Marriages and civil partnerships

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Marriages and Civil Partnerships

If you are interested in holding your marriage or civil partnership ceremony in Peterborough, we hope that the information below will be of help. You may also need to contact us about the legal formalities if your ceremony is taking place elsewhere, but you live in our district. Your ceremony is important to us and we want to make it special for you.

There are several ways that a couple can enter into a legal relationship with one another:

Marriages can be entered into by opposite sex and same sex couples in a register office, civil premise (i.e. a hotel or similar venue) or religious building which has been licensed for this purpose.

Civil partnerships are for same sex couples who wish to enter into a legal partnership with each other, and will usually take place in a register office or civil premise. This is often done as part of a civil partnership ceremony, but it is possible to form a civil partnership without a ceremony.

It is also possible to convert a civil partnership to a marriage.

When planning your ceremony, there are two areas that you need to think about.  Firstly, booking the venue and the registrars for the ceremony. Secondly, completing the legal formalities – this is known as ‘giving notice’ of your intention to marry.

Booking your ceremony

When it comes to booking the ceremony, you must make sure that the venue is licensed for marriages, that it will be available to host the ceremony and that the registrars will be available to take the ceremony on the date and time you have chosen.

With regard to the venue, you will need to contact them yourself to check their availability and to make a booking. A list of the civil premises licensed for legal ceremonies in the Peterborough district is given below. If the ceremony is to be held at Peterborough Register Office, you will need to contact us.

With regard to booking the registrars to take the ceremony, you will need to contact us if your ceremony is at any civil premise in the Peterborough district. In some cases registrars may be required for ceremonies at religious buildings if there is no-one at that building who is authorised to conduct legal ceremonies – please let us know if you have any queries about this.

You can make a provisional booking with us up to a year in advance – the further ahead that you contact us to make your booking, the greater the choice of dates and times. You will have a lot less choice if you contact us at the last minute. However, we cannot take bookings more than a year ahead.

After you have booked the venue and the registrars, you will also need to arrange to give notice of your intention to marry or to form a civil partnership. This is a legal requirement, and unless notice is given correctly, the marriage or civil partnership will not be able to go ahead. More information on giving notice is given in the next section, so please read this carefully.

If you plan to hold your ceremony in another district, you will need to contact the venue and registrars in that district. However, if you live in Peterborough, you may still need to see us to give notice.

If you are a British or commonwealth national and plan to hold your ceremony in another country, you may also need to give notice. If this is your intention, please contact us as soon as possible.

Giving notice

‘Giving notice’ of your intention to marry is the legal procedure that must be completed before a legal marriage or civil partnership can take place. This procedure applies to all legal ceremonies held at a register office or civil premise (i.e. a hotel or similar venue). It also applies to religious ceremonies for most faiths other than the Church of England and, if one party is not an EEA national, the Church of England too. The requirements for giving notice vary depending on your nationality and immigration status. Please note that in the information below, Swiss nationals are treated in the same way as British and other EEA nationals.

To give notice, you will need to make an appointment at the relevant register office and pay a booking fee towards that notice appointment. At the appointment you will need to bring in certain documents and you will be asked to confirm your details and your partner’s details. Notice of your intention to marry would then be displayed at the register office for a period of 28 clear days, or in some cases for 70 clear days, and then at the end of this notice period the documents allowing the ceremony to proceed will be issued.

This means that notice must always be given a minimum of 28 clear days before the date of the ceremony. However, if either you or your partner are not a British or other EEA national, and cannot provide evidence of holding either settled status, permanent residence status, a marriage or fiancé visa, or exemption from immigration control, your details will have to be referred to the Home Office. If the Home Office feel that they have grounds to suspect a sham marriage or civil partnership and wish to investigate this, they can extend the period between giving notice and the earliest date for the ceremony to 70 clear days.

Regardless of your nationality, if either of you have been married before in another country, acceptable evidence of the end of that marriage may need to be referred to General Register Office for approval. This can take several weeks and, until approval is received, your ceremony will not be able to go ahead.

Finally, please bear in mind that appointments to give notice may not be available straight away. However, notice of marriage or civil partnership can be given up to 12 months before the date of the ceremony, so it is better to give notice sooner rather than later and to avoid your ceremony being delayed.  

If both of you are British or EEA nationals, you must give notice in the district in which you live.  If you both live in different districts you would then need to your notices separately, each in the district where you live. This is also the case if the ceremony itself will be in a different district – it is the district you live in that decides where you must give notice. A way to confirm the district that you live in is to identify who you pay your council tax to. Please note that Peterborough and Cambridgeshire are different districts.

If either one of you is not a British or EEA national, you can both give notice at any designated register office in England or Wales, regardless of which district you live in. You must both come to the same appointment together. A full list of designated register offices can be found on the government website – this includes Peterborough Register Office. 

For members of visiting armed forces, or those with right of abode, the rules can be a little different – please contact us.

If you need to give notice at Peterborough Register Office, you must book an appointment with us. When you make your appointment, you will be required to pay a non-refundable booking fee which is subject to the terms and conditions listed below. This booking fee will then be used to cover the cost of giving notice when you come to your appointment.

When you come to your notice appointment you will need to provide:

  • Evidence of your full name, date of birth, and nationality:

    If you are a British national, we can accept a valid passport, a naturalisation certificate, or a birth certificate. If you are using a birth certificate, and were born after 1 January 1983, this must be a full birth certificate showing details of your parents; we will also need your mother’s British birth certificate - if you only have a birth certificate for your father, or your parents were not born in the UK, please contact us. If you were born before 1 January 1983, we just need your own British birth certificate. If you are using a birth certificate and your name has changed since you were born, please bring the document making this change, such as a marriage certificate or change of name deed.

    If you are not British, but are an EEA national, we can accept a valid passport or valid national ID card that clearly states your nationality. 

    If you are a non-EEA national, we can accept a valid passport, a valid Home Office biometric immigration document confirming your nationality, or a valid Home Office travel document confirming your nationality. 

    If you do not have any of these documents, we may not be able to take your notice – please contact us to discuss this. If you are not British we cannot accept birth certificates, and we cannot accept photocopies of documents.
  • Evidence of your immigration status if you are a non-EEA national – such as evidence you have settled status, permanent residence, a marriage or fiancé visa, or are otherwise exempt from immigration control. If you do not have an appropriate immigration status, or do but do not provide acceptable evidence of this, we will be required to refer your details to the Home Office. This may lead to the notice period being extended to 70 days.
  • Passport photos of both of you if either one of you is a non-EEA national and does not have settled status, permanent residence, or exemption from immigration control. This also applies if you have a marriage or fiancé visa, and regardless of the other person’s nationality or immigration status – you both need to bring passport photos.
  • Your decree absolute if you are divorced, or your civil partnership dissolution document, or your spouse or partner’s death certificate. If you are divorced, please note that it is the decree absolute that is required, not the decree nisi or other court document preceding the decree absolute.

    If your name as it is shown on any of these documents is not your current name, please provide documentation linking these names – for example, your marriage certificate or civil partnership schedule. If you are providing a death certificate, and are not named on this, please provide similar evidence linking you to your spouse or partner.
  • Proof of address. We can accept any of the following:
  • a utility bill dated within 3 months of giving notice;
  • a bank or building society statement dated within 1 month of giving notice;
  • a council tax bill or mortgage statement dated within 12 months of giving notice;
  • a current residential tenancy agreement;
  • a valid driving licence.

You must have been living at your address for a clear 7 days before giving notice. Please note that these documents must show your name and current address. If you do not have one of these documents, we may not be able to take your notice – please contact us to discuss this.

  • Confirmation of the specific venue where the ceremony is to be held. If the venue is outside our district, please check the correct name for the venue, or bring confirmation of your booking.  Once you have given notice you cannot change the venue without giving a fresh notice, and paying a new fee.

All documents brought to the notice appointment should be originals or certified copies – we cannot accept photocopies. If any of your documents are not in English, please bring the original and a certified translation. If your name appears differently on different documents, please bring the document that links those names – such as a marriage certificate or change of name deed.

If you have any doubts at all about which documents to bring to your appointment, whether the documents that you have will be acceptable, or any other queries about the legal formalities, we would strongly advise that you contact us to discuss this before your appointment to give notice. If you cannot meet the requirements we may not be able to take your notice – this may mean making a new appointment, paying a new fee, and your ceremony being delayed.

If we will be taking your ceremony, either at Peterborough Register Office or another venue in our district, we ask that you pay the ceremony fee in full at the time of giving notice, or within 28 days of that date. Details of our fees are set out below. We do not take deposits, and cannot accept payment on the day of the ceremony.

If one of you does not speak English well, please bring someone else to translate – a couple cannot translate for one another. 

If you are under 18 years old, please contact us before your appointment for advice.

We would stress that your ceremony cannot go ahead unless all of the legal formalities have been completed.

Finally, please note that the information above is intended as a general guide to the basic legal requirements. It is not exhaustive, and does not cover every situation. When you book your notice appointment, a registrar will discuss your own circumstances, the requirements that will apply to you, and the documents that you will need to provide.

Notice booking fees

The booking fee for a notice of marriage appointment is £35 per person and must be paid in full at the time the appointment is made. However, if either one of you is a non-EEA national without settled status, permanent residence, a marriage or fiancé visa, or exemption from immigration control, you must both pay a fee of £47 each, regardless of the other person’s nationality or immigration status.

Please be aware of the following terms and conditions:

  • The booking fee is non-refundable, so please ensure you can attend on the date booked.
  • When you attend your appointment the booking fee is used towards the cost of your notice, not the cost of the marriage.
  • If you do not attend for your appointment the booking fee will not be returned to you.
  • Appointments can be rescheduled once only and then only providing we are contacted in advance of your appointment.
  • If you need to cancel your appointment completely then 7 days notice must be given in writing or via email or the booking fee will not be returned to you.
  • If you arrive without the correct documents or we are unable to complete the notice appointment then a new appointment will have to be made and the booking fee paid again. All documents provided must be originals – photocopies or scanned copies of documents cannot be accepted. If a document is not in English then a certified translation must be provided.

Ceremonies at the register office

We offer a choice of three ceremony rooms:

  • The Lawns - an elegant ceremony room which seats up to thirty guests, where you are able to include music in your ceremony and add your own readings, as long as neither are religious.
  • The Thorpe Room - which offers a simple and less formal ceremony for up to six guests.
  • The Register Office – this room will accommodate the couple and two witnesses only.

Free car parking is available and there is an old stone archway in the gardens as a setting for photographs following your ceremony. The archway and gardens have been fitted with lighting to enhance photographs on darker days or for ceremonies taking place later in the day on winter afternoons. You are of course welcome to bring a photographer or videographer to capture your ceremony. The building is easily accessible, with all rooms on the ground floor, double doors and facilities for the disabled and there is also a loop hearing system in the Lawns room for the hard of hearing.

Other than assistance dogs, we do not allow animals at ceremonies.

Fees

Ceremonies held at the register office:

Monday Friday and Saturday
The Register Office Room * £46 £46
The Thorpe Room 
(up to 31 March 2018)
£96 £146
The Thorpe Room
(from 1 April 2018 to 31 March 2019)
£106 £156
The Lawns Room
(up to 31 March 2018
£230 £340
The Lawns Room
(from 1 April 2018 to 31 March 2019) 
£240 £360

*The Register Office Room will only be available on Mondays and Fridays at 10.30am for the couple and two witnesses only.

Ceremonies held at a licensed venue:

Monday to Friday Saturday Sunday
1 April 2017 to 31 March 2018 £500 £550 £600
1 April 2018 to 31 March 2019 £525 £600 £650

An optional meeting to discuss final arrangements
prior to a ceremony at a licensed venue

£35

Please note that ceremonies are not held on a bank holiday at any venue. 

Witnesses

For all ceremonies you must have two other people present to witness that you have said the legal vows and to sign the register or civil partnership schedule. These witnesses must be aged 18 years old or over, and must speak and understand English.

Certificates

You can order certificates in advance of the ceremony at £4 each. You can order further certificates after the ceremony, although these will be at a higher fee of £7 or £10 each, depending on when you make your order.

Conversion of civil partnership to marriage

Since December 2014, civil partnership couples now have the opportunity to convert their partnership into a marriage. You will both be required to attend at the register office and provide evidence of your identity, along with your civil partnership certificate. A declaration will be made and signed and a marriage certificate will be issued. 

Alternatively, you may complete the conversion in two stages by providing the declaration as part of a ceremony at a later date. 

For further advice on this process and information on the fees payable please contact the register office.

Licensed venues

Listed below are the venues that are currently licensed in the Peterborough registration district to carry out civil ceremonies for marriage, civil partnership, renewal of vows or baby naming.

Bedford Hall,
Tank Yard,
Station Road,
Thorney,
PE6 0QE
0845 3311466
The Cresset,
Rightwell,
Bretton Centre,
Peterborough,
PE3 8DX
01733 842520
Key Theatre,
Embankment Road,
Peterborough
PE1
 1EF
01733 207237
(Sue Ryder Care Centre)
Thorpe Hall
Longthorpe,
Peterborough
PE3 6LW
01733 225900
The Bull Hotel and Conference Centre,
Westgate,
Peterborough,
PE1 1RB
01733 561364
The Great Northern Railway Hotel
Station Approach,
Peterborough,
PE1 1QL 
01733 552595
Peterborough Marriott Hotel,
Lynch Wood,
Peterborough,
PE2 6GB
01733 371111
The Town Hall,
Bridge Street,
Peterborough,
PE1 1HG
01733 747474
Burghley House,
Stamford,
PE9 3JY
01780 761992
Holiday Inn,
Peterborough West,
Thorpe Wood,
Peterborough,
PE3 6SG
01733 289988
Orton Hall Hotel,
The Village,
Orton Longueville,
Peterborough,
PE2 7DN
01733 391111
The White Hart,
Main Street,
Ufford,Stamford,
PE9 3BH
01780 740250

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Apply to become a licensed venue

Peterborough Registration Service must approve all venues in the Peterborough district hosting marriages or civil partnerships. If you are interested in hosting ceremonies at your venue, you can apply online to become a licensed venue or you can contact customer services or email ask@peterborough.gov.uk.

The process includes:

  • an inspection of the premises by two members of council staff
  • posting of a public notice to determine any objections
  • ensuring the Council’s Planning department have no objections
  • ensuring the local Fire Officer has no objections and, if approved
  • issue of a licence that remains valid for a period of three years.

The fee for applications from 1 April 2017 will be £2700 and from 1 April 2018 it will be £2800. 

An optional pre-inspection visit by council staff for discussion/clarification is available for a one-off fee of £120. A replacement licence will cost £115.

Note: all fees are non-refundable.

Peterborough Ceremonies Guide

Getting a passport in your new name

If you are changing your surname and going abroad immediately after your ceremony, you can apply to the passport service up to three months in advance for a passport in your new name. The passport will be post-dated to the date of the ceremony and will not be valid for use until the ceremony has taken place. 

To apply, you may download the PD2 form from the Gov.uk website or visit any passport office.

Please note: Part 1 of the PD2 form needs to be completed by the Superintendent Registrar who will be performing your ceremony. Please make an appointment with the register office for this to be completed and a fee of £25 is payable. You will then need to complete Part 2 and submit it with your passport application.

Cancellation and amendments

In the event that you need to cancel a ceremony for which you have already paid, you will be required to provide your request in writing to Peterborough register office and it will be subject to the following guidelines:

  • six months or more notice of cancellation - full refund (less a £20 administration fee)
  • three to six months notice of cancellation - 50% refund (less a £20 administration fee)
  • less than three months notice of cancellation (or failure to cancel) - no refund
  • in the event that you need to change the date of your ceremony a £25 administration fee will be payable.
  • in the event that you need to change the time of your ceremony no administration fee will be charged.

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