Skip to content
Wakefield Council Home
Submit search

Ceremonies

Your current ceremony booking – what's happening?

The Government has revealed the new roadmap out of lockdown, which outlines four phases of easing restrictions from 8 March until 21 June.

Before proceeding to each next step of the roadmap, the Government will examine the data to assess the impact of previous changes.

The four conditions that must be met at each phase of lockdown easing are:

  • The COVID-19 vaccine programme continues to go to plan
  • Evidence shows vaccines are sufficiently reducing the number of people dying with the virus or needing hospital treatment
  • Infection rates do not risk a surge in hospital admissions
  • New variants of the virus do not fundamentally change the risk of lifting restrictions.

As is currently the case, the number allowed to attend includes the couple, witnesses and guests, but those working, such as registration officials and venue managers are not included.

Ceremonies no earlier than 12 April

Ceremonies will be able to take place in Covid-19 secure venues that are permitted to open with up to 15 people, this includes the couple.

If your ceremony is taking place in Wakefield Town Hall it can take place with up to 6x guests (8x people including the couple).  At Pontefract Town Hall it can take place with up to 8x guests (10x people including the couple). Children under 5 are not included.

Statutory ceremonies are limited to 2x guests only.

The number of guests at our venues is based on the buildings Covid-19 Secure Risk Assessment which ensures social distancing and other necessary measures are in place until the Government removes this requirement.

If your ceremony is taking place at an Approved Venue which is permitted to open it can take place with up to 13x guests (15x people including the couple) Children under 5 are not included.

Changes to the format of your ceremony and other restrictions apply please see below for further information.

Ceremonies no earlier than 17 May

Ceremonies will be able to take place in Covid-19 secure venues that are permitted to open with up to 30 people, this includes the couple.

If your ceremony is taking place in Wakefield Town Hall it can take place with up to 6x guests (8x people including the couple).  At Pontefract Town Hall it can take place with up to 8x guests (10x people including the couple) Children under 5 are not included.

Statutory ceremonies are limited to 2x guests only.

The number of guests at our venues is based on the buildings Covid-19 Secure Risk Assessment which ensures social distancing and other necessary measures are in place until the Government removes this requirement.

If your ceremony is taking place at an Approved Venue which is permitted to open it can take place with up to 28x guests (30x people including the couple). Children under 5 are not included.

Changes to the format of your ceremony and other restrictions apply please see below for further information.

Ceremonies no earlier than 21 June

The government aims to remove all limits on weddings, civil partnership ceremonies and receptions. This will be subject to the outcome of the scientific Events Research Programme, which will include a series of pilots using enhanced testing approaches and other measures to run events of larger sizes

What's next?

If you do not want your ceremony to take place within the restrictions outlined above we highly recommend you move your ceremony to a date after 4 October.

If you choose to reschedule your ceremony to a date before then please ensure you are happy for your ceremony to take place within any of the restrictions outlined in the Government road map, for example with limited guests, restrictions to the content of the ceremony as outlined on our website and no wedding reception possible. Any request to further reschedule due to government restrictions will incur a fee.#


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;
  • Only the maximum number of persons as outlined by the venue in their risk assessment can attend the ceremony. From Monday 28 September in England, all weddings, civil partnership ceremonies and any associated receptions will be restricted to 15 people. This maximum number includes all those attending, including the couple, witnesses and guests. However anyone working, for example registrars, photographers, security, staff employed by the venue, third-party suppliers or catering staff are not included
  • 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.

Only the maximum number of persons as outlined by the venue in their risk assessment can attend the ceremony. 

By law no more than 15 people can attend any marriage or civil partnership ceremony, even where large numbers could be accommodated with social distancing in a COVID-19 secure venue. 15 is the maximum number for all attendees at the event, including the couple and guests. Anyone working is not included as part of the legal limit.

Receptions for weddings and civil partnerships can continue to take place, in areas that are subject to 'local COVID alert level – medium and high' restrictions. No more than 15 people may attend.

Wedding receptions cannot take place in areas that are subject to 'local COVID alert level - very high' restrictions.

Ceremonies at Wakefield Town Hall - Room One and Lofthouse Suite additional restrictions/ammendments for ceremonies
until approximately 21 June

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.  Any photographer will be included in your guest numbers.

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

  • You and your guests must arrive together 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.
  • The following parts of the ceremony have been removed;
  • Separate entrance to partner and guests
  • Giving of the bride (or groom)
  • 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 at Pontefract Town Hall - Hartley Suite and Nelson Room additional restrictions/ammendments for ceremonies
until approximately 21 June

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. Any photographer will be included in your guest numbers.

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

  • You and your guests must arrive together 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.
  • The following parts of the ceremony have been removed;
  • Separate entrance to partner and guests
  • Giving of the bride (or groom)
  • 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

The Government has revealed the new roadmap out of lockdown, which outlines four phases of easing restrictions from 8 March until 21 June.

Before proceeding to each next step of the roadmap, the Government will examine the data to assess the impact of previous changes.

The four conditions that must be met at each phase of lockdown easing are:

  • The COVID-19 vaccine programme continues to go to plan
  • Evidence shows vaccines are sufficiently reducing the number of people dying with the virus or needing hospital treatment
  • Infection rates do not risk a surge in hospital admissions
  • New variants of the virus do not fundamentally change the risk of lifting restrictions.

If the conditions at any step are not met, subsequent steps will need to be pushed back in order to maintain the necessary five week period to assess the impact of each step and provide notice.

Therefore any ceremony taking place up to approximately October 2021 may be subject to government restrictions in line with the Government road map.

We highly recommend that if you wish to book a ceremony for this year you consider booking a date more than 15 weeks after the 21st June unless there are exceptional circumstances. If you choose to book a ceremony less than 15 weeks after the 21st June (before 4 October) please ensure you are happy for your ceremony to take place within restrictions, for example with limited guests, restrictions to the content of the ceremony as outlined on our website and no wedding reception possible.

If you choose to book a ceremony in light of this information but then decide to reschedule due to government restrictions that are in place at that time you will be required to pay a fee to move your ceremony booking to another date.

Should you wish to wait and see what government restrictions are in place we would recommend you refrain from making a booking. Bookings can be made no later than 8 weeks prior to any date you intend your ceremony to take place on.

If you choose to continue with your booking for a ceremony you will need to book online. Bookings are not taken by telephone.

Whilst we work through the recent changes your booking will be confirmed in 30 days rather than 2 days.

https://forms.wakefield.gov.uk/forms/registrars/ceremonybooking.aspx  


Changes to your ceremony from 4 May 2021

The Civil Partnerships, Marriages and Deaths (Registration Etc.) Act 2019

The Act will modernise how marriages are registered for the first time since 1837, by introducing a marriage schedule system and registration in an electronic register. It  will move away from the current paper register, introducing a more secure system for keeping marriage records, that is more efficient and simpler to administer. The electronic register will also allow for the names of parents of the couple (mother / father / parent) to be included in the marriage entry and on marriage certificates, instead of only their fathers' names as is currently the case.

Regulations to confirm the policy detail have been laid in Parliament and, , subject to approval, will come into force on 4 May 2021.

For more information about what this means for you and your marriage ceremony please visit https://www.wakefield.gov.uk/births-marriages-deaths/the-marriages-civil-partnerships-marriages-and-deaths-act-2019