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Personalising your ceremony

You can request some changes to your marriage or civil partnership service, depending on time available and other restrictions.

The most frequently requested changes are dealt with below, but if you have any other alteration in mind, please speak to a superintendent registrar for advice.

It is very important you request any changes at least seven days before your ceremony. If you do not arrive on time, adaptations may not be possible.

Can we make a grand entrance?

Yes, you are welcome to make a ‘grand entrance’ into the marriage room with all the guests already in place. One or more people of your choice may accompany you. The couple are interviewed separately before the ceremony so they don’t see each other until the grand entrance.

Can we change the words we have to say?

The law allows for a shorter version of the marriage vows, which is available on request. View the full marriage vows and declaration.

It is also possible to add your own words. Any extra vows must be non-religious and will need to be produced in writing at least seven days before the wedding. If they are not easy for you to remember, please have them printed on a card.

Please note adding extra vows will require you to book a longer ceremony slot.

Do you allow any readings during the ceremony?

One reading may be included in the ceremony. As with the additional vows, any reading must be non-religious and we would need to have a copy at least seven days in advance.

You will need to tell the superintendent registrar when during the ceremony the reading will take place.

Please note adding readings will require you to book a longer ceremony slot.

Is it possible for us to have some music played?

The marriage room is equipped with a sound system to play a piece of music once on your special day.  Again, the music must be non-religious, and you will need to give us seven days’ notice about when you want the music to be played. 

Some recorded formats, such as MP3, do not play on our system. We always advise that your CD should be brought into the office at least seven days in advance of your ceremony, so that it can be checked on our system and left with us, in readiness for your special day.

Can people take photographs during the ceremony?

To avoid disruptions and distractions, our policy is for photographs not to be taken during the ceremony. Time is allocated for photographs once the ceremony is over.

The superintendent registrar can create an ‘action replay’ of the signing of the schedule and giving of the rings. It is not usually possible to take a photograph of a large group of people within the marriage room.

Is video recording allowed?

A maximum of two video cameras can be used during the ceremony. The person operating the camera must not move around during the ceremony, and all equipment must be battery operated.

Do you allow confetti to be thrown?

Your guests are welcome to throw confetti outside Town Hall, but we ask that confetti is not used inside. This also applies to party-poppers, streamers and spray string.

Can civil partners change their name?

You are able to change your name after a civil partnership. This can be done by making a statutory declaration, or changing your name by deed poll. You should contact a solicitor or legal advice centre for more information.

Is there anything else we should know about the ceremony?

If you have any guests who may have difficulty understanding the vows, we would be pleased to supply a translation, which are available in more than 25 different languages. You would need to make your request before the day.

During the time you are in the room your faces must be visible. A veil may be worn provided that your face can be clearly seen through it.

All mobile phones must be switched off or on silent, and smoking is not permitted.

All of the above may be subject to change at short notice due to coronavirus.

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