Registration of buildings for worship and marriage

Certifications, registrations, and approvals

A building of worship

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

You can find more details, application forms, and current fees on the HM Government Services website here.

If you are applying to certify the building for worship and would like to register the building for marriage 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 and you want to register it for marriages, you can find information, and the application form on the HM Government Services website.

After registering the building for marriages, all ceremonies there will need a registrar. This is unless you appoint an Authorised Person. Make sure couples booking ceremonies in your building contact us to arrange notice of marriage and check registrar availability well in advance. Otherwise, legal steps may be missed, or the registrar may not be available.

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.

Approve a venue for marriage and civil partnership ceremonies

Any venue used for the solemnisation of civil marriages and the registration of civil partnerships must be approved by the Local Authority, under the
Marriages and Civil Partnerships (Approved Premises) Regulations 2005.

Approve an outdoor venue

The law has recently changed to allow ceremonies to take place outdoors in the grounds of an approved venue. If the venue wishes to offer this, then they must first obtain confirmation from the local authority that the location for any outdoor ceremony is seemly and dignified. You should contact the venue for more information.

If your chosen venue has an approved outdoor structure or outdoor linked area and you would like your wedding ceremony to take place there, the venue should provide you with a copy of an outdoor ceremony agreement form which must be completed and returned to us at least 8 weeks prior to your ceremony.

Please note that you should make additional plans with the venue to hold your ceremony in one of their approved ceremony rooms in case the weather is inclement on the day. The indoor ceremony room must be able to accommodate all of your invited guests.

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 website.


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 on the GOV.UK website.

Guidance for applicants

Our 'Guidance for Applicants' provides all the necessary information for new and existing 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. 


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.


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