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Ceremonies

Your current ceremony booking – what's happening?

On Monday 29 June we received guidance from both the General Register Office and the government in respect of small marriages and civil partnerships.

Further guidance was received on 5th August in respect of face coverings at ceremonies.

We are now in a position to advise what the guidance means for you and the impact on your ceremony.

Please click on the links below to read more details on each.

Change to the format of the ceremony

The government's guidance provides that ceremonies should be concluded in the shortest reasonable time, and limited as far as reasonably possible to the parts of the marriage or civil partnership that are required in order to be legally binding under the law of England and Wales.

Regrettably, your ceremony will be limited to the declaratory words, contracting words and ring vows.  The following parts of the ceremony have had to be removed:

  • Giving of the bride (or groom) unless the venue is able to provide this option whilst maintaining a social distance;
  • The role of the ring bearer;
  • Readings and other ceremony enhancements;
  • Optional vows and
  • Optional promises.

Other matters about your ceremony that you need to be aware of include:

  • If you become symptomatic or are isolating you must contact us to reschedule your ceremony;
  • If witnesses or guests become symptomatic or are isolating they must not attend the ceremony;
  • For ceremonies in 'our venues' you will need to provide the full names and contact telephone numbers of your witnesses and guests by email to ceremonies@wakefield.gov.uk  before your ceremony. If these change on the day of the ceremony you will need to provide this information at reception;
  • The maximum number of persons as outlined by the venue in their risk assessment only can attend the ceremony.  This cannot exceed 30 people and includes the registrars, you and others involved in your ceremony;
  • If you require the use of a translator, they are required to sign the register as a witness to the marriage, and must be included in the maximum number of persons who can attend your ceremony;
  • Children over 1 year old are included in the maximum number of persons that can attend your ceremony.  Where children attend ceremonies parents are responsible for ensuring they are supervised at all times and must ensure they follow social distancing guidelines;
  • You and your guests must comply with social distancing measures put in place by the venue;
  • You and your guests must arrive timely to enable your ceremony to start on time.  In cases of lateness, the registrars reserve the right to delay the ceremony. In these circumstances, additional charges may apply;
  • You and your witnesses are welcome to bring your own pen to sign the register.  A fountain pen will be provided if forgotten;
  • Only two witnesses are able to sign the register.  Each person is asked to clean their hands with antibacterial hand gel before signing the register.  Witnesses should be seated at the front of the ceremony room to enable ease of access to sign the register.  To assist please advise your venue so they can arrange seating;
  • Photo opportunities will be limited to those taken by guests or a photographer from their seats.  We are unable to provide photo opportunities with an additional register. Guests may live stream the ceremony should you wish;
  • Additional guests cannot be invited to congregate outside of the building for the duration of the ceremony or afterwards to congratulate you.  This is to prevent people gathering and congregating together and to ensure that the entrance to the building is free for people to enter and exit safely.
  • In line with government guidance, guests at ceremonies are required to wear a face covering. This applies to all guests except those exempt for health, age or equality reasons. 

  • The couple are not required to wear a face covering but you are welcome to if you choose. When wearing a face covering you should wash your hands or use hand sanitiser before putting your face covering on and after taking it off and it is important that you don't touch your face covering when wearing it, where possible, to avoid hand to mask transmission of the virus.

Ceremonies from 6th July at Approved Venues

Approved venues in the Wakefield District have been asked to undertake and provide a copy of a risk assessment in respect of wedding ceremonies.  On receipt of this the Registration Service will inspect the venue and confirm if it is satisfactory for us to attend to undertake ceremonies.  We will work with and support venues to ensure this is completed before the first ceremonies are scheduled to take place. 

Only the maximum number of persons as outlined by the venue in their risk assessment can attend the ceremony. This cannot exceed 30 people and includes the registrars, you and others involved in your ceremony.

Ceremonies from 1 August at Wakefield Town Hall - Room One and Lofthouse Suite
  • Your ceremony will take place in the Lofthouse Suite ceremony room. 

    Wakefield Town Hall is a multi-occupancy and multi-purpose building and to be Covid-19 Secure in line with Government guidelines we have had to make changes to where, when and how often we are able offer ceremonies.

    The occupancy of the Lofthouse Suite ceremony room is 10 people, this includes the 2 registrars required to undertake the ceremony, you the couple and a maximum of 6 guests.

    As well as the information provided above you need to be aware of the following;

    •You and your guests must arrive 15 minutes before your ceremony start time, if early we will be unable to accommodate you.  In cases of lateness, the registrars reserve the right to delay the ceremony. In these circumstances, additional charges may apply.

    •Music must be chosen from the music options available on our website or contained on one CD.  Personal mobiles or devices containing music cannot be used. We cannot facilitate live music.

    Test and Trace

    The Registration Service will record the following information about the bride or groom as the lead member of your wedding party attending the Town Hall;

    Name and contact details e.g. telephone number, OR email address, OR home address

    This information will be used to maintain correct records of staff, customers and visitors to support NHS Test and Trace service.

    NHS Test and Trace is a key part of the country's ongoing COVID-19 response. The idea is to rapidly detect people who have recently come into close contact with a new COVID-19 case, and then take swift action to minimise transmission of the virus.

    Containing outbreaks early is crucial to reduce the spread of COVID-19, protect the NHS and social care sector, and save lives. This will help to avoid the re-introduction of lockdown measures and support the country to return to, and maintain, a more normal way of life.

    The information will only be shared with NHS Test and Trace only where it is necessary, either because someone who has tested positive for COVID-19 has listed a place they visited recently, where you were present at the same time, or because those premises have been identified as the location of a potential local outbreak of COVID-19.

    More information


Ceremonies from 1 August at Pontefract Town Hall - Hartley Suite and Nelson Room
  • Your ceremony will take place in the Nelson Room. 

    Pontefract Town Hall is a multi-purpose building and to be Covid-19 Secure in line with Government guidelines we have had to make changes to when and how often we are able offer ceremonies. To accommodate all bookings this may mean that we need to discuss a change to the date and time of your ceremony. 

    The occupancy of the Nelson Room is 12 people, this includes the registrars required to undertake the ceremony, you the couple and a maximum of 8 guests.

    As well as the information provided above you need to be aware of the following;

    •You and your guests must arrive 15 minutes before your ceremony start time. to enable your ceremony to start on time, if early we will be unable to accommodate you.  In cases of lateness, the registrars reserve the right to delay the ceremony. In these circumstances, additional charges may apply.

    •Music must be chosen from the music options available on our website or contained on one CD.  Personal mobiles or devices containing music cannot be used. We cannot facilitate live music.

    Test and Trace

    The Registration Service will record the following information about the bride or groom as the lead member of your wedding party attending the Town Hall;

    Name and contact details e.g. telephone number, OR email address, OR home address

    This information will be used to maintain correct records of staff, customers and visitors to support NHS Test and Trace service.

    NHS Test and Trace is a key part of the country's ongoing COVID-19 response. The idea is to rapidly detect people who have recently come into close contact with a new COVID-19 case, and then take swift action to minimise transmission of the virus.

    Containing outbreaks early is crucial to reduce the spread of COVID-19, protect the NHS and social care sector, and save lives. This will help to avoid the re-introduction of lockdown measures and support the country to return to, and maintain, a more normal way of life.

    The information will only be shared with NHS Test and Trace only where it is necessary, either because someone who has tested positive for COVID-19 has listed a place they visited recently, where you were present at the same time, or because those premises have been identified as the location of a potential local outbreak of COVID-19.

    More information

     


Statutory Ceremonies

Both town halls are multi-purpose buildings and to be Covid-19 Secure in line with Government guidelines we have had to make changes to where, when and how often we are able to offer statutory ceremonies.. 

As well as the information provided above you need to be aware of the following:

•You and your witnesses must arrive 15 minutes before your ceremony start time, if early we will be unable to accommodate you.  In cases of lateness, the registrars reserve the right to delay the ceremony. In these circumstances, additional charges may apply.

Test and Trace

The Registration Service will record the following information about the bride or groom as the lead member of your wedding party attending the Town Hall;

Name and contact details e.g. telephone number, OR email address, OR home address

This information will be used to maintain correct records of staff, customers and visitors to support NHS Test and Trace service.

NHS Test and Trace is a key part of the country's ongoing COVID-19 response. The idea is to rapidly detect people who have recently come into close contact with a new COVID-19 case, and then take swift action to minimise transmission of the virus.

Containing outbreaks early is crucial to reduce the spread of COVID-19, protect the NHS and social care sector, and save lives. This will help to avoid the re-introduction of lockdown measures and support the country to return to, and maintain, a more normal way of life.

The information will only be shared with NHS Test and Trace only where it is necessary, either because someone who has tested positive for COVID-19 has listed a place they visited recently, where you were present at the same time, or because those premises have been identified as the location of a potential local outbreak of COVID-19.

More information

New ceremony booking

If you wish to book a ceremony please ensure you have read the information provided above. If you choose to continue with your booking for a ceremony you will need to book online. Bookings are not currently being taken by telephone https://forms.wakefield.gov.uk/forms/registrars/ceremonybooking.aspx