines are currently closed to help us manage the high demand. To contact the ceremonies team please email details of your query, together with your name, telephone number and ceremony date and venue if applicable to ceremonies@buckinghamshire.gov.uk and a member of our team will contact you within 3 working days

Notice of Marriage or Civil Partnership

If your ceremony has been rebooked due to postponement but your original Notice has expired, you'll need to give Notice again. Notices of marriage or civil partnership are only valid for one year and it's not possible to extend this.

Contact us to discuss your options on how to give Notice again. Email ceremonies@buckinghamshire.gov.uk

Shorter civil ceremonies and other changes

As per government guidance, ceremonies have to be conducted within a reasonable time. However, we are able to offer the following at Approved Venues only, but this must be discussed and agreed with the venue:

  • Aisle / giving away
  • Walking down the aisle with another person is permitted if social distancing from seated guests can be maintained

We are unable to comment on individual venue set ups so please speak with your venue to confirm your arrangements.

We are able to include one reading in your ceremony. You will be contact by our Ceremonies Team in advance of your ceremony with an updated options sheet.

Ring exchange

Couples are welcome to exchange rings however, please be aware that the registrars will not be touching them.  These should not be placed on the table and must remain on your person.

Hand hygiene

Hands should be sanitised or washed prior to entering the ceremony room and before exchanging rings.

Photographs

Any photographer you provide counts as one of the people working in the room at a registration office and an approved venue so please ensure you include them in your guest numbers. Photographs must be taken from a fixed point to ensure social distancing.  Guests are also welcome to take photos from their seats.

Certificates

During the ceremony, the registrar will bring forward the marriage schedule for you and your witnesses to sign. You will receive a commemorative certificate on the day of your ceremony. Please note, the commemorative certificate has no legal standing.

Your certificate(s) will be sent to you 5 working days after your civil ceremony and 5 working days upon receipt of your church document.

Ceremony

The ceremony will consist of:

• legal preliminaries with couple interviewed together by registrar in the ceremony room or a room close to the ceremony room
• welcome formal ‘giving away’
• one reading, no longer than 2 minutes
• repeating declaratory and contracting words after the registrar
• exchange of rings (optional)
• signing of marriage /civil partnership schedule by couple and witnesses
• conclusion of ceremony and congratulations

Before your ceremony you will be sent an option sheet. This will avoid delays on your day and allow you to indicate your choice of legal words.

Visit GOV.UK for the most up to date and correct information and guidance Coronavirus (COVID-19): Wedding and civil partnership ceremonies, receptions and celebrations - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk) (external website).

Moving outside

Marriage or civil partnership must take place within the venue as specified on the Notice, and as specified in the licence for approved premises. The structure must be able to accommodate couple, 2 witnesses and 2 registrars with social distancing.
We are unable to move the ceremony outside unless an outside structure is included as part of the venue licence. This will need to be in line with social distancing, so please check with your venue.

Changing your ceremony

Visit GOV.UK for the most up to date and correct information and guidance Coronavirus (COVID-19): Wedding and civil partnership ceremonies, receptions and celebrations - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk) (external website).

We must follow local and government guidelines that are in place at the time of the ceremony. If you wish to postpone or cancel, please contact us via our enquiry form to discuss your options