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Ceremonies in East Sussex

Ceremonies in East Sussex - Covid-19 Update

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Covid - 19 Update - 23 February 2021

Yesterday evening the Government published its roadmap for easing lockdown restrictions and detailed information can be found here: COVID-19 Response - Spring 2021 - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

Subject to 4 important tests being satisfied before each stage is approved, this roadmap confirms that lockdown easing will take place in 4 steps. Each of these steps will be implemented at least 5 weeks apart. Following step 1, the Government will give us one weeks' notice confirming that each subsequent step can go ahead. 

Step 1 - from 29 March 2021: 
Weddings and civil partnership ceremonies can go ahead with 6 people (the couple, their witnesses and two guests), subject to the capacity of the ceremony room with social distancing in place. Receptions cannot take place. 

As at 14:08 on 23 February 2021 the General Register Office has corrected the previously published date of 8 March. Current restrictions apply until 28 March.

Step 2 - no earlier than 12 April 2021:
Weddings, civil partnerships and receptions (in premises that are permitted to open) will be able to go ahead with up to 15 attendees. 

Step 3 - no earlier than 17 May 2021:
Weddings, civil partnerships and receptions will be able to go ahead with up to 30 attendees. 

Step 4 - no earlier than 21 June 2021:
Weddings, civil partnerships and receptions will be able to go ahead with all limits on social contact lifted. 

All steps are subject to confirmation one week beforehand and dates given are the earliest date that each step will be allowed to happen. If one step is delayed then it will delay the following steps by the same time frame. 

Notice of marriage or civil partnership

We continue to actively contact couples with existing bookings who are resident in East Sussex and need to give notice in order for a ceremony also in East Sussex to go ahead. 

If you are an East Sussex resident getting married outside of the county and you need to give notice, email ceremonieshub@eastsussex.gov.uk no earlier than 2 months before the date of your ceremony. 

Ceremonies

All current restrictions remain in place until step 1 is implemented. Our Ceremonies team is actively contacting all couples with ceremony bookings up to and including 28 March to discuss your options for postponement. 

We will then contact all couples affected by each step of the roadmap the week before it is introduced, and only when the start date is approved by the Government. We will confirm any restrictions that are in place at that time and give you the option to postpone your ceremony if you prefer. 

To postpone or cancel your booking now email ceremonieshub@eastsussex.gov.uk in the first instance and a member of our team will get back to you as soon as possible. All related fees are currently suspended. 

New bookings

To make a new ceremony booking for dates from 29 March 2021 onwards, complete our Registrars Availability enquiry form, including your preferred date, time and venue in the email. Please check that your venue will be open and is taking bookings before you book your Registrars. To help us respond as quickly as possible, please be specific about your preferences. We will respond to all emails in order of when they are received. Your preferred room in our Register Offices may not currently be in use, and the capacity we can accommodate in our rooms is subject to current social distancing regulations and risk assessments. During this recovery period all bookings are subject to availability, and where notice of marriage or civil partnership has not been given, also subject to the availability of an appropriate notice appointment which may be very limited at this time. 

Further information will be published here as it becomes available. 

Covid - 19 Update - 8 February 2021

Due to the current national pandemic alert level and the continued unprecedented demand on our services, we have temporarily suspended taking brand new ceremony bookings until after the Government announces lockdown easement measures later this month. New bookings will not reopen until 23 February at the earliest. We will update this website as soon as further information is available. 

Notice of marriage or civil partnership

We are actively contacting couples who need to give notice, in anticipation of their East Sussex ceremony being able to go ahead. 

If you are an East Sussex resident getting married outside of the county, email ceremonieshub@eastsussex.gov.uk no earlier than 2 months before the date of your ceremony. 

We are currently dealing with a high volume of enquiries and we are working through these. We would like to reassure you that we will deal with your query as quickly as possible. 

Covid - 19 Update - 29 January 2021

Due to the current lockdown and the continued unprecedented demand on our services, unless exceptional circumstances apply (for example where one party is seriously ill and not expected to recover), to make a brand new ceremony booking for a marriage or civil partnership, please contact us after 5 February 2021.

Pre-booked appointments to give notice are going ahead. New appointments for notices can only be made in exceptional circumstances.

To contact us email ceremonieshub@eastsussex.gov.uk. Please help us to manage the volume of enquiries we are receiving by waiting for a response before emailing us again.

Covid - 19 Update - 19 January 2021 

In light of the unprecedented demand on our services, we are currently reviewing our position with regards to new ceremony bookings and appointments to give notice of marriage or civil partnership.

Unless exceptional circumstances apply (for example where one party is seriously ill and not expected to recover), to discuss making a brand new ceremony booking, or an appointment to give notice of marriage or civil partnership, please contact us after 1 February 2021.

Further updates will be published here as soon as they are available.

Our phone lines remain very busy, so in all cases please email ceremonieshub@eastsussex.gov.uk in the first instance and we will get back to you as soon possible.

Covid - 19 Update - 7 January 2021

Further to the publication of the regulations relating to the current lockdown the Government guidance regarding weddings and civil partnerships remains that they should only take place in exceptional circumstances: National lockdown: Stay at Home - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk).

As widely reported, the first Government review date for the lockdown restrictions imposed on Monday evening will be Monday 15 February.

We are actively contacting all couples with ceremony bookings between now and 15 February inclusive to rearrange their ceremonies to a date from 1 March onwards.

We are not currently accepting any brand new ceremony bookings for dates before 1 April 2021.

We will continue to review our position in line with changes to Government restrictions and guidelines, and will update you as appropriate.

Our phone lines remain very busy, so to contact us please email ceremonieshub@eastsussex.gov.uk in the first instance and we will get back to you as soon possible.

Covid - 19 Update - 5 January 2021

Following lockdown restrictions brought into place yesterday evening in England, weddings and civil partnerships continue to be allowed in exceptional circumstances only, for example where one party is seriously ill and not expected to recover, or is about to undergo debilitating treatment or life-changing surgery. Further guidelines can be found here: National lockdown: Stay at Home - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

The lockdown regulations will become law in the early hours of tomorrow, and we will publish further information as it becomes available.

In the meantime, we are in the process of contacting couples immediately affected by the new rules.

Our phone lines are currently very busy however, If you need to contact us, please email ceremonieshub@eastsussex.gov.uk in the first instance and a member of the team will contact you as soon as possible.

Covid-19 Update - 23 December 2020

Further to this afternoons announcement, we can confirm that the rest of East Sussex along with Hastings & Rother will enter Tier 4 as of 00:01 on 26 December 2020. 

Government guidance on weddings and civil partnerships in Tier 4, and for residents of Tier 4 areas, can be found here: Tier 4: Stay at Home - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk).

This guidance confirms that weddings and civil partnerships should not take place in Tier 4 areas unless exceptional circumstances apply, such as where one party is seriously ill and not expected to recover, or is about to undergo debilitating treatment or life-changing surgery.

The information also states that any wedding outside a Tier 4 area but with residents of a Tier 4 area in attendance must abide by the Tier 4 rules and will be limited to 6 attendees.

We will be contacting all couples who will be affected by these changes.

Covid-19 Update - 21 December 2020

Further to the introduction of a new Tier of Covid restrictions at 00:01 yesterday, we can confirm that Hastings & Rother are now in Tier 4.

All other areas of East Sussex currently remain in Tier 2.

Government guidance on weddings and civil partnerships in Tier 4, and for residents of Tier 4 areas, can be found here: Tier 4: Stay at Home - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk).

This guidance confirms that weddings and civil partnerships should not take place in Tier 4 areas unless exceptional circumstances apply, such as where one party is seriously ill and not expected to recover, or is about to undergo debilitating treatment or life-changing surgery.

The information also states that any wedding outside a Tier 4 area but with residents of a Tier 4 area in attendance must abide by the Tier 4 rules and will be limited to 6 attendees.

We have contacted all couples currently affected by these changes.

Covid-19 Update - 3 December 2020

Government guidance for small marriages and civil partnerships has now been updated to reflect the new tier system and the regulations associated with it. For further information go to COVID-19: Guidance for small marriages and civil partnerships - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk).

For up to date details about the tier system, check here: Local restriction tiers: what you need to know - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk).

To contact us about an existing booking or to make a new booking for a ceremony, please email us in the first instance at ceremonieshub@eastsussex.gov.uk and a member of the team will get back to you as soon as possible.

Covid - 19 Update - 24 November 2020

Covid-19 Update – 24 November 2020

Following yesterday’s briefing from the Prime Minister, we can confirm that the lockdown in England is coming to an end as expected on 2 December. Weddings and Civil Partnerships in East Sussex will resume from 3 December 2020, subject to new three-tier restrictions which will be announced by the Government on Thursday and reviewed every 14 days. 

For areas in Tier 1 and Tier 2, wedding and civil partnership ceremonies and receptions can go ahead with up to 15 people attending. In Tier 3 areas, ceremonies can go ahead with the same number, but receptions will not be permitted.

For further details, please refer to the COVID-19 Winter Plan available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-winter-plan.

Our phone lines are currently very busy. To contact us, please email ceremonieshub@eastsussex.gov.uk in the first instance and a member of our team will get back to you as soon as possible.

Covid - 19 Update - 2 November 2020 

Further to the Prime Minister's announcement on Saturday about further lockdown restrictions coming into place on Thursday, weddings and civil partnerships will not be permitted from 5 November until at least 2 December. We will be actively contacting all couples who are affected by these restrictions in chronological order and ceremonies can be postponed (subject to availability) without incurring any amendment charges.

MPs will vote on the Government's proposed measures on Wednesday and, when approved, they will be introduced at 00:01 GMT on Thursday. Further details should be published after this vote, however current guidelines can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/new-national-restrictions-from-5-november

We are carefully monitoring these updates and will communicate any further information as it is available. 

Our phone lines are currently very busy. To contact us, please email ceremonieshub@eastsussex.gov.uk in the first instance and a member of our team will get back to you as soon as possible. 

Covid - 19 Update - 15 October 2020

Further to the Government announcement on 12 October regarding the new three-tier local COVID alert levels (medium, high and very high), we can confirm that the Guidance for small weddings and civil partnerships has now been updated to include the following information:


Local COVID alert level: medium and high
Weddings and civil partnerships can go ahead with restrictions on numbers of attendees (15).


Local COVID alert level: very high
Weddings and civil partnership ceremonies can go ahead with restrictions on number of attendees (15) however, wedding receptions are not allowed.


East Sussex is currently classified as local COVID alert level: medium.


The updated Guidance for small marriages and civil partnerships can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-guidance-for-small-marriages-and-civil-partnerships/covid-19-guidance-for-small-marriages-and-civil-partnerships.

Covid - 19 Update - 23 September 2020  

Yesterday, 22 September 2020, the Prime Minister announced that from Monday 28 September 2020 the number of people allowed to attend wedding and civil partnership ceremonies and receptions will be reduced to 15. For ceremonies, this number includes the couple, their witnesses, children and all other guests. The General Register Office have now confirmed that it does not include the Registrars, your photographer or any staff working at your venue. The total number of guests you can invite will however be subject to the capacity of the licensed room with social distancing in place, including all Registrars and other people working.

Our Ceremonies Hub is actively contacting all couples affected by these new regulations which the Prime Minister has said we should expect to be in place for 6 months.

For a transcript of the PM Commons Statement dated 22 September 2020, click here: https://www.gov.uk/government/speeches/pm-commons-statement-on-coronavirus-22-september-2020.

Government guidelines for small marriages and civil partnerships are still being updated however, further information can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-outbreak-faqs-what-you-can-and-cant-do/coronavirus-outbreak-faqs-what-you-can-and-cant-do.

Couples who would like to postpone their ceremony, or prefer to cancel their bookings with us, can currently do so without incurring any charges.

Covid – 19 Update – 15 September 2020 

On Wednesday 9 September the Government confirmed that social gathering guidelines will be tightened and enforceable by law from Monday 14 September when the rule of 6 apply. This new rule dictates that we must not meet in groups of more than 6 people who do not live with us, indoors or outside. 

There are however a few exceptions including wedding or civil partnership ceremonies and receptions, where up to 30 people (subject to the room capacity with social distancing in place) can attend. This means that there will be no change to our current protocols.

For further guidelines and information see https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-meeting-with-others-safely-social-distancing/coronavirus-covid-19-meeting-with-others-safely-social-distancing 

Covid – 19 Update – 5 August 2020

Face coverings

In line with the latest Government guidelines (available here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/31-july-announcement#weddings) guests at weddings and civil partnerships in places of worship, at Register Offices and at other licensed venues should now wear a face covering. 

Contacting us

Our phone lines and booking emails are currently extremely busy. As we clear the backlog of couples whose ceremony has been affected by Covid-19, please help us to contact everyone as quickly as we can by following the guidance below:

• If you already have a booking with us for a wedding or civil partnership at an agreed date and time, please wait for us to contact you to confirm the details. We will contact all couples in chronological order to talk through the restrictions in place and give you the option to either confirm your booking or postpone without any amendment fees.

• If you have an existing booking that was postponed without you choosing a new date, please email us at ceremonieshub@eastsussex.gov.uk when you have decided on your preferred new date and we will respond to your email in order of when it is received. Booking your new date will be subject to availability which may be limited at this time, and if required, subject to the availability of a notice appointment. Due to the high volume of emails we are receiving, please wait for us to respond before emailing us again.

• If you have an existing booking for a wedding or civil partnership in East Sussex and you need to give notice, please wait for us to contact you. We will contact all couples in chronological order to make an appointment for you to give notice in good time for your ceremony booking to go ahead.

• If you have a ceremony booking in another county but live in East Sussex and need to give notice, please email us at ceremonieshub@eastsussex.gov.uk  giving us the venue, date, time and county of your booking. Please include your contact telephone number in the email. We will phone you to make a notice appointment for you. Appointments will only be available from 2 months before the date of your ceremony booking and are subject to availability. Due to the high volume of emails we are receiving, please wait for us to respond before emailing us again.

If you or your partner are non-EEA nationals, you will need to give notice in a Designated Register Office (DRO). Go to Gov.uk for the latest list of DROs.

• If you have a ceremony booking in a church, live in East Sussex and need to give notice (civil preliminaries), please email us at ceremonieshub@eastsussex.gov.uk giving us the name and location of the church, and the date and time of your booking. Please include your contact telephone number in the email. We will phone you to make a notice appointment for you. Appointments will only be available from 2 months before the date of your ceremony booking and are subject to availability. Due to the high volume of emails we are receiving, please wait for us to respond before emailing us again.

If you or your partner are non-EEA nationals, you will need to give notice in a Designated Register Office (DRO). Go to Gov.uk for the latest list of DROs.


• If you would like to make a new booking for a wedding or civil partnership at a register office, please complete our Registrars Availability enquiry form, including your preferred date, time and Registration Office (Crowborough, Lewes, Eastbourne or Hastings) in the email. To help us respond as quickly as possible, please be specific about your preferences. We will respond to all emails in order of when they are received. Please note that your preferred room may not currently be in use, and the capacity we can accommodate at each Registration Office is subject to our social distancing risk assessments. During this recovery period all bookings are subject to availability, and where notice of marriage or civil partnership has not been given, also subject to the availability of an appropriate notice appointment which is very limited at this time. Due to the high volume of emails we are receiving, please wait for us to respond before emailing us again.

• If you would like to make a new booking for a wedding or civil partnership at a licensed venue, please complete our Registrars Availability enquiry form, including your preferred date, time and venue in the email. To help us respond as quickly as possible, please be specific about your preferences. You must speak to the venue to confirm their availability and current capacity before you contact us. Please note that during this recovery period all bookings are subject to availability, and where notice of marriage or civil partnership has not been given, also subject to the availability of an appropriate notice appointment which is very limited at this time. We will respond to all emails in order of when they are received. Due to the high volume of emails we are receiving, please wait for us to respond before emailing us again

Covid - 19 Update - 8 July 2020

Weddings and Civil Partnerships

East Sussex Register Offices, licensed venues and places of worship (where a registrar is required to attend) will be able to hold weddings and civil partnerships from 21 July 2020. We are now contacting couples who have weddings or civil partnerships booked, in chronological order. You will be given the option to keep your current date or postpone to a new date without incurring charges. Please take into consideration that for the time being all ceremonies will be subject to current Government guidelines which include limited attendees, social distancing and other restrictions highlighted here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-guidance-for-small-marriages-and-civil-partnerships/covid-19-guidance-for-small-marriages-and-civil-partnerships

Notice of Marriage and Notice of Civil Partnership

Appointments will be available from 21 July 2020 for East Sussex residents with weddings and civil partnerships booked on a date not more than 2 months ahead. We will contact couples who have ceremony bookings with us, in chronological order. East Sussex residents who are marrying or forming a civil partnership out of the county can email us from 21 July at ceremonieshub@eastsussex.gov.uk and wait for a reply from a member of the team. Please note that the phone lines are very busy during this time. 

New bookings for ceremonies in 2020

New bookings will reopen on 21 July 2020. Your booking will depend on the availability of an appointment to give notice and of the ceremony date, time and venue. This availability may be limited during this recovery period. To make a new booking, please contact us by email in the first instance at ceremonieshub@eastsussex.gov.uk including your names, your preferred date and venue. 

Covid - 19 Update - 25 June 2020

The Government have announced that wedding ceremonies can go ahead from 4 July. We are now evaluating guidelines from our regulator, the General Register Office, on what this means for civil marriages and civil partnerships, and applying them to our plans to restart these services. 

We have a duty of care to ensure that the correct processes and risk assessments are in place to safeguard the welfare of both our customers and our staff. Understanding this work and implementing the required measures will take time and must be done before we can reopen our buildings to the public and restart these services. 

We do not currently have a confirmed date for our services to be reinstated, but it will be 14 days from the date we receive authority for our buildings to reopen, and as soon as this date is agreed we will publish an update on this page. If you would like to receive an alert when this happens, please sign up to our Ceremonies Newsletter using the form at the bottom of the page. 

Covid - 19 Update - 23 June 2020

Further to the Prime Minister's announcement that step 3 of the Government's recovery plan will be instigated on 4 July as hoped, we are awaiting further written guidelines on how this will impact on civil marriages and civil partnerships. 

As soon as these guidelines are available, we will review our position as outlined below and update this page accordingly. 

Covid - 19 Update - 12 June 2020

Due to the ongoing Government ban on weddings and civil partnerships taking place in England & Wales, from 15 June 2020 we will be postponing all ceremonies for a rolling period of two weeks ahead. We will be actively contacting couples whose existing bookings are affected.

New bookings are only being accepted for weddings and civil partnerships due to take place from 1 January 2021 onwards. 

We are not currently taking notice of marriage or notice of civil partnerships appointments. This position is under continuous review and we will update this statement as appropriate. 

All enquires should be emailed in the first instance to ceremonieshub@eastsussex.gov.uk 

Covid - 19 Update - 14 May 2020

Further to the publication of the Government's Covid-19 Recovery Strategy on Monday 11 May the General Register Office is in consultation with the Home Office and will shortly be issuing further guidance to Registration services. 

Until such time as this guidance is released, the information below in our statement dated 8 April 2020 still applies. Updates will be published here as soon as they are available. 

Covid-19 Update - 8 April 2020 

Further to this morning's news that the Government review of the measures currently in place against the spread of Covid-19 will be delayed, we can confirm the following. 

Postponement of Marriages, Civil Partnerships and other ceremonies 

All ceremonies in East Sussex will be postponed until at least 15 June 2020. 

This measure is effective immediately and is subject to ongoing review. Updates to this position will be posted as they become available.

Postponing your booking

Our team are actively contacting all couples and customers with bookings between now and 14 June 2020.

Our phone lines are currently very busy, however, if you have a ceremony booked on or after 15 June 2020 and you would like to postpone to a later date, please email us in the first instance at ceremonieshub@eastsussex.gov.uk, and one of our team will contact you to arrange this. Please include the following information in your email: 

  • Your full names 
  • The venue booked
  • The date of your current booking
  • The time of your current booking
  • Your preferred new date if you have one

Our ceremony amendment fee is being waived until further notice. 

If your ceremony is on or after 15 June 2020 and you do not wish to postpone, there is no need to contact us at this stage. If we require any further information from you we will contact you during our pre-ceremony checks as normal.

Do you need to Give Notice again?

If you have already given your notice of marriage or civil partnership, your authority to marry or form a civil partnership is valid for a period of 12 months from the date you gave notice. To date, there have not been any amendments to legislation allowing this authority to be extended beyond 12 months. 

If you postpone your marriage or civil partnership to a date more than 12 months after you gave notice, you will need to give notice again, and your notice(s) will be subject to a fee. All notices and authorities are venue specific, so if you have chosen to move your ceremony to another venue, you will also be required to give notice and pay the fee again.

Please note that our regulator, the General Register Office, has suspended all notice appointments until the current restrictions are lifted. We will need to bear this in mind when booking a new date for your ceremony.

The current fee for giving notice is £35 per person. This is a statutory fee set by the Government and we are therefore unable to waive the notice fee at this time.

Cancellation of your booking

If you would prefer to cancel your booking, please email ceremonieshub@eastsussex.gov.uk and we will advise you of the process. 

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