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Ceremonies in East Sussex

FAQs

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

ceremonieshub@eastsussex.gov.uk

0345 60 80 198

For current information about ceremonies during the Covid-19 pandemic see our Covid-19 Updates

Can we reserve a date for our ceremony?

Dates are unable to be reserved without payment. In order to secure your ceremony date, bookings must be made by calling 0345 60 80 198 and fees pain in full. Bookings will only be confirmed once full payment has been made.   

For further information see Plan your Ceremony

Can we personalise our ceremony?

Yes! We encourage you to include your own additions, such as; music, readings and personal vows. 

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

Can we have our ceremony outside?

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 location has not been licensed for marriages and civil partnerships take a look Weddings with a difference for information on how we can combine a legal ceremony with a Celebration Ceremony, taking place at your chosen location. 

What time will our ceremony start?

We can 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. See our fees.

We want a marriage/civil partnership as soon as possible.

 

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 their ceremony. Both of you will be required to attend an appointment at your local Register Office and provide certain documents. A statutory waiting period must pass between Giving Notice and a ceremony taking place. 

A statutory fee applies to Give Notice

For further information see Giving Notice

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 this waiting period has passed your ceremony may take place, and must happen within 12 months from the date Notice was given.

How do we cancel our ceremony?

In the event that you need to cancel your ceremony please notify us by email ceremonieshub@eastsussex.gov.uk

Ensure you 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 the Register Office provide witnesses?

East Sussex Registration is unable to provide witnesses. You are responsible for arranging your own witnesses prior to your ceremony. The law requires two witnesses be present at a marriage or civil partnership ceremony. Witnesses should be 16 or over, speak English and understand the ceremony.

Witnesses do not need to provide ID.

When will we meet the Registrars? 

 

Directly before your ceremony each of you will meet with the Celebrant and Registrar for a pre-ceremony interview. The purpose of these interviews is to ensure that your personal details are correct. These interviews are brief and will be held at a your ceremony venue. 

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

For more information about what to expect on the day of your ceremony see On The Day.

 

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 is the ceremony?

A ceremony takes 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 those of your ceremony room 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. So all you need to do now is write them!
Any personal vows will be said in addition to the legal vows.

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

Can our dog attend our ceremony?

Animals are not permitted inside any of the East Sussex 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 you 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 this is entirely your choice. 

Do I have to change my name?

Your name, your choice! There is no 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 our friend, relative, or 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 during the 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. Meaning Prayers, Hymns, Hand Fasting or Bible Verses are unable to be included in a civil ceremony. This includes marriage vows said in church; 'To have and to hold.......till death us do part'

If you would like to include spiritual or religious rituals or content then you may think about combining a legal ceremony with a bespoke 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 are 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 have your ceremony.

You will find more 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.

We don't live in East Sussex, can we have our ceremony 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.

We would love you to choose East Sussex as your ceremony destination.

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 Giving Notice.

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)

For further information please see https://www.gov.uk/marriages-civil-partnerships/foreign-national

We are an opposite-sex couple, can we enter into a Civil Partnership?

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?

Marriage and Civil Partnership certificates cost £11 each. You may have as many as you want. The ceremony fees include two statutory certificates. However if you do not require two or would like to order more then call us on 0345 60 80 198.

Do our children need re-registering?

Any child whose natural parents have married since they were born will need their birth re-registering This is a legal requirement that will make them a child of your marriage.

Re-registration is done by completing a form (LA1). The form will explain the documents required and process to re-register.

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