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Use of premises for marriage and civil partnership ceremonies licence

If you have premises you'd like to use as a venue for civil marriages or civil partnerships you'll need a licence.

The laws relating to approved premises allow marriage proceedings to take place in:

  • hotels
  • stately homes
  • civic halls
  • similar premises to those listed above
  • religious premises.

Definition of premises for marriage and civil partnerships

Premises are defined in the 2005 regulations as 'a permanently immovable structure comprising at least a room or any boat or other vessel which is permanently moored'.

Any premises outside this definition would not be eligible for approval. For example:

  • the open air
  • a tent or marquee
  • any other temporary structure
  • most forms of transport.

Premises requirements

The premises must be a dignified venue for the proceedings. Consider the premises:

  • primary use
  • situation
  • construction
  • state of repair.

The proceedings must take place in a room or rooms that are identifiable by description as a distinct part of those premises.

The primary use of a building would render it unsuitable if that use could demean proceedings or bring them into disrepute.

In addition to being satisfied that the requirements relating to the type of premises are met, the authority must be satisfied that the fire assessment at the premises is suitable for the intended purpose. The authority will also want to be sure that no planning permission is necessary for the use of the venue for marriages or civil partnerships.

Religious premises

Religious premises (as defined by section 6A(3C) of the Civil Partnership Act 2004) may not be approved for civil marriages.
Following amendments to the 2005 regulations made in December 2011 they may now be approved for the registration of civil partnerships.


The fee for new applications and renewals is £331.76.

We do not accept cheques or postal orders. An officer will call you to take the payment over the phone by debit or credit card.


Current Applications


Safer Communities Service (Licensing)

Licensing Team, 9 Holbeach Road, SE6 4TW
Safer Communities Service (Licensing)
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