Marriage and civil partnership ceremonies during the coronavirus outbreak

Coronavirus: Important information

Further to the Prime Minister's announcement of 22 February 2021, marriage and civil partnership ceremonies cannot take place before 29 March 2021, except in exceptional circumstances, for example where one of those getting married is seriously ill and not expected to recover ('deathbed wedding') or due to undergo debilitating treatment or life-changing surgery. These exceptional circumstance weddings are limited to six people.

If your ceremony cannot take place, we will contact you to advise what options are available. Due to the current volume of enquiries, it may take up to 10 working days to contact you.

Important notice regarding bookings

We are currently dealing with an extremely high volume of enquiries and we aim to respond within six working days.

If your enquiry is regarding a new booking we aim to respond within 10 working days.

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.

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.


Current national restrictions remain in place until 28 March 2021 when marriages and civil partnerships cannot take place, except in exceptional circumstances, for example where one of those getting married is seriously ill and not expected to recover ('deathbed wedding') or due to undergo debilitating treatment or life-changing surgery. These exceptional circumstance ceremonies are limited to six people.

From 29 March 2021, Marriages and Civil Partnerships can take place with a legal limit of six attendees (this maximum number includes the couple, witnesses and guests but does not include those working, such as registration officials, venue managers or photographers etc.) Marriages and civil partnerships are subject to social distancing.

Register office ceremonies

For marriages and civil partnerships taking place between 29 March 2021 and 11 April 2021, Surrey Registration Service will be putting the following measures in place:

  • All individuals involved in the ceremony (including attendees, guests and photographers etc.) must adhere to social distancing guidelines. 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
  • Four guests at Artington House, Guildford
  • Four 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

For marriages and civil partnerships taking place between 29 March 2021 and 11 April 2021, Surrey Registration Service will be putting the following measures in place:

  • All individuals involved in the ceremony (including attendees, guests and photographers etc.) must adhere to social distancing guidelines. 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 6 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.
  • This maximum number includes the couple and up to 4 guests. It does not include anybody working at the ceremony, such as the two registrars and photographer. When considering maximum numbers, please remember that there must be enough space in the room for everybody present, including those that are working in the ceremony room, to adhere to social distancing guidelines. Please check with your venue about their maximum capacity
  • 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 . 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 between 24 March 2020 – 31 March 2021 and you wish to postpone your booking, we would be happy to reschedule your marriage or civil partnership booking and we will waive the amendment fee for ceremony changes in these circumstances.

Please note that from 1 April 2021, we will revert to our standard terms and conditions. Any requests received from 1 April 2021 to reschedule a ceremony will be subject to the standard amendment fee.


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 marriage or civil partnership booked between 24 March 2020 and 31 March 2021 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

Please note that from 1 April 2021, we will revert to our standard terms and conditions. Any requests received from 1 April 2021 to cancel a marriage or civil partnership will be subject to the standard cancellation policy.

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.


Future planned easements for marriages and civil partnerships from 12 April 2021

The government has set out the following further steps to ease restrictions for marriages and civil partnerships:

  • Step 2: No earlier than 12 April – Marriages and Civil Partnerships with a legal limit of 15 attendees (including couple, witnesses and guests)
  • Step 3: No earlier than 17 May – Marriages and Civil Partnerships with a legal limit of 30 attendees (including couple, witnesses and guests)
  • Step 4: No earlier than 21 June – Marriages and Civil Partnerships with No legal limit on attendees (subject to the outcome of the scientific Events Research Programme)