Marriage and civil partnership ceremonies during the coronavirus outbreak

Coronavirus: Important information

We are experiencing a very high volume of enquiries, we recommend that you continue to check our web pages, which will be updated with the latest information. It may take up to 10 working days to respond to enquiries.

We are prioritising enquiries for couples who have ceremonies booked within the next month, as well as those who are checking dates to reschedule with their venues.

We kindly request that you do not send more than one email, as this will impact on our ability to respond to your enquiry.

Your wedding or civil partnership is personal to you and we know you will have been planning and looking forward to sharing your big day with loved ones for some time.

The coronavirus pandemic has changed weddings and ceremonies, with many being postponed and couples waiting for a time when more guests can attend and celebrate with them.

While most legal restrictions have been lifted, caution is still being urged, which will reflect on how we conduct ceremonies.

From 19 July 2021 there is no legal limit on attendee numbers or social distancing requirements, other than capacity limits of venues and their risk assessment for safety. However, couples should remember that this does not guarantee that restrictions may not be imposed again, either at local or national level at short notice, dependent on the course of the pandemic.

If social distancing measures are reintroduced this will affect how many guests you are allowed.


Register office ceremonies

Civil marriages and civil partnerships will be available in the approved ceremony rooms within the Surrey Register Office buildings. It will not be possible to hold an outdoor ceremony in the grounds of the Register Office building.

While Monday 19 July 2021 has seen the removal of social distancing requirements from legislation, we are keen to continue to ensure that public health recommended precautions are maintained. This will provide the safest possible environment for our staff and customers.

As part of our enduring approach, Surrey Registration Service will be putting the following measures in place:

  • We know that the virus continues to circulate and do hope that you stay healthy and well. However, if you do contract the virus and test positive ahead of your ceremony, we'd urge you to contact us immediately. We can then work with you to rearrange your ceremony (subject to availability) once you have recovered.
  • We will aim to keep windows open to encourage air flow as ventilation remains a recommendation to prevent virus transmission
  • Register Office ceremonies will be restricted to the couple and the maximum number of guests, which includes children and babies, that can be safely accommodated within the building and ceremony room. The maximum number of guests must include your witnesses and interpreter, if required. The maximum number of attendees in the Register Office is based on our COVID Risk Assessment.
  • Additional guests will not be permitted to enter any part of the Register Office building. Any attempt to exceed the number of guests will mean that your ceremony will not take place, as this will pose an increased risk to other users of the Register Office site.
  • We will wipe down all surfaces and touch points before every ceremony.
  • Hand sanitiser will continue to be available at our offices and we recommend that you and your guests use it when entering the building.
  • Protective screening will be in place between the registrars and the couple/guests.
  • Biodegradable confetti only, can be thrown outside the Register Office building.
  • The marriage or civil partnership certificate will be posted to the couple after the ceremony within seven working days.

Attendance at marriages and civil partnerships taking place at a register office on or after 19 July 2021

While Monday 19 July 2021 has seen the removal of social distancing requirements from legislation, we are keen to continue to ensure that public health recommended precautions are maintained. This will provide the safest possible environment for our staff and customers.

Register Office ceremonies will be limited to the couple and the maximum number of guests, which includes children and babies, that can be safely accommodated within the building and ceremony room. The maximum number of guests must include your witnesses and interpreter, if required. The maximum number of attendees in the Register Office is based on our COVID Risk Assessment.

The ceremony can be attended by the couple and:

  • 48 guest Guildford Register Office (including babies & children)
  • 44 guests at Leatherhead Register Office (including babies & children)
  • 40 guests at Weybridge Register Office (including babies & children)

As part of our enduring approach, Surrey Registration Service will be putting the following measures in place:

  • We know that the virus continues to circulate and do hope that you stay healthy and well. However, if you do contract the virus and test positive ahead of your ceremony, we'd urge you to contact us immediately. We can then work with you to rearrange your ceremony (subject to availability) once you have recovered.
  • We will aim to keep windows open to encourage air flow as ventilation remains a recommendation to prevent virus transmission
  • Register Office ceremonies will be limited to the couple and the maximum number of guests, which includes children and babies, that can be safely accommodated within the building and ceremony room. The maximum number of guests must include your witnesses and interpreter, if required. The maximum number of attendees in the Register Office is based on our COVID Risk Assessment.
  • Additional guests will not be permitted to enter any part of the Register Office building. Any attempt to exceed the number of guests will mean that your ceremony will not take place, as this will pose an increased risk to other users of the Register Office site.
  • We will wipe down all surfaces and touch points before every ceremony.
  • You and your guests will be asked to use hand sanitiser when entering the building.
  • Guests will be invited into the building 15 minutes before the ceremony is due to start and will be directed straight to the ceremony room.
  • Although it is no longer a legal requirement, we recommend that face coverings are worn when visiting the Register Office buildings. Your guests may also choose to do so during the ceremony to protect each other, particularly if you are inviting the maximum number of guests.
  • Registration staff will be wearing a face covering in the communal areas of the building but will not wear a face covering during the ceremony.
  • To minimise the risk to Registration staff, protective screens will be in place in the ceremony rooms
  • We ask that you respect the registrar's personal workspace and continue to maintain a distance of one metre during the ceremony. Registrars are key to our ability to deliver ceremonies and it is essential that they remain healthy and well, alongside feeling safe and confident to carry out their duties.
  • The bride / partner / couple can be accompanied into the ceremony room by a family member or friend, as well as any bridesmaids or attendants.
  • You will have three ceremony scripts to choose from, and as well as choosing your legal vows, you may also include personal vows, if you wish.
  • You can choose your own music to be played at key moments during the ceremony.
  • You can include up to two readings which must not contain any religious content. Each reading can be read by someone of your choice. It will not be possible for the Registrar to read these for you.
  • If you are choosing to exchange rings, you can ask a ring bearer to present these during the ceremony.
  • Your photographer is welcome to join you in the ceremony room.
  • After the ceremony, you and your guests will be shown to the garden, where you are welcome to take further photographs.
  • Biodegradable confetti only, can be thrown outside the building.
  • Your marriage / civil partnership certificate will be posted to you after the ceremony within 7 working days.

Ceremonies at licensed venues permitted to open

Civil marriages and civil partnerships can be held at Approved Premises wedding venue permitted to open in the room(s) within the built premises which are approved and also at linked outdoor areas within the boundaries of the land on which the built premises stand, provided that certain conditions are met.

Approved Premises wedding venues will need to consult, in advance, with Surrey Registration Service before arranging any ceremonies in the linked outdoor area, to obtain prior confirmation that the outdoor location fulfils the legal requirement to be seemly and dignified and that all health and safety requirements can be met.

In the event of wet or inclement weather, wedding venues are required to provide a wet weather option, which can accommodate all guests, so that the ceremony can proceed on time, without any delays to move the ceremony indoors or to a covered, dry area. Please consult your venue directly to find out if they will be able to offer an outdoor ceremony. Venues will be under no obligation to offer outdoor ceremonies if they do not wish to do so.

It will not be possible to hold an outdoor ceremony at a location that does not hold an approved premises licence.

Surrey Registration Service will be putting the following measures in place:

  • All individuals involved in the ceremony (including attendees, guests and photographers etc.) should be signposted to the current government guidance. They or members of their household must not attend the marriage or civil partnership if they are unwell with symptoms of COVID-19. If either member of the couple have symptoms of COVID-19 the ceremony should not go ahead.
  • Guests must wear face coverings inside the ceremony room. Guests are not required to wear face coverings for ceremonies that take place outdoors.
  • Adherence to social distancing of one metre is strongly advised.
  • It is advised that the ceremony should be concluded in a reasonable time, so no more than one reading can be included in the ceremony. At this time, readings should be carried out by the reader from where he/she is sitting.
  • Rings can be exchanged by the couple during the ceremony.
  • Please check with your venue whether they permit confetti to be thrown after the ceremony.
  • The marriage or civil partnership certificate will be posted to the couple after the ceremony within seven working days.

Attendance at marriages and civil partnerships taking place at a Licensed Venue on or after 19 July 2021

While Monday 19 July 2021 has seen the removal of social distancing requirements from legislation, we are keen to continue to ensure that public health recommended precautions are maintained. This will provide the safest possible environment for our staff and customers.

The number of people who can attend weddings in a COVID-Secure venue will be determined by how many people a venue can safely accommodate, including guests of all ages and anyone working at the event.

As part of our enduring approach, Surrey Registration Service will be putting the following measures in place:

  • We know that the virus continues to circulate and do hope that you stay healthy and well. However, if you do contract the virus and test positive ahead of your ceremony, we'd urge you to contact us immediately. We can then work with you to rearrange your ceremony (subject to availability) once you have recovered.
  • Ceremonies will be limited to the couple and the maximum number of guests, which includes children and babies, that can be safely accommodated within the building and ceremony room. The maximum number of guests must include your witnesses and interpreter, if required. The maximum number of attendees is based on your venues risk assessment.
  • Although it is no longer a legal requirement, we recommend that face coverings are worn in the ceremony room buildings. Your guests may also choose to do so during the ceremony to protect each other, particularly if you are inviting the maximum number of guests.
  • We ask that you respect the registrar's personal workspace and continue to maintain a distance of two metres during the ceremony. Registrars are key to our ability to deliver ceremonies and it is essential that they remain healthy and well, alongside feeling safe and confident to carry out their duties.
  • The bridal party can make making a formal entrance into the ceremony room.
  • You will have three ceremony scripts to choose from, and as well as choosing your legal vows, you may also include personal vows, if you wish.
  • You can choose your own music to be played at key moments during the ceremony.
  • You can include up to two readings which must not contain any religious content. Each reading can be read by someone of your choice. It will not be possible for the Registrar to read these for you.
  • If you are choosing to exchange rings, you can ask a ring bearer to present these during the ceremony.
  • Your photographer is welcome to join you in the ceremony room.
  • Food and drink must not be served in the ceremony room for one hour before and during the ceremony.
  • Please check with your venue, whether they are able to hold outdoor ceremonies.

How to book a ceremony

We are now accepting requests for a new ceremony booking and we currently have availability for new marriage or civil partnership bookings . Please note that it may take up to ten working days to respond to your new booking enquiry.

To book a ceremony, please make sure you have first read the relevant guidance above about ceremonies at either a register office or licenced venue and when you are ready to proceed, please visit the guide to booking your marriage or civil partnership ceremony to book your ceremony.

Postponing your booking

If you wish to postpone your booking, please send an email as soon as possible before your ceremony with the following information to: registration.ceremonies@surreycc.gov.uk and a member of our team will contact you within six working days to reschedule your booking.

  • Your and your partner's names
  • Date of your ceremony
  • Time of your ceremony
  • New date you wish to move to

Postponements will be subject to our standard terms and conditions and an amendment fee will apply.

Important note: We are currently dealing with a high volume of enquiries and it may take up to six working days to respond to your enquiry. Please only submit your enquiry once, as multiple requests will delay our response.


Do you need to give notice again if you are postponing your booking?

There has been no change in legislation to allow the validity of the notice period to be extended. If you have already given your notice of marriage or civil partnership, your notice will be valid for a period of 12 months only from the date you gave notice.

If you reschedule your marriage or civil partnership to more than 12 months after the date on which you originally gave notice, you will be required to give notice again. If you have chosen to move your ceremony to another venue, you will also be required to give notice again.

The Surrey Registration Service will waive the notice fee on one occasion, if your notice has expired and you were not able to go ahead with your ceremony due to coronavirus and you therefore need to give notice again.


Cancelling your booking

If you wish to cancel your booking, please send an email with the following information to registration.ceremonies@surreycc.gov.uk and a member of our team will contact you within 10 working days.

  • Your and your partner's names
  • Date of your ceremony
  • Time of your ceremony
  • Cancellations will be subject to our standard terms and conditions and the cancellation policy will apply.

Our message to you

We appreciate that a great deal of planning goes into a ceremony day, and we remain committed to doing all we can to make your day special and meaningful.

Thank you for your understanding and continued patience and we look forward to helping you celebrate your special day.