Personalising your ceremony

Personalising your ceremony - Marriage & Civil Partnership

Last updated 24 August 2023


Hartlepool Registration Service takes pride in working with couples to make their ceremony as unique as they are.

Couples getting married or forming a civil partnership in the Middlegate Room or at an approved premises are able to personalise their ceremony using our 'Ceremony choices' form. The link to the ceremony choices form is emailed to the couple one month prior to their ceremony.


While planning your ceremony you may wish to consider....


‘Unplugged’ ceremony / social media

Many couples are now ask that their guests do not take photographs during their ceremony but instead leave it to the professional / appointed photographer. Other couples allow their guests to take photographs but request that they are not put on social media for a time. If you would like either of these options the registrar can make an announcement before your ceremony begins; you may also wish to include this information on your ceremony invites.



Music is a great way to personalise your ceremony. There are four key points throughout the ceremony where music could be used;

  • As your guests are assembling
  • Your entrance
  • During the signing of the register and photographs
  • Your exit

The music used in your ceremony can be entirely your choice however, as it is a civil ceremony religious music, such as hymns, cannot be played.

If you are using recorded music we recommend the music is added to a dedicated playlist and downloaded to a smart device i.e. phone or tablet. The registrar will provide a speaker that the device will need to be connect to via Bluetooth. You will need to designate the role of controlling the music to someone from your ceremony party.

If you would like live music at your ceremony please check with your venue about the space available and the use of amplifiers etc.

If you do not provide music the registrar will play classical music.



Promises are a great way to incorporate values that have particular significance to you as a couple. Your ceremony choices form includes 3 options or you can choose to write your own.

As your ceremony is a civil ceremony no religious wording, including vows from other religious ceremonies, can be included.



Readings are an ideal way to include friends or family in your ceremony. A reading could be a poem, a passage from a book or song lyrics. You could even have someone write a piece just for you. Whether is funny, serious, poetic or classic, a reading always adds something personal to your ceremony and we encourage you to consider including one.

As your ceremony is a civil ceremony no religious readings can be included. Examples of readings can be found online by searching ‘Reading for civil ceremony’.