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Ceremonies

Your current ceremony booking – what's happening?

The Government has announced a 4 week pause at Step 3 of the road map, meaning restrictions remain in place until 19th July 2021.  However, from 21 June, the rules on the number of people who can attend a wedding or civil partnership ceremony will change.  

Ceremonies will be able to take place in Covid-19 secure venues that are permitted to open with the amount of attendees the venue can safely accommodate with social distancing measures in place, including guests of all ages and anyone working at the event. Some restrictions will remain in place to enable them to take place safely. This includes table service requirements, face coverings, social distancing, and restrictions on dancing and singing, as at present.

More information can be found here;

Coronavirus (COVID-19): Wedding and civil partnership ceremonies, receptions and celebrations - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

Ceremonies from 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 of all ages are included in the limit of attendees.

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 of all ages are included in the limit of attendees for both weddings and wedding receptions.

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:

  • The role of the ring bearer;
  • Readings and other ceremony enhancements;
  • Optional vows and
  • Optional promises.

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

Ceremonies from 21 June

If your ceremony is taking place in Wakefield Town Hall it can take place with up to 6x guests (8x people including the couple) in the Lofthouse Suite. At Pontefract Town Hall it can take place with up to 8x guests (10x people including the couple) in the Nelson Room.  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 it can take place with the amount of attendees the venue can safely accommodate with social distancing measures in place, including guests of all ages and anyone working at the event in line with their Covid19 Secure Risk assessment for weddings.  Please contact your venue for further information.

I want to go ahead with my ceremony with the restrictions in place

If you wish to go ahead with your ceremony in line with the current government guidance please read the additional information provided on this webpage so that you are aware of the changes to the format of the ceremony and additional restrictions currently in place.

If you didn't take the opportunity to enhance your ceremony fully when you completed the form, please provide the additional ceremony content in your email advising us of your option.  A copy of your ceremony guide can be found at https://www.wakefield.gov.uk/births-marriages-deaths/ceremonies/marriage

We will begin contacting all couples with ceremonies scheduled after 21 June and up to 19 July in date and time order from Wednesday 16th June from a withheld telephone number. 

We ask that you please wait to be contacted.  All of our resources will be working hard to make contact by telephone, any correspondence sent regarding ceremonies scheduled to take place up to 19 July will not be answered until we have undertaken this task.  Please advise us of your wish to go ahead and any ceremony enhancements when we contact you.

If your ceremony is booked in Room One or the Hartley Suite and you wish to go ahead we may need to contact you to discuss a different time as your ceremony will need to take place in the Lofthouse Suite or Nelson Room, we will contact you directly to discuss how this might impact the time of your ceremony.

I do not want my ceremony to take place within the restrictions

If you do not want your ceremony to take place within the guidelines outlined above we highly recommend you move your ceremony to a date after 4 October 2021. If you choose to reschedule your ceremony before this date 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 and restrictions to the content of the ceremony as outlined on our website.. Any request to further reschedule due to government restrictions will incur a fee.

If your booking was made or your ceremony was rescheduled during the pandemic for a ceremony date before 19 July you will incur a reschedule fee as you were advised that restrictions could be in place until 4 October 2021. 

If your booking was made prior to the pandemic or in the first lockdown where the situation was unknown your ceremony will be moved free of charge.

We will begin contacting all couples with ceremonies scheduled after 21 June in date and time order from Wednesday 16th June from a withheld telephone number to take any necessary payment and reschedule your ceremony.  If your ceremony is at an approved venue please agree a date and time with them so that we can complete the reschedule with you when we call.

We ask that you please wait to be contacted, all of our resources will be working hard to make contact by telephone.  Any correspondence sent regarding ceremonies scheduled to take place up to 19th July will not be answered until we have undertaken this task.

We have many couples to speak to and this will take time. 

Ceremonies from 19 July

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.

Unfortunately until the government confirm the easing of restrictions the changes we have made to our venues and ceremonies remain in place. After the government announcement, we normally receive guidance in respect of ceremonies within 2-3 days, once we have received this guidance and established how it impacts our customers we will be in touch by email, alongside this we will update our website and auto response.

New ceremony bookings

Once you have chosen your venue you need to book a ceremony date and time. The booking form is not linked to a diary system, therefore we will need to check the date and time you have requested is available before confirming your ceremony.

The Government's decision to extend restrictions impacts an extremely large volume of ceremonies scheduled within the next 4 weeks. We will therefore have to restrict the things we can do and the choices we are able to give our customers wishing to make new ceremony bookings.

Whilst we undertake this work we are unable to accept new booking requests at Wakefield Town Hall or Pontefract Town Hall only until after 19 July 2021, therefore the earliest date you will be able to request a ceremony to take place on, is week commencing 13 September 2021. 

If we manage to support our customers in rescheduling their ceremonies sooner we will open our diaries

If you choose to make a booking for a ceremony you will need to book online. Bookings are not taken by telephone.  Whilst we work through the changes your booking will be confirmed in 30 days rather than 2 days.

Changes to the process of giving notice of marriage or civil partnership will take effect on 1 July 2021.

If you are not a relevant national we highly recommend you do not  book a ceremony until you have a confirmed notice of marriage appointment with your local register office and that the ceremony date you choose is more than 70 days after this date. 

The definition of a relevant national is;

  • a British Citizen
  • an Irish Citizen
  • A person who has been granted EU Settlement Scheme (EUSS) status (either settled or pre-settled or has a pending application for that status (submitted before 30th June 2021).

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

Changes to the process of giving notice of marriage or civil partnership from 1 July 2021

Immigration laws change from 1 July 2021 and the process for giving notice and the documentation required will change dependent on your nationality. 

The definition of a relevant national is;

  • a British Citizen
  • an Irish Citizen
  • A person who has been granted EU Settlement Scheme (EUSS) status (either settled or pre-settled or has a pending application for that status (submitted before 30 June 2021).

Currently we are only be able to book notice appointments to take place on or after 1 July for British or Irish Citizens.

After the 24 June 2021 we will be able to book notice appointments to take place on or after 1 July for non-relevant nationals where one party lives in the district. We will also be able to advise persons who have been granted EUSS status about how to arrange an appointment.

Any person who claims to have EUSS status will be required to provide a unique code when booking their notice appointment. Information about how to do this will be provided shortly.

If you are not a relevant national or we are unable to confirm satisfactory EUSS status please be aware that the 28 day statutory notice period may be extended to 70 days. 

If you are looking to book a ceremony we highly recommend you book this once you have a confirmed notice of marriage appointment with your local register office and that the ceremony date you choose is more than 70 days after this date.  Any changes after booking is made will incur a charge.

If you already have a ceremony booked and are unable to book a notice appointment until after the 24 June 2021 (for a date after 1 July) we will try our best to schedule an appointment as soon as possible but you must consider the impact on your ceremony should your local register office be unable to facilitate a timely appointment and/or the statutory waiting period is extended to 70 days. 


Covid-19 requirements;
  • 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;
  • 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
  • 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 schedule. 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;
  • 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 at Wakefield Town Hall - Lofthouse Suite additional restrictions/ammendments for ceremonies
until approximately 19 July

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.
  • You and your guests are required to check in using the NHS QR code on entry into the building. If you or your guests do not have the NHS app you/they will be asked to provide contact details
  • 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. https://www.wakefield.gov.uk/transparencynotices/test-trace-privacy-notice.pdf
Ceremonies at Pontefract Town Hall - Nelson Room additional restrictions/ammendments for ceremonies
until approximately 19 July

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.
  • You and your guests are required to check in using the NHS QR code on entry into the building.  If you or your guests do not have the NHS app you/they will be asked to provide contact details
  • 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. https://www.wakefield.gov.uk/transparencynotices/test-trace-privacy-notice.pdf


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.

  • You and your guests are required to check in using the NHS QR code on entry into the building.  If you or your guests do not have the NHS app you/they will be asked to provide contact details

  • 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. https://www.wakefield.gov.uk/transparencynotices/test-trace-privacy-notice.pdf