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Civil marriage ceremonies

A civil marriage is a wedding that takes place without any religious affiliation. A government or civil official performs the ceremony and it has a legal status.

Before you marry you must first give notice of your intention to marry.

The civil marriage is completed once both parties have declared themselves free to marry and have agreed to marry each other using the prescribed form of words, in the presence of the registration staff and two witnesses.

At the end of the ceremony, the registrar will make the entry in the marriage register for you and your witnesses to sign. You will then be presented with a certified copy of the entry in the register for your marriage.

Civil marriages can be held for opposite and same sex couples.

There are two options for civil marriages:


A registration will comprise only of the couple, two witnesses, up to two guests and the registration officers conducting the legalities. The registration will take place in a designated room at a registration office. Although you would not have music or readings, it is still an occasion where you can make your legal commitment to each other. Our register office is in Kingswood and available Monday to Friday.


A ceremony allows you to make choices about the words you wish to say to each other and can include readings and music. You may invite as many guests as the room is licensed to hold but this number must include the couple and the two registration officers.

We conduct ceremonies at Poole Court in Yate and there are a number of other premises for civil marriages.

See our ceremonies brochure for more information on civil marriages.

Photography and videos

Photography is not permitted during the ceremony, however time will be allowed at the end of the ceremony for photos.

Video cameras may be used provided that the superintendent registrar has agreed.

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