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Ceremonies in East Sussex

On the Day!

Congratulations the big day has finally arrived.

Here are a few reminders to help ensure your special day runs smoothly. 


Pre-Ceremony Interview

You must meet with the Registrar for a pre-ceremony interview before your ceremony.The purpose of this interview is to check that your personal details are correct. These interviews are brief and will be held at your ceremony venue directly before your ceremony. We understand that you and your partner may not want to see each other before the ceremony, in which case the Registrar will see you separately. You will need to arrive with enough time for these interviews to be completed. 

If your ceremony is taking place at an East Sussex Register Office (including Southover Grange) the first person will need to arrive 20 minutes before the ceremony start time and the second person 10 minutes before. 

If your ceremony is taking place at a Licensed Venue the first person will need to arrive 30 minutes before the ceremony start time and the second person 15 minutes before.  

As well as checking your personal details, your Celebrant will run through the ceremony arrangements; such as: who your witnesses are, who has the rings, who will be walking down the aisle with you etc. This is also a good time to ask any questions and take a moment to calm any last minute nerves.

You do not need to bring any paperwork or ID with you on the day of your ceremony. 

Ceremony Start Time 

It is extremely important that your ceremony starts on time. 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. 


You will need to arrange for two people to be witness to your ceremony. Anyone can act as your witness, providing they are at least 16, speak English and understand the ceremony. They must be present during the entire ceremony and will be required to sign the register/schedule. Your witnesses don't need identification.

Photos, Videos & Social Media

Capturing those special moments is extremely important and we are more than happy for photographs and videos to be taken throughout your ceremony. If you have a designated photographer/videographer and would rather your guests left the photo taking to them, let us know and we will inform your guests on the day. The same goes for social media; if you would rather photos of your special day were not shared online we will be happy to make your guests aware of your wishes. 

The Ceremony

Your ceremony begins with a welcome, introduction and some legal statements by your Celebrant. The heart of your ceremony is the exchange of the legal vows, where you declare that you are free to marry and take each other as partners in your marriage. For a civil partnership you are not required to say set legal vows, instead you must read a legal declaration which you may read aloud if you choose. This is shortly followed by the exchange of rings if desired and any personal vows that you may like to say.

Your ceremony continues with the signing of the register or schedule. It is important to check that your details are correct, this is the final check before any corrections can be made. Once signed, corrections can only be made once a statutory fee has been paid.

Once the signing is complete you will be issued with your certificate (if applicable). Any additional certificates that you have purchased will be posted to you during the week following your ceremony.

Your Celebrant will conclude your ceremony with some final closing words as they invite your guests to be upstanding and congratulate you both as you take your first steps as a newly married couple or legally joined partners.

Any personal additions such as readings or music will be included in your ceremony and confirmed with you during your pre-ceremony interview.

Your ceremony will last approximately 30 minutes, this includes time for photographs, and the signing of the register or schedule.

The Vows

During a civil marriage ceremony there are legal vows that must be said by each of you, which you will repeat after the Celebrant. The first are the declaratory vows, where you declare that you are free to marry. The second are the contracting vows, where you take each other as partners in your marriage. Although prescribed by law you do have a choice of which set of vows you say, which you can view here.


You are not required to say vows during a civil partnership ceremony, you must instead read a legal declaration, which you may read aloud if you choose.


In addition to the legal vows you may also like to include personal vows to include further promises and commitments. 


If you have any special requests or would like to discuss anything about your ceremony contact us on 0345 60 80 198.

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