Registration of buildings for worship and marriage

Certifying a Place of Meeting for Religious Worship 

The Places of Worship Registration Act 1855 provides that a congregation may apply to have its place of worship certified by the Registrar General. 

Further information, application forms and current fees are provided online on the HM Government Services website.

If you are applying to certify the building for worship and would like to register the building for marriages at the same time, further information and application forms are also provided on the HM Government Services website.

A church or chapel of the Church of England does not need to apply to be recorded for religious worship. However, if they share their building with one or more non-conformist denominations a sharing agreement will need to be submitted, with the application made by the non-conformists.

Registering a Place of Religious Worship for the solemnisation of marriages

If your building is already certified as a place of worship with the Registrar General and you would like to be registered for the solemnisation of marriages, information and the application form is provided on the HM Government Services website.

Following registration of the building for marriages, all marriage ceremonies undertaken at the venue will require the attendance of a registrar unless an Authorised Person has been appointed. You must advise all couples who arrange a marriage ceremony in your building to contact us to arrange notice of marriage and check availability of the registrars far in advance as possible. Failure to do this may result in the legal preliminaries being missed, or the registrar not being available.

Same sex marriages

Trustees or proprietors of religious buildings may waish to 'opt-in' to hold marriages for same sex couples provided they have the consent of their governing body.

Those wishing to gain such consent can seek this in advance of the implementation of the Act. There is no prescribed form for this consent, GRO recommend it be in the form of a letter, preferably on headed paper. Once obtained it will need to be submitted to GRO with the relevant application form.

Forms to register the solmenisation of marriages have been updated to include reference to marriage of same sex couples. They are available to download from the gov.uk website.

Appointment of an Authorised Person

One year after a building has been registered for the solemnisation of marriages, the trustees or governing body can make a request to the General Register Office for the appointment of an Authorised Person(AP).  Once appointed the AP will undertake the registration of marriages in a set of marriage registers that will be issued for the building.

The form requesting the appointment of an Authorised Person (or an additional authorised person where one is already appointed) can be found on the HM Government Services website.

Same sex marriages

If a church already has an Authorised Person, they are not automatically authorised to register the marriage of a same sex couple and will need to seek approval from the GRO to do so. This form is available at the gov.uk website.

Guidance for Authorised Persons

Guidance and information for Authorised Persons can be found on the HM Government Services website.

Once an Authorised Person has been appointed, it is important that the General Register Office and the local registration service are notified of any change of contact details.  If any details change (such as name or email address), please complete a change of contact details notification form and send a copy to The General Register Office and a copy to the Registrars.

Guidance for the Clergy

It is the responsibility of the incumbent clergy to ensure that the legal requirements of marriages solemnized in accordance with the rites and ceremonies of the Church of England or Church in Wales are met, this includes:

  • marriage preliminaries
  • authority for and registration of marriage
  • the timely submission of the quarterly returns to the Superintendent Registrar.

Further information is provided online

Approving a Religious Premises as a Venue for Civil Partnerships

If you wish to apply to approve your religious premises as a venue for the registration of Civil Partnerships you must make application to the Local Authority, under the Marriages and Civil Partnerships (Approved Premises)(Amendment) Regulations 2011.

Guidance for applicants

Our Guidance for Applicants provides all the necessary information for new and exisitng approval holders including; 

  • The Application Process
  • Changes to the Approval
  • Conditions
  • Approval Holder Responsibilities

How to make an application

Email or post

You can download the application form and forward it to us by post or email. Email applications must include a contact telephone number for a member of our team to contact you to make payment. Please see our contact us page for our email and postal address. 

In person

By visiting us and paying the appropriate fee.  Payment can be made by cash, cheque, debit or credit card.  Cheques should be made payable to Wakefield Council.

Online

Order and pay online

Contact us

Wakefield Register Office

Wakefield Town Hall
Wood Street
Wakefield
WF1 2HQ

01924 302 185