To hold a legal marriage or civil partnership ceremony a venue must be licensed by the local authority.
Before you apply
Before making your application, please read and understand the information contained in the following:
- Guidance on registering a venue for civil marriage and civil partnership (Gov.UK)
- Terms and conditions for granting a licence
- Terms and conditions for licensing a garden structure
- Terms and conditions for ceremony bookings
Who can apply
Licensed venues, or 'approved venues', can include hotels, stately homes, civic halls, barns and other similar premises. The owner or trustee of the premises must make the application.
You cannot get a licence for a garden or your house for a one off ceremony, unless it is made available for the public to use during the term of the three year licence.
Civil marriages can not be conducted anywhere with current or recent religious connections, for example: you can't get a grant of approval for a chapel in a stately home.
Civil partnerships can be conducted on religious premises approved for this purpose. Any application for a grant of approval must be subject to the consent of the faith group's governing body.
How to apply or renew your venue licence
You should apply and pay online to licence your venue for a civil ceremony.
A licence is valid for three years and you should apply to renew within the remaining 12 months of the original licence.
You will be required to upload the following documents when completing your online application:
- Planning certificate (if appropriate.)
- A plan of the building indicating the proposed ceremony room(s) and interview rooms.
- Seating plan for each room to show maximum number of people permitted seated theatre style, in line with the risk assessment of the building.
- List of names and address of company directors (if applicable).
- Confirmation of Public Liability Insurance.
Upon receipt of your application and the fee, we will respond to you within 28 working days and arrange to carry out an inspection of the premises. The whole process takes between six and eight weeks to complete.
Fees 1 April 2023 to 31 March 2024
- Standard fee for licence which includes one room: £2205. The fee covers administration, inspection and cost of public notice.
- Cost for each additional room licensed: £273. Since 1 April 2023 we have been charging for all linked outdoor areas, which replaces the licensing of an outdoor structure. Please include all indoor and outdoor areas you require licensing when calculating the number of rooms on your licence. This fee should be submitted with the application form.
- Appeal and review fee (non refundable): £510. In the event of a licence application rejection or subsequent revocation.
Amendments to a licence
Should you wish to make changes to the licence once it has been issued, for example, a change of ownership or change of venue name, there will be an administration fee of £57 including VAT.
Please note that additional rooms or outdoor areas cannot be added to a licence after it has been issued. Should you wish to add additional licensed areas, you will be required to submit a new application and pay the full application fee.
- Before a licence can be granted, your application plan will be available for public inspection and the premises to be licensed will be advertised on the Surrey County Council website to allow for any objections. Objections must be received in writing by the local authority within 21 days of the notice of application appearing on our website. Any objections will be considered as soon as practicable after receipt
- You should contact us via telephone or email: email@example.com, if there are any changes to your existing licence circumstances
- Any complaints should be immediately directed to the Proper Officer for Registration. Should you not receive a response and you are located in the UK, Citizens Advice Bureau will give you advice. From outside the UK contact the UK European Consumer Centre
- Please read our terms and conditions for granting a licence.
- A summary of the regulations relating to this licence can be found on the Legislation.gov.uk website as follows: Marriages and Civil Partnership (Approved Premises) Regulations 2005.
If a licence is not to be granted the applicant will be notified in writing and the reasons for reaching the decision will be given.
Making an appeal
If you wish to appeal against a decision not to licence your premise, you must do so in writing to the Proper Officer for Registration within two weeks of the licensee's decision not to grant the licence.
The address to write to is: The Proper Officer for Registration, Venue Licensing, The Mansion, 70 Church Street, Leatherhead, Surrey KT22 8DP.
A further fee will be charged for any appeal made.