Ceremony at an approved premise

Last updated 30 December 2020

Tier 4 restrictions

The current full Government guidance can be viewed at www.gov.uk

From 31 December 2020 Hartlepool will be subject to Tier 4 restrictions. While marriage and civil partnership ceremonies can take place under Tier 4 they should only go ahead in exceptional circumstances. Examples of exceptional circumstances are an urgent marriage where one of those getting married is seriously ill and not expected to recover, or is to undergo debilitating treatment or life-changing surgery.

If a ceremony is to go ahead a maximum of 6 people may be in attendance. This number includes the couple but does not include anyone who is working at the ceremony i.e. the registrars.


What will my ceremony be like in Tier 1 - 3 restrictions?

Please see below guidance that was set out by the Government and subsequent General Register Office guidance in relation to all marriages and civil partnerships.

The current full Government guidance for marriages and civil partnerships can be viewed at www.gov.uk

Any bookings that are made will be made under the below arrangements. The number of guests able to attend and what the ceremony will look like will be changed if restrictions allow.

  • Ceremonies can only take place in a COVID 19 secure environment – this means that risk assessments for all registration offices and approved venues, maximum capacity and control measures need to be in place and signed off by Hartlepool Borough Council Health & Safety prior to any ceremony being conducted.


  • Social distancing rules of 2m will be observed within the venue and ceremony room.


  • Guests at weddings and civil partnership ceremonies are required to wear a face covering unless they are exempt due to health, age or equality reasons. Further information can be found at www.gov.uk


  • The couple can wear face coverings if they choose to. If a face covering is worn it will need to be removed briefly prior to the ceremony commencing to allow the Registrars to view the couple's faces.


  • Hand sanitiser is to be used prior to entering the room.  Couples and witnesses will also be expected to use hand sanitiser before signing the Register pages.


  • No member of the ceremony party or guest should attend the venue if they are displaying symptoms of Covid-19, feel unwell or have been told they should self-isolate / quarantine.  If it is found that someone is unwell, should be isolating / quarantining or that the maximum numbers have been exceeded, the ceremony will not take place and will have to be re-booked.  There will be a fee payable for this change.


How many people can attend a ceremony?

Marriage and civil partnerships are currently able to take place with up to of 15 people in attendance, this number includes the couple but does not include anyone who is working at the ceremony i.e. the registrars and photographer. Please note the maximum number of people able to attend a ceremony is dependent on the venues Covid-secure capacity, this may be less than 15. 

Please contact the ceremony venue directly for information on the maximum number their ceremony room is able to accomodate.


What will the ceremony consist of?

The ceremony will consist of:

  • Welcome
  • Declaratory & contractual vows - legal requirement
  • Exchange of rings (optional)
  • Completion of the Register / Schedule
  • Conclusion

The following aspects will be excluded:

  • Readings
  • Additional vows
  • Certificate presentation


Can I we have bridesmaids, flowergirls, pageboys etc (attendants)?

Please contact the ceremony venue directly to enquire as to whether attendants are able to walk into the room ahead of the ceremony party.


Can I be given away?

Social distancing must be maintained at all times during the ceremony, if you are not in the same household / support bubble as an escort they will be unable to walk down the aisle with you. While it is possible to be 'given away' the person giving you away may be unable to stand next to you dependant on space restrictions at the venue. They will be seated with the guests and asked to stand at the appropriate point in the ceremony.


Who can hold the rings?

It is not possible for a third party bringing the rings forward, the rings must be held by the couple.


Can music be played?

Music from a CD / flashdrive can be played for the ceremony entrance and exit. It is not possible for live music to be played.


Can we have a photographer?

You are able to have a photographer.

Please note that the amount of time available for photographs will be limited and the photographer will need to observe the instructions of the Registration Team as to where they can and can not stand.


How do I make a booking?

If you would like to make a booking please contact us to check availability. 

Check availability


How much does a ceremony cost?

Marriage and civil partnership fees


Other information

Venues licensed for marriages and civil partnerships

Renewal of vows

Naming ceremony