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Civil partnerships

Find out what a civil partnership is and who can form one, or how to convert a civil partnership into a marriage

What a civil partnership is

A civil partnership is a legally binding contract between two people, giving them the ability to obtain legal recognition for their relationship, and is available to opposite sex couples and same sex couples.

The couple's new legal status becomes 'civil partner', and they will be treated equally in a wide range of legal matters, the same as those who enter into a marriage. 

More information about the differences between civil partnerships and marriage is on the GOV.UK website

Who can form a civil partnership

You can form a civil partnership or get married in England or Wales if the following applies to you both:

  • You're over the age of 16 (legal consent from your parent(s) or guardian(s) is needed if you're under under 18)
  • You're not already married or in a civil partnership
  • You're not closely related

How it works

A civil partnership can be formed by either, a simple process of signing only, or a two-stage process where there is a signing and a ceremony.

Civil partnership signing only

You can form a civil partnership in the presence of two witnesses and the registrar without a ceremony. As this is a written contract, two witness must attend the signing.

The fee for a civil partnership signing only is £46, plus £11 for each civil partnership certificate.

Civil partnership signing and ceremony

Our Registration Service offers a range of ceremony options combining the signing at the Guildhall in Bath, or at one of our approved wedding venues in the local area. Alternatively, you could choose a bespoke celebratory ceremony in a venue of your choice after the signing only - we're more than happy to discuss all options with you.

Contact us

For further guidance on forming a civil partnership, email us at, or call us on 01225 47 72 34. We also have a web page which outlines the whole process of getting married or forming a civil partnership