Planning your marriage ceremony

1. Choosing a venue

Wedding ceremony at The Hepworth art gallery - Wakefield

Congratulations you're getting married!

At Wakefield Registration and Celebratory Services, we aim to provide all the information you need to begin planning your special day, whether it's in one of our Ceremony Rooms or an Approved Venue.

Choosing the venue for your wedding will be one of the most important decisions you will make.

Do you want a small, intimate ceremony with just yourself, your partner, and two witnesses?

Maybe you want a big ceremony, to celebrate with all your family and friends?

Either way, we have many wonderful venues to suit your needs.

Not sure what to ask?

Planning you ceremony can be daunting right from the get go. To help with this we've made a list of useful questions for you to ask potential venues, so you can make the right first step, and get the best out of your big day!

2. Reserve or reschedule your ceremony date

What is a Registrar?

A Registrar (also known as a Civil Registration Officer or Deputy Superintendent Registrar, Deputy Registrar) is a person appointed to legally perform and record marriages and civil partnerships. These take place at Approved Marriage and Civil Partnership venues in the Wakefield district.

What is a Celebrant?

A Celebrant is an independent person who performs non-legal ceremonies in any location.

Celebrate your ceremony with us

Two people, holding hands on their wedding day

At Wakefield our team of Registrars are trained to not only provide a legally binding marriage or civil partnership. They can also provide bespoke, personalised ceremonies that are unique to you as a couple.

Our only restriction is that civil ceremonies cannot be religious in nature. Therefore we are unable to include hymns, prayers or other religious rituals or symbols.

Once you have chosen your venue you need to book a ceremony date and time using our online booking form. Your booking will be confirmed within 5 days of submitting the form.

You can also use this form to reschedule an existing booking.

For information about Relevant and Foreign Nationals, please see the first page of the reserve or reschedule your ceremony form. This information can also be found on our Giving Notice of Marriage or Civil Partnership page here.

Please see the following link for more information if it applies to your situation:

3. Give notice of marriage

Lavish wedding invitation

Once you've confirmed your ceremony booking, the next step is to give notice of your ceremony, which is a legal requirement. 

All terms and conditions for giving your notice of your ceremony are covered on the first page of the form. Please read these carefully before completing the rest of the form. Please also note the form will take around 20 minutes to complete and make an appointment.

Please see the following links for information if they apply to your situation:

For more information on giving notice, please see our Giving Notice of Marriage or Civil Partnership page.

Once you have given notice of your ceremony, we will send/issue you our Ceremony Guide, which will include our ceremony arrangement form and help you plan your day.

These will be covered in more detail in the next step of the process: personalising your ceremony!

4. Personalise your ceremony

Hand fasting ritual being performed between two people

Now that you've given notice of your ceremony, it's time for the fun part: figuring out the details of your special day!

You can choose the music, readings, poems, or stories that you'd like to hear. You might want to perform a ring warming, or combine sand.

Marriage guides

The following guides have been designed to help you plan your day.

Please use the Town Hall Marriage Guide for the following venues:

  • The Nelson Room (Pontefract Town Hall)
  • The Hartley Suite (Pontefract Town Hall)
  • The Lofthouse Suite (Wakefield Town Hall)
  • Room One (Wakefield Town Hall)

For any other venues, please use the Approved Venues Marriage Guide.

Statutory ceremony appointment card

Information to consider

It is important that before you start the process of completing the ceremony arrangement form (which we will send after you give notice) you consider the following:

  • the form cannot be completed more than 10 weeks in advance of your ceremony
  • the form cannot be saved part way through, therefore you will need to have made decisions about your choices and have accompanying information to hand to attach
    • for example, your own vows or readings can be attached as a file document. It would be helpful to have a copy of one of our ceremony guides with you when completing the form
  • if your ceremony is at one of our Town Halls, we have a list of music available that we can provide for you to use for your ceremony
  • you will need your card details ready to make payment at the end of the process
  • you will receive an email confirming its receipt with a copy of the information you have completed, and an email confirming payment
  • if you have any problems completing your form please contact the Ceremonies Co-ordinator by email at providing your contact number and we will call you to provide guidance

Bespoke ceremony meeting

You can also contact our registrars team at, or book a bespoke ceremony meeting to discuss the ceremony arrangement form, or any other details with us.

5. About paying for your ceremony

Once you have decided on the content of your ceremony and the people you will involve, you will need to complete the ceremony arrangement form and make payment.

You can find more information about pricing on our Paying for your ceremony page, but here’s an overview:

  • non-refundable booking fee – a fee to secure your ceremony date and time
  • notice of marriage fee – a statutory fee for each person to give their notice of intention to marry
  • ceremony fee – is subject to the venue, day and time of your ceremony
  • certificate fee – statutory fee of £12.50 for each certificate you require
  • postage fee – fee to send certificates purchased, by first class signed for post after the ceremony
Wedding ceremony venue

All other fees contained in the paying for your wedding ceremony page are for additional non-essential services.

Your ceremony fee, certificate fee and postage fee should be paid full 8 to 10 weeks in advance of your ceremony. Payment can be made online (except for statutory ceremonies) when completing your ceremony choices.

6. Our Happy Couples

Happy couple sat smiling together on a sofa

Want to see what other couples did for their special day?

Hear about how they used our services to celebrate their, day their way!

7. After your ceremony

Marriage certificate

Your marriage certificate will be posted to you seven to ten working days after your ceremony.

Re-registration of the birth of your child after your marriage

If you and your partner got married or formed a civil partnership after your baby's birth and want the birth record to show your child as part of your marriage/civil partnership, follow these steps:

  • download and fill out the LA1 form
  • send the form by email to or mail it to Wakefield Register Office, Wood Street, Wakefield, WF1 2HQ
  • once we receive the completed form, we'll contact you to schedule an appointment. Only one parent needs to attend, bringing the signed LA1 form and required documents
  • if your marriage occurred outside the UK, your application will need approval from the General Register Office. Let us know before booking your appointment
  • at the appointment to re-register you can buy a new birth certificate

It is free to re-register a birth. If you wish to buy a copy of the new birth certificate, it costs £12.50 per copy.

Changes to your passport

If you are planning to amend your passport into your married name before your ceremony - to become valid on the date of your ceremony - you need to complete a standard application form along with a form PD2 which you can obtain:

Please note: the new passport will be dated to become valid on the day of your ceremony and therefore cannot be used before. Similarly, when His Majesty’s Passport Office cancels your old passport, any visas on that passport may become invalid.

There is also a leaflet (PD1) entitled ‘Passports for Newly Weds and Civil Partners’, which explains exactly what to do. After you have completed your section of the PD2 form, the Superintendent Registrar will also need to complete part of the form. Please contact our office to book an appointment.

If you decide to change your name on your passport after your marriage, you need only complete and send a standard application form along with the required documents to His Majesty’s Passport Office. The form PD2 is not required.

Name change after marriage ceremony

To change your name after your marriage ceremony, please view the guidance page on here.

Give us feedback from your ceremony

If you'd like to give us feedback from your marriage ceremony, please visit our customer feedback, consultations, and news page.

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