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Register a marriage venue

Register a marriage venue

You must have a civil marriage or civil partnership venue licence if you want to hold:

  • civil marriage and/or civil partnership ceremonies in a non-religious venue; or
  • civil partnership ceremonies in a religious venue

Find out more about:

The main requirements for registering a venue

The built venue must be a permanent immovable structure comprising at least 1 room, or any boat or other vessel which is permanently moored.

The venue must be in keeping with the solemnity and dignity of the marriage or civil partnership ceremony.

The premises must not be religious premises.

The rooms(s) or area(s) where ceremonies take place must be identifiable and accessible. This is because the public must have unrestricted access to witness the marriage or civil partnership and/or make an objection prior to or during the ceremony.

Within the venue, individual rooms or areas are licensed. Ceremonies may only take place within the rooms listed on the licence. We allow up to 10 rooms that can be approved, however full details must be included in the application.

Contact us if you're interested in:

  • advice on hosting marriages and civil partnerships
  • arranging an informal visit to check the suitability of your venue, at no cost
  • registering your premises as an approved venue for marriage and civil partnership ceremonies

Once you've registered with us, our experienced registrars can come to perform ceremonies at your venue.

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Applying to 'register a venue' for marriages and civil partnerships

Before submitting your application refer to our marriage venue application guidance; you may also arrange an initial visit to discuss the arrangements and commitment required.

Depending on the type of venue you may need to consult other departments within the council prior to making your application. For example, speak to the City of York Council Planning Team to obtain planning permission or the Licensing Team for specific licences.

The application must be made by the proprietor or trustee of the venue. If you're applying to hold civil partnership ceremonies in a religious building, we may require the consent of the governing authority.

You'll need to pay the relevant fee, which can be paid:

  • over the phone by card after you've submitted your application
  • by invoice, issued on request
  • by cheque if returning documents by post (made payable to the City of York Council)

Along with the completed Venue Licence Application, there is also documentation required as part of the application and the fee; please carefully read the approved marriage venue application guidance, as we may not be able to process your application if documents are missing.

Once we've got your application and the fee has been paid, we'll contact you and arrange for the necessary inspections to be carried out:

  • Ceremonies Operations Manager Inspection
  • Local Fire Authority Inspection

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The ceremonies covered by the licence

The licence covers holding a civil marriage and/or the registration of a civil partnership.

For non-religious venues, the licence does not cover holding religious ceremonies on your premises. Your licence could be cancelled if you hold religious ceremonies on a part of the premises approved for civil marriages or civil partnerships.

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Areas that can be licenced

The venue must be in good repair and a permanent structure. You can also apply to have the grounds of the venue licenced to hold ceremonies in the open air or a temporary structure such as a marquee.

You should consider whether there are any factors that could interrupt or disturb the ceremony. For example, noise from passers-by or traffic.

In addition, where the use of such structures is weather dependent, an alternative (non-weather dependent) room must be available and licenced for ceremonies.

Where the guests are not covered by the structure or terrace, or is not fully enclosed, the holding of the ceremony would be weather dependent and therefore only available from 1 May to 31 September.

In addition to the ceremony room a further separate room or area must be available for a confidential interview with the couple before the ceremony.

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Overview of the licencing procedure

The licence procedure is straightforward:

  1. Once we have received your completed application form including all relevant documentation, we will arrange for an advert to be placed on our website
  2. You must also display a notice for 21 clear days
  3. We will consult with the Fire Service
  4. Staff from the local office may visit you to inspect the rooms and they will also be able to offer practical advice to you
  5. At the end of the public consultation period, we will consider any objections
  6. If approved, we will send you your licence. We will also add your details to the public register on our website

Rooms added at a later date will require a further application and payment of a new licence fee.

You should also give consideration as to whether you wish to add an outdoor area to your licence.

The venue must have a person appointed as the responsible person. This person is the main link between the venue and ourselves. They will need to be present before, during and after the ceremony to assist the registrars with any issues that may arise.

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Documentation required as part of the application

You will need to provide:

  • a completed application form, signed and dated
  • set of plans of the premises showing all the room/s in which it is intended that marriages or civil partnerships will take place
  • a copy of the current fire risk assessment
  • a copy of the current public liability insurance
  • copies of other licences

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Changes to the licence

We require immediate notification of any of the following changes:

  • the layout of the premises, as shown in the plan submitted with the approved application, or in the use of the premises
  • the name or full address of the approved premises
  • the description of the room or rooms in which the proceedings are to take place
  • the name and address of the holder of the approval; or the name, address or qualification of the responsible person

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Renewing a licence

The holder may apply for the renewal of an approval when the current approval has 12 months to run. An application for renewal made in this period will extend the current approval until the application has been finally dealt with. Any renewal will run from the expiry date of the current approval.

We will contact approved premises within 3 to 6 months of the expiry of their licence to remind them of the expiry date and the renewal procedure.

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Marriage and civil partnership venue directory

All approved venues are featured in our marriage and civil partnership venue directory, which provides details of all venues for civil marriage in York, including:

  • location maps
  • contact details
  • links to venue websites, where available
  • photographs, where available

See a map of existing approved marriage venues in the York area.

Once approved, licences for marriage venues are valid for 3 years.

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Current marriage and civil partnership venue applications

All applications are subject to a 21-day consultation period, before approvals can be granted.

View a list of current marriage venue registration applications for the York area.

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