Number of people you can have at your Register Office ceremony
This depends on the venue for your ceremony. Our venues have been individually risk assessed to ensure the utmost safety for you, your guests and our staff. If you already have a ceremony booked, we will be in contact as soon as possible with further information. The capacity of each Register Office ceremony room is below. Capacity includes the two Registrars and the couple, and any other role eg. photographer.
- Basingstoke - Wellesley x12, Carnarvon x10
- Fareham - Constable Room x8, The Keep x8
- Winchester - Avalon x6, Basing Room x9, Castle Room x14
- Aldershot - x10
- Alton - x9
- Romsey -x6
- Ringwood - x8
- Petersfield - x8
Video, Skype, Zoom etc
Anyone at your ceremony is welcome to video in the Register Office or at an Approved Venue. This must not cause any disruption or delay to your ceremony. The phone/camera and online connections etc must be in place and activated before your ceremony starts. Please note that we do not have staff or equipment to assist with this.
In line with Government guidance, face coverings are not required for the ceremony couple but all guests attending the ceremony must wear face coverings unless they are exempt. Guidance and details about exemptions.
Readings at ceremonies are not currently allowed
Government guidance requires that a ceremony should take as little time as possible and be restricted to the legal formalities only. This means that unfortunately we currently cannot allow readings during your ceremony. We suggest that you have your readings during any planned speeches or celebrations after the ceremony.
Recorded music at your ceremony
Any music you have should be non-religious. If your ceremony is in one of our Register Office ceremony rooms, the music will need to be played on a mobile phone or portable speaker by one of your guests and set up before your ceremony starts, to avoid any delays. Please note that we do not have equipment or staff to assist with this.
If your ceremony is at an Approved Venue, then you may wish to discuss with the venue how your music can be played during the ceremony. We request that where music is played before, during or after the ceremony, that it is incidental music and does not unnecessarily prolong the ceremony.
Due to current restrictions on room capacities to allow for social distancing we do not allow live music at Register Office ceremonies.
If you and your partner do not want to see each other before the ceremony. How will this work?
Due to current social distancing measures in our Register Offices, the pre-marriage interview will likely need to take place in the ceremony room with you both together. However, if your ceremony is at an Approved Venue you may wish to speak to them and see what might be possible. When the Registrars arrive to conduct your ceremony, they will liaise with the venue to discuss your arrangements.
Making an entrance/walking down the aisle
This is not available in all Register Offices, but we have accommodated this in our ceremony rooms in Winchester, Fareham, Alton, Aldershot, Petersfield, and Basingstoke (weekends only). Even if your pre-ceremony interview has been held with you both together, when the ceremony starts, you can walk from the doorway to meet your partner at the front of the room.
If your ceremony is at an Approved Venue you may wish to speak to them and see what might be possible. When the Registrars arrive to conduct your ceremony, they will liaise with the venue to discuss your arrangements.
Additional vows and promises
Current Government guidance asks Registrars to keep the ceremony short and contained within the legal requirements only. However, we do appreciate how special your ceremony will be to you both and so the Registrar will accommodate some short additional personal vows and promises if you wish. Please ensure that you have copies of these to refer to during the ceremony as the Registrar will not be able to handle copies of your vows on the day. Discuss the arrangements with the Registrars on the day when they arrive.
If you postpone your ceremony then you must give notice again
Once you have an alternative date booked with our ceremonies team please book your notice of marriage online. If you have any problems with booking an appointment please contact the ceremonies team who will be happy to help.
Should families sit in their households/bubbles?
If your ceremony is in one of our Register Office ceremony rooms, chairs will be set down two meters apart in line with our COVID-secure arrangements and cannot be changed. If your ceremony is at an Approved Venue, you, your partner and any guests will always need to keep a distance of at least two meters from the Registrars. You may wish to discuss a suitable COVID-secure seating plan with your venue in advance, as this will need to be agreed before the Registrars arrive.