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What to expect on the day of your ceremony

What to expect on the day of your ceremony

Our staff will ensure that you know what will happen on your ceremony day. You may find this information helpful for you and your guests, so you know what to expect on the day.

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Ceremony arrival time

Before the ceremony begins the registrar must check all the details which will be recorded on the civil schedule.

If your ceremony is taking place in our Bootham Suite, please arrive 15 minutes before your ceremony time so we can interview you. If you’re being seen separately, please stagger your arrivals; we would recommend one of you arrives 20 minutes before and the other 10 minutes before.

If your ceremony is taking place at one of our other venues, please arrive 30 minutes before your ceremony time so we can interview you. If you’re being seen separately, please speak to your ceremony coordinator at the venue to confirm how you should stagger your arrivals.

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You do not need to bring ID with you on the day of your ceremony. The registrar will ask you to confirm details that you provided during your notice appointment. However, if you have changed your name since giving notice, please contact us as we’ll need to see proof of the change of name. To contact the register office, please email:

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Length of the ceremony

The ceremony will last between 15 and 25 minutes depending on your choices for the ceremony.

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Giving away the bride or groom

We have an aisle so that one of the wedding party can be escorted into the Bootham Suite.

If your ceremony is taking place in one of our licensed venues, please speak to the ceremony co-ordinator at the venue.

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Guests attending the premises

Everyone is included in your guest numbers except the couple, 1 professional photographer, those working at the venue and babies who are being held.

Additional guests cannot be invited to congregate outside of the building or in our gardens for the duration of the ceremony or afterwards to congratulate you. This is to prevent people gathering and congregating together and to ensure that the entrance to the building is free for people to enter and exit safely.

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The use of confetti

You're more than welcome to use biodegradable confetti in our garden. However, if you're getting married at an approved venue you will need to check with your wedding coordinator.

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Readings and music

Due to legal constraints, we're not able to allow any religious readings or music during a civil ceremony.

You can select up to 2 readings or poems as part of your ceremony. You must include a copy of each reading when you return your ceremony planner.

You’ll be asked to provide a playlist (when you complete your ceremony planner) regardless of your venue so that we can ensure your music choices are suitable.

If you do not want to select music and your ceremony is at our Bootham Suite you can request that we can play suitable music when you are signing the legal documents.

Speak to your venue about music arrangements if your ceremony is not at our Bootham office.

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Photo opportunities will be limited to those taken by guests or a photographer from their seats. We're unable to provide photo opportunities with an additional register. If your ceremony is in our Bootham Suite, you can have up to 20 minutes in our gardens to take photos if you wish.

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Using a translator

If you require the use of a translator, they're required to sign the register as a witness to the marriage and must be included in the maximum number of persons who can attend your ceremony.

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Parking at the Register Office

We do not have any parking facilities at our office. There are 2 car parks nearby (Marygate and Bootham Row). Please make your guests aware of this.

The traffic can be very busy in York. It can be a challenge to find car parking spaces as there are public events being held in York throughout the year. Please bear this in mind and allow time to arrive and park.

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