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Ceremonies in East Sussex


If you have a question that is not on the list, please contact us;

0345 60 80 198

Step 4 – from 19 July 2021:

  • Safety, and maintaining the level of public services we can offer are our priorities.
  • Registrars will wear a face covering.
  • We’re requiring all visitors to East Sussex County Council buildings, including our Register Offices, to continue to wear a face covering in public areas and ceremony rooms (unless exempt).
  • We urge all people attending wedding ceremonies at which we officiate, in any venue, to continue to wear a face covering (unless exempt).

For the latest information about ceremonies during the Covid-19 pandemic see our Covid Update Page

Can we reserve a date for our ceremony?

We are unable to reserve ceremony dates without a booking. In order to secure a ceremony date, ceremony fees must be paid in full at the time of booking. 

To make a booking call our ceremonies team on 0345 60 80 198. 

Can we personalise our ceremony?

Yes! We want your day to be as special and memorable as possible. We encourage you to include your own additions, such as; music, readings and personal vows. 

Take a look at some of the ways you can personalise your ceremony.

Can we have an outdoor ceremony?

Yes you can! Boasting some of the most beautiful scenery in the country, East Sussex is the perfect place for an outdoor celebration. 

Take a look at the things you should consider when planning an Outdoor Celebration.

Where can our ceremony take place?

We are happy to conduct ceremonies almost anywhere* in East Sussex. If your chosen venue or location isn't licensed for marriages and civil partnerships take a look Weddings with a difference to find out how we can combine a legal ceremony with a Celebration Ceremony. Allowing you to celebrate at your chosen location. 

What time will our ceremony start?

We conduct ceremonies 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year (subject to availability). Surcharges may apply for certain dates and times.

You can find all our ceremony fees online.

We want to get married/form a civil partnership as soon as possible.

Before a marriage or civil partnership is able to take place each of you must give notice at least 28 days before your ceremony. 

Notice must be given by appointment at your local Register Office. 

More information can be found on our Giving Notice page

What is Giving Notice?

Giving Notice is a legal requirement that anyone wishing to marry or enter into a civil partnership in England or Wales must complete prior to a ceremony.

Notice must be given by appointment at your local Register Office, at least 28 days before your ceremony. 

At the appointment you will need to provide the Registrar with certain documents which prove who you are and that you are free to marry/form a civil partnership. 

A statutory fee applies to Give Notice

For further information see our Giving Notice page. 

We have Given Notice, what happens now?

Once Notice has been given a statutory waiting period of 28 days must pass before you are able to marry or enter into a civil partnership (this waiting period could be extended to 70 days if you/and or your partner are subject to immigration control).

Once the waiting period has passed your ceremony can take place at your chosen venue. 

How do we cancel our ceremony? Will we receive a refund?

In the event that you need to cancel your ceremony please notify us by emailing

Please ensure to include your full names, date, time and place of your ceremony, and your booking reference number.

Refunds are processed under the following Terms & Conditions.

Can Ceremonies in East Sussex provide us with witnesses?

The law requires two witnesses be present at a marriage or civil partnership ceremony. Ceremonies in East Sussex are unable to provide witnesses. You are responsible for arranging witnesses ahead of your ceremony. 

Witnesses should be at least 16, speak English and understand the ceremony.

Witnesses do not need to provide ID.

When will we meet the Registrars? 

You will meet with your Registrars for a pre-ceremony interview. These interviews are brief and will be held at a your ceremony venue directly before your ceremony. The purpose of these interviews is to ensure that your personal details are correct.

You can meet with the Registrars together or separately, depending on whether you want to see each other before the ceremony. 

Will we receive any information about the ceremony?

Once you have Given Notice you will receive a ceremony pack, which will explain everything you need to know about the ceremony, what happens on the day, what you will be required to say and how you can personalise the ceremony.

You can also find plenty of information on the pages of our website.

What time do we need to arrive?

It is extremely important that the ceremony starts on time.

The time booked for the ceremony is the time that the ceremony must begin. Your Registrars may have other ceremonies to attend after yours. In order to avoid having to amend or shorten your ceremony please ensure you and your guests arrive with plenty of time to allow for your pre-ceremony interviews and any photographs you may want.

To ensure we treat couples fairly, we will not disrupt the timing of any ceremonies due to delays incurred by earlier ones. In the event that the ceremony commences later than the scheduled start time East Sussex Registration reserves the right to amend or cancel the ceremony.

Please see our Terms and Conditions.

For ceremonies taking place at a:

Register Office
If you are being interviewed separately party one should meet with the Registrar 20 minutes before the ceremony start time and party two 10 minutes before. For couples being interviewed together please be ready to meet with the Registrar 15 minutes before the ceremony start time.

Licensed Venue
If you are being interviewed separately party one should meet with the Registrar 30 minutes before the ceremony start time and party two 15 minutes before. For couples being interviewed together please be ready to meet with the Registrar 20 minutes before the ceremony start time.

How long does the ceremony last?

A ceremony lasts approximately 30 minutes. This allows enough time for the signing of the register or schedule, readings and photographs.

What if the number of our guests changes?

If your guest numbers exceed the capacity of your venue, then you may be able to transfer your ceremony to a larger room, if there is one available. If a larger ceremony room isn't available then guest numbers will need to be reduced. To enquire about a larger ceremony room contact your chosen venue or Register Office.

To enquire about a Register Office ceremony contact us on 0345 60 80 198.

Amendments to your ceremony booking may incur additional charges.

Can we say our own vows?

We can't think of a better way of personalising your ceremony, than writing your own vows. All you need to do now is write them!

Personal vows will be said in addition to the legal vows. Personal vows cannot include any religious text or reference. 

Can our pet attend our ceremony?

Unfortunately animals are not permitted inside our Register Offices, with the exception of registered assistance animals.

If your ceremony is taking place elsewhere you will need to seek approval from the venue directly. The venue will be responsible for the health and safety of you and your guests.

Please ensure to make us aware of any animals that will be attending your ceremony.

Do we have to exchange rings?

The exchange of rings is an ancient tradition rather than a legal requirement. Although most couples do exchange rings it is entirely your choice. 

Do I have to change my name?

Your name, your choice!

There is no legal obligation to change your name after marriage or civil partnership. You can decide whether to change your name and what you change it to.

Find out more about Changing Your Name.

Can a friend/relative/celebrant conduct our ceremony?

For a civil marriage or civil partnership ceremony to be legal it must be conducted by an authorised Registrar of the relevant registration district. However, you may like to include them by asking them to do a reading at your ceremony.

Can we say a prayer during our ceremony?

The law does not permit religious or spiritual content during a civil marriage or civil partnership ceremony. Prayers, Hymns, Hand Fasting or Bible Verses are unable to be included in a civil ceremony. This also includes marriage vows said in church; 'To have and to hold.......till death us do part' etc

If you would like to include spiritual or religious rituals then you may want to think about combining a legal ceremony with a Celebration Ceremony. A celebration ceremony allows you to include anything you wish without the legal restrictions. 

The combination of these ceremonies will ensure that you have legally married/formed a civil partnership as well as having the ceremony you want with all your personal additions.

For more information see Weddings with a Difference. 

We want to get married abroad, what do we need to do?

Getting married or registering a civil partnership abroad may require you to obtain certain documents, before the ceremony can go ahead. To find out exactly what you will need contact the local authorities in the country you plan to hold your ceremony in.

You can find further information here: ‘Getting married abroad’.

Is there disabled access at the Register Offices?

All four of our Register Offices have at least one accessible ceremony room.

If you or your guests have any accessibility issues please contact us 0345 60 80 198.

Can we have our ceremony in East Sussex if we do not live there?

You can get married or form a civil partnership at any licensed venue or Register Office in England and Wales regardless of where you live.

A residency requirement must be met along with completion of certain legal preliminaries prior to any marriage or civil partnership ceremony that takes place in England and Wales. For further information see our Giving Notice page. 

Me and/or my partner are not British, what do we need to do to be married/form a civil partnership?

To be married or form a civil partnership in England and Wales you must first Give Notice. This is usually done at your local Register Office. However, if you and/or your partner is a foreign national from outside the EEA or Switzerland then you must give notice at a Designated Register Office (this may or may not be your local Register Office). 

More information can be found on the Gov UK website.

We are an opposite-sex couple who want to form a civil partnership. What do we need to do?

Both opposite-sex and same-sex couples are able to enter into a Civil Partnership.

A Civil Partnership gives you the same legal rights as a married couple in most matters. To see the differences take a look at this table.

Before you are able to form a civil partnership you must both Give Notice at least 28 days before your ceremony date. 

For further information see Civil Partnerships.

How many certificates do we need? and how do we order them?

Marriage and Civil Partnership certificates cost £11 each. Our ceremony fees include two statutory certificates.

If you would like to order more, and your ceremony has not yet taken place call us on 0345 60 80 198.

If you have already married/formed a civil partnership you can order additional copies of your certificate online, on the East Sussex County Council website. 

Do our children need re-registering once were married?

Any child whose natural parents have married/formed a civil partnership since they were born will need their birth re-registering 

Form LA1 must be completed prior to any re-registration. The form will explain the documents required and process to re-register.

To book a re-registration appointment at an East Sussex Register Office call us on 0345 60 80 198.

For re-registration following the marriage or civil partnership of two female parents please contact the General Register Office on 0300 123 1837.

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