Marriage and civil partnership ceremonies during the coronavirus outbreak

We are currently dealing with a high volume of ceremony enquiries. We aim to respond to ceremony amendment requests within six working days and new ceremony bookings within ten working days.


Notice of Marriage or Civil Partnership: If you have a marriage or civil partnership booked to take place in the next three months and you are a Surrey resident, you can book your notice appointment at Guildford, Leatherhead or Weybridge Register Offices.


Marriages and civil partnerships are a vital part of our society, uniting couples to start their new life together and affording certain legal rights. However, by their very nature, in bringing families and friends together, they are particularly vulnerable to the spread of COVID-19.

The government have issued guidance for marriages and civil partnerships which remains under review and may be updated in line with the changing situation.

Surrey Registration Service will be working to government guidelines and will be putting the following measures in place for marriages and civil partnerships.

Register office ceremonies

  • All individuals involved in the ceremony (including attendees, guests and photographers etc.) should be signposted to the current stay alert and social distancing guidance and that they or members of their household should 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.
  • The number of attendees should ideally be kept to a minimum as far as possible. The lower the number of attendees, the lower the risk of spreading the virus.
  • Register Office ceremonies will be restricted to the couple and the maximum number of guests that can be socially distanced safely within the building and ceremony room. The maximum number of guests must include your witnesses and interpreter, if required.
  • Capacity at Register Office ceremony rooms will be restricted to the couple and:
  • Four guests at Rylston, Weybridge
  • Six guests at Artington House, Guildford
  • Six guests at the Mansion, Leatherhead
  • Additional guests will not be permitted to enter any part of the Register Office building, grounds or gardens. 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.
  • Seating in the ceremony room will be spaced at a safe social distance and it will not be possible to alter the position of any furniture.
  • Protective screening will be in place between the registrars and the couple/guests.
  • It is advised that ceremonies should be concluded in the shortest reasonable time and limited as far as reasonably possible to the parts of the marriage or civil partnership that are required in order to be legally binding under the law of England and Wales. It will not be possible to include readings or poetry as part of the ceremony.
  • The pre-ceremony interview will be held with the couple in the ceremony room. It will not be possible to hold the interviews separately.
  • Guests must wear face coverings inside the Register Office building.
  • Your guests will be asked to wait outside until the interviews have been completed and they will then be invited to join you in the ceremony room. This means you won't be able to make a formal entrance into the room.
  • Where the exchanging of rings is required, hands should be washed before and after or hand sanitiser should be used. The rings should be handled by as few people as possible, so we will require the couple to have their own rings.
  • One photographer will be able to enter the room at the end of the ceremony only.
  • It will not be possible to throw confetti
  • The marriage or civil partnership certificate will be posted to the couple after the ceremony within seven working days.

Ceremonies at licensed venues

  • All individuals involved in the ceremony (including attendees, guests and photographers etc.) should be signposted to the current stay alert and social distancing guidance and that they or members of their household should 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.
  • The number of attendees should ideally be kept to a minimum as far as possible. The lower the number of attendees, the lower the risk of spreading the virus.
  • Up to 15 people, but no more, can attend a marriage or civil partnership, where this can be safely accommodated with social distancing in a COVID-19 secure venue. Please check with your venue about their maximum capacity.
  • This maximum number includes all those at the ceremony, including the couple, witnesses, two registrars and guests. It also includes any staff who are not employed by the venue, which may include photographers, security or caterers. It does not include staff employed by the venue.
  • Guests must wear face coverings inside the Register Office building.
  • Strict adherence to social distancing is strongly advised. A distance of two metres should be kept wherever possible.
  • For those venues with an outdoor structure licensed, it will only be possible to hold the ceremony in the structure if it is large enough for the couple, the two registrars and the two witnesses (six people) to be socially distanced within the structure.
  • It is advised that the ceremonies should be concluded in the shortest reasonable time and limited as far as reasonably possible to the parts of the marriage or civil partnership that are required in order to be legally binding under the law of England and Wales. It will not be possible to include readings or poetry as part of the ceremony.
  • Where the exchanging of rings is required, hands should be washed before and after or hand sanitiser should be used. The rings should be handled by as few people as possible, so we will require the couple to have their own rings.
  • It will not be possible to throw confetti
  • The marriage or civil partnership certificate will be posted to the couple after the ceremony within five working days.

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 to take place from September 2020 onwards. 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 have a ceremony booked in 2020 and you wish to postpone your booking, we would be happy to reschedule your marriage or civil partnership booking and we will waive the admin fee for ceremony changes in these circumstances.


Important note: We are currently dealing with a high volume of ceremony amendments 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.

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

If you do not wish to postpone your ceremony

You do not need to contact us to confirm this.

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 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 have a ceremony booked between 24 March – 31 December 2020 and you wish to cancel your booking, we can offer you a full refund.

As you will appreciate, we are receiving a high number of calls at the moment, so 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

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.