Find out what you need to do to get married or form a civil partnership.
You can get married or form a civil partnership in England or Wales if you’re:
- 16 or over (you’ll need to be 18 or over from 27 February 2023)
- not already married or in a civil partnership
- not closely related
Go to GOV.UK for further information on who can get married or form a civil partnership.
Convert a civil partnership to a marriage
See our civil partnership web page to find out what a civil partnership is and how to convert one into a marriage.
Choose your perfect wedding or ceremony venue from a variety of venues in Bath and North East Somerset (including heritage sites, hotels, converted barns, museums, art galleries and our own registration offices at the Guildhall in Bath: Alkmaar Room, Abbey View Room, Jane Austen Room.
If you want your wedding or ceremony to take place at a church or other religious building, contact the minister or other person in charge at the church or building to find out how to book your ceremony.
Getting married abroad
You may also need to give notice of intention if you plan to marry or form a civil partnership abroad. Please call the Bath and North East Somerset Register Office on 01225 477234 or Alternatively, visit GOV.UK for more information about getting married or forming a civil partnership abroad.
Most couples must give notice of intention before they can be married or form their civil partnership in England or Wales. This is a face-to-face interview with a registrar and cannot be given by proxy, in writing, or online.
By the time you book an appointment with a Register Office to give notice of intention, you must have decided on the licenced venue where you want to marry or form a civil partnership. If you change the location of your venue, you will have to give notice of intention again.! Warning There are different rules depending upon your nationality and immigration status. The different rules are outlined in the sections below.
Please book your appointment in plenty of time prior to the ceremony date, as there are large numbers of couples seeking to give notice this year, and waiting times are longer than usual.
You must provide proof of any name changes at your appointment.
Book Notice of Civil Partnership
If you are British, Irish, a European Economic Area (EEA) national or family member of a EEA national with settled or pre-settled status, or have applied for settled status before 30 June 2021
Both you and your partner must give notice of your intention to marry or form a civil partnership, at least 29 days before your ceremony takes place. This notice of intention is valid for 12 months once issued.
Documents required for the appointment
You must bring originals of the following documents to your appointment:
- Details of the final venue for your ceremony (if venue changes after giving notice, you need to apply and pay for a new notice)
- The name and address of your marriage or civil partnership venue
- Your valid passport
- You must also bring proof of your address which must be one of the following:
- Water, gas or electricity bill (dated within the last three months)
- Council Tax bill (dated within the last year)
- Mortgage statement (dated within the last year)
- Valid driving licence
- Bank statement, dated within the last month (bank statements must be the original statements posted to your home, or online statements you have printed - if you are bringing online statements, we will ask to see the debit or credit card for that account, or to see the online banking app on your phone to confirm the account details)
If you are Non-British, a EEA national without settled or pre-settled status, or your application submitted before 30 June 2021 is pending, or a non-EEA national without indefinite leave to remain, or without a marriage or civil partnership visa
You must give notice of your intention to marry of form a civil partnership at least 71 days before your ceremony takes place.
Documents required for the appointment
You will need to bring the documents listed above as well as the following:
- One Passport sized photo for each of you
- Proof of the current immigration status for all non-EEA nationals
- Translated versions of any documents you are required to bring
Previously divorced or dissolved civil partnership, including foreign divorce
You must bring your final divorce or dissolution document, with a translation by a named third person if it is not in English. This does not have to be an official translation from a translation service or Embassy.
If you have been married or had a civil partnership more than once, we only need to see the divorce or dissolution documents from your last marriage or civil partnership.
Find out how much it costs for consideration of divorce or civil partnership dissolution documents
There is no additional cost for consideration of divorce/civil partnership dissolution documents if taken place in the United Kingdom (England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland), Channel Islands or Isle of Man.
Widow/Widower or a surviving civil partner
You must bring the following with you (with a translation by a named third person if not in English - it does not have to be an official translation from a translation service or Embassy):
- Your spouse or civil partner's death certificate
- Your marriage or civil partnership certificate
If you or your partner have changed your name
You must bring proof of name change.
If you or your partner are under 18
You must bring the completed parental consent form. You can collect one from us before your notice appointment.
If you or your partner can't speak English well! Warning If you need an interpreter and don't bring one with you, we won't be able to take your notice and you will have to book and pay for a new appointment.
If you or your partner can't speak English, you must bring someone to the appointment who can interpret for you. Partners cannot interpret for each other.
Where to give notice
Find a register office on GOV.UK
If you are both British, Irish or EEA nationals with settled or pre-settled status you must give notice of intention in the district where you live, even if this is not where you are holding the ceremony. If you and your partner live in different areas, you need to give notice separately, although this doesn't have to be done at the same time.
If either you or your partners nationality is NOT British, Irish or an EEA national with pre-settled status, you can give notice of intention together, in any designated register office in England and Wales where one or both of you live.
For the Bath and North East Somerset Register Office, call us to make an appointment at any of our offices listed below 01225 47 72 34
Register office Hours
Bath register office, Guildhall, High Street, Bath BA1 5AW
Monday to Friday, 9am to 4pm
Keynsham Information and Advice Service, Keynsham Civic Centre, Market Walk, Keynsham BS31 1FS
Tuesday, 10am to 4pm
Midsomer Norton Information and Advice Service, The Hollies, High Street, Midsomer Norton BA3 2DP
Thursday, 10am to 4pm
Once you have booked (or provisionally booked) your venue, you then need to book a registrar to conduct your marriage or ceremony (there is a fee for this which is explained below). Civil ceremonies are conducted by registration officers (registrars) and are non-religious.
If your marriage or ceremony is taking place in one of our registration ceremony rooms at the Guildhall, your registrar will be included in your ceremony booking and fee.
Call our main register office on 01225 47 72 34 (our phone lines are open Monday to Friday, 9am to 3.45pm) to book a registrar. Alternatively, email firstname.lastname@example.org
Our main registration office is at the Guildhall, High Street, Bath BA1 5AW.
When you book to give notice of intention to marry or form a civil partnership, there is a fee
There are also ceremony fees for the following venues:
- Register Office
- Alkmaar Room
- Abbey View Room/Jane Austen Room
- Venues in other locations (approved premises)
There is a fee for copy certificates
There is also a fee for marriages at a registered place of worship where no authorised person is appointed
Before the ceremony at the Guildhall (Registration Office)
The registrar will interview you both again to confirm the various personal details. This can be done separately or together. The Registrar will run through some pre-ceremony questions with you both and answer any questions you have.
If arriving separately before your ceremony; one of you must arrive 15 minutes before the ceremony starts and the other, 10 minutes before.
Any guests should arrive 15 minutes before the ceremony.
Before the ceremony at other licensed venues
The registrar will interview you both separately before your ceremony; one of you must arrive 30 minutes before the ceremony starts and the other, 15 minutes before. The registrar will then run through some pre-ceremony questions with you both and answer any questions you have.
Your venue will let you know when your guests can arrive.
When we interview you, we will ask for the names of your witnesses. You must provide a minimum of two witnesses who may be relatives or friends, over the age of 16 and are able to understand the ceremony (if they are a non-native English speaker).
Personalise your ceremony
The registrar will follow your choices and create your ceremony for you.
You can choose personal vows or promises, and there are words to say if you choose to exchange rings - personal vows must not contain religious reference or come from the Book of Common Prayer.
For marriage, once the ceremony begins, the registrar will say a few words of welcome and lead you through the ceremony and legal vows.
As well as the legal declarations and contracting vows, you can choose personal vows or promises and there are words to say if you choose to exchange rings.
For civil partnerships, the registrar will say a few words of welcome and then you have a choice of saying the civil partnership legal vow, or read this when you do the signing.
The registrar will arrange your readings at the appropriate places throughout your ceremony. If you would like them in a certain order, please make this clear on your preference form.
No religious readings are allowed by law - contact us if you're not sure whether your readings are allowed or not.
We will be playing classical music at your ceremony (if at the Guildhall), but you can bring your own music if you prefer (on a smart phone or MP3 device).
Choose music for the following parts of your ceremony:
- Before your ceremony
- When you enter the ceremony room
- Two tracks or songs when you sign the Register
- One track or song for when you leave the ceremony room
Your music cannot have any religious references (this includes hymns and Christmas carols) as this is a civil ceremony - contact us if you're not sure whether your choice is allowed or not.
Registering your marriage or civil partnership
After your ceremony, you will both be asked to sign using your normal signatures and the names you used before, followed by your witnesses. Check your details very carefully, otherwise you might have to pay a correction fee if any errors are found afterwards.
The law was amended on the 4 May 2021, to add mother or parents’ names to the marriage entry. The ceremony reflects this change. As such a signing of a schedule will take place at the end of the ceremony, rather than a signing of the Marriage book.
For a marriage ceremony, the superintendent registrar and the registrar will sign the entry. The legal certificate of marriage is not issued on the day of the ceremony but instead, you will be able to collect it after two working days, or have it posted (if you have requested this). You can, however, buy a commemorative certificate which can be presented on the day, if you so wish. After final words of congratulations, you will be invited to lead your guests out.
For civil partnership, the registrar will sign the entry, the ceremony will end, and after final words of congratulations, you will be invited to lead your guests out. You will be able to collect your legal certificate after two working days, or it can be posted (if you have requested this). You can, however, buy a commemorative certificate which can be presented on the day.
You can throw real or dried petal confetti outside of the Guildhall, but unfortunately confetti cannons or glitter confetti are not allowed anywhere. For other licensed venues, check with your chosen venue about confetti.