Planning your wedding

In England and Wales there are certain conditions that must be met for a couple to marry such as:-

Are you both over the age of 18?


If not then you may still be able to marry if you are aged between 16 and 17 when the marriage is contracted.  In this case parental consent is required.  For further information you need to speak to our expert team for advice prior to booking.

Are you both British Citizens?

If not but you are both citizens of the European Economic Area then you will be treated as British Citizens and will qualify to marry.
If one or neither of you are British or citizens of the European Economic Area then you will be subject to immigration control and will need specialist advice from our expert team prior to booking.

Are you legally free to marry?

In Cumbria we do not take ceremony bookings for those who do not have the legal capacity to marry.  For example where divorce proceedings are underway, and have not fully completed, or where appropriate visa's may not yet be in place. 

Please be reassured however if you are divorced and your decree absolute has been granted you are of course now legally free to marry. If your divorce papers were issued outside of the British Isles there will be an additional fee as these documents will require additional checking.

If you are in doubt whether your own circumstances prevent you from booking please contact our expert team prior to booking.

Is there anything stopping you from marrying each other?

This is known as prohibited degrees of relationship.

You will be asked if you have ever been related to each other by blood, marriage, adoption, civil partnership or surrogacy.

If you answer yes to any of those then please contact our expert team prior to booking as you may still be able to proceed.

Do you both live in England or Wales?

Even if you are British Citizens, the legal system in Scotland and N. Ireland is different and they are therefore considered as foreign countries for the purposes of Registration.  If you live outside England or Wales then you may be subject to residency requirements before you can marry here.  Please discuss this with our expert team prior to booking. 

After reading this, if you think you may not or do not qualify to marry then please don't be concerned as it doesn't mean you can't get married.  This may mean you don't qualify for a straight forward booking but need specialist advice from our team of expert Registration Officers who will help and support you.  They can be contacted as follows:-

Email:   registrationservice@cumbria.gov.uk

Contact:  Ceremony Enquiry Form

Telephone: 0300 303 2472

 We recommend using the Email or the Ceremony Enquiry Form as the telephone lines are very busy.

Firstly may we offer our congratulations!  We are delighted that you are considering Cumbria for your ceremony and can't wait to work with you to make your day special.

If you have not already visited our brochure on the previous page "Say I Will, in Cumbria and The Lakes" we would highly recommend you do this.  It contains lots of valuable information as well as photos and details of over 170 stunning venues throughout Cumbria.

Especially for those of you live outside the area we have also created a "find my nearest" tool which will help identify which hotels are licenced to hold Civil Weddings in the area of your choice.  By clicking on the venue it will take you to their website.

Once you have a shortlist of venues it is best to visit them where possible to meet staff and ensure you are happy with everything.  It has to be just right for your special day and in Cumbria our venues strive for the highest standards of customer care.

When you feel you've found the venue for your ceremony there are a few important points we would like to make you aware of before you begin making your arrangements.

  • In England and Wales, for a marriage in a licensed venue you require a Superintendent Registrar and Registrar of Marriages to attend from the Registration Service in that district (Cumbria).  Without our presence the marriage is not legal. 

  • Whilst every effort will be made to allow your ceremony on the date and at the time you desire we cannot guarantee you will get your first choice so ask them for some dates and times that suit you both to hold the ceremony.  Please do not confirm the booking with the venue or pay any fees or deposits until The Registration Service have confirmed our availability to attend.

  • It is your responsibility to book the services of the Registration staff and venue separately.  The earlier you book the better and in Cumbria we will take bookings for up to 24 months in advance.

  • It's important to note that weddings can only be held in a venue with a valid license at the time of the ceremony.  It is your responsibility to check this with the venue.

Dates

In Cumbria we take bookings all year round with the exception of Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Year's Day.

Certain times of the year will be busier than others but we will always do our best to accommodate you.

Please give consideration to the location of your ceremony and the British weather when making your choice.  Some of our venues may be harder than others to access in certain weather conditions.
(Please note our weather policy which is within the terms and conditions)

Times

In Cumbria we offer ceremonies from 8am to 6pm.
This means the latest ceremony will start at 5pm to ensure it's finished by 6pm.
There are certain peak times within the day that will be booked up quickly so the quicker you book the better!

Legal Timeframe

Whilst we'll take provisional bookings for 2 years in advance in Cumbria, your booking only becomes confirmed once you have completed your legal paperwork.

This legal paperwork is covered in another section but is known as your Notice Of Intent to Marry.  This notice can only be given within 12 months of your planned ceremony as it is only valid for 12 months.  We recommend you give notice around 10-11 months prior to the booked date so that if you have any unforeseen reason to change the date the paperwork has some flexibility. 

When giving notice you are announcing your intent to marry and by historic law, the public have a right to object.  Any objection must be based on law (such as you're still married or under age) rather than any personal reasons.

There is a period after your giving notice before the legal authorities for marriage can be produced to allow for such objections.  If both parties are British or citizens of the European Economic Area then this is 28 days with the paperwork authorised on the 29th day.  This can however take longer if there are any foreign papers to consider such as a divorce.

If either party is subject to immigration control this period of notice can be extended by the Home Office for up to 70 days and we cannot proceed with the ceremony until we have received their clearance.

If you require an urgent ceremony on health or other grounds please refer to the button bar on the right hand side of the screen "Emergency Ceremonies" or contact our team of expert Registration Officers for guidance and support at

Email  registrationservice@cumbria.gov.uk

Contact: Ceremony Enquiry Form

Telephone 0300 303 2472

We recommend using the Email or the Ceremony Enquiry Form as the telephone lines are very busy.

Ok so you're getting there - you know you're free to marry and you've established where you want the ceremony to take place and have some dates and times in mind.

The next step is to establish how much it will cost before making the booking.

Booking Fee

Every wedding we book is charged a booking fee. 

This is separate from the ceremony itself and must be paid at the time of booking to secure the slot.

It is non-transferrable and non-refundable

Amendment Fee

If you alter the date time or venue of your ceremony this will incur a fee for the work involved.  This fee is non-transferrable and non-refundable

Legal Paperwork

If you both live within England or Wales you will have to attend an office to give your notices of intent.  This is covered below.  This is a statutory fee

Ceremony Fee

There is a fee for the services of Cumbria Registration Service managing and attending your ceremony and this must be paid at least 3 calendar months before your ceremony date.

Failure to do so may result in a late payment fee.

Certificate Fees

You can order as many certificates as you like.  Often people like to keep one that they never send away and then a few to send off to people after the event to update records.  This is also a statutory fee per certificate.

As well as your legal certificates you can purchase commemorative ones too.  These are a lovely keepsake for you as well as parents or grandparents.  Please note these are not legal certificates and cannot be used for any official purpose.

Cancellation

 Please note if you cancel your ceremony our refund policy is as follows:-

  • Cancelled more than 3 months prior to the date - full refund of the ceremony fee

  • Cancelled less than 3 months prior to the date - 50% refund

  • Cancelled within 1 month of the ceremony - no refund is given

  • Please note the booking fee and any amendment fees are non-refundable
    The date of cancellation is deemed as the date the written cancellation is received by Cumbria Registration Service.


Our fees are regularly reviewed and updated.  Cumbria Registrations Service Fees and Charges 

Fabulous!  We couldn't be happier that you've decided to book your wedding in Cumbria.

There are a few different ways to make a booking as follows:-

Complete our Ceremony enquiry form

This is the fastest way to enquire.  We have designed a simple form for you to complete which goes straight to the expert Registration Officers.  We answer these in order so you don't miss out and it allows us to read through what you want and see what we can do to help before getting back in touch with you to make arrangements and take a booking fee.

Email

You can simply email us at registrationservice@cumbria.gov.uk and we will do our best to help, however this will most likely involve a few emails back and forth whilst we gather the information.  The online enquiry form may be a better option to get all the information we need so it doesn't delay the booking.

Telephone

Cumbria is a large county but with a low population.  We are a fairly small registration service but with a great big heart.  We promise we go above and beyond to try and get back to you as quickly as we can however such a beautiful and popular place with many of the best venues in the entire country means high call volumes.  The number is 0300 303 2472

If you do telephone then the call may go to voicemail.  Please don't keep trying as this again delays the booking.  If you leave a message we will get back to you as soon as possible to gather the information we need and see what we can do to help. Please leave a number we can contact you on, usually a mobile is best. 
Remember if you don't leave a message we don't know you've called!

Face to face

We have six offices around the county with varying opening hours
These offices are run on an appointment basis
If you attend to speak with a Registration Officer it is likely that they will be with a client undertaking a registration
You could have a lengthy wait until they have a gap in their diary.

Agree & Book

Once you have chatted through all your details and requirements our officers will book your ceremony on our electronic system and send you a provisional confirmation

We recommend that you provide an email address as this means we have the fastest and simplest way of communicating with you throughout your arrangements.  We don't share your details with anyone and it's only used for your ceremony.  For further information please see our privacy statement.

The provisional letter will set out all the details for your day and confirm the next steps with a few terms and conditions of booking.

Pay Booking Fee

At the point of booking the booking fee must be paid. Ideally this will be paid by card over the telephone using a debit or credit card in your name.

If you don't have a card or someone else is making the payment, we are happy to take a card payment from a friend or family member however you would need to call together so you could confirm your details etc. and then we need to speak with the card holder to take the payment.

Remember this is non-refundable and non-transferrable and is not a deposit toward the ceremony.

Once the payment has been taken successfully we will send you a receipt for the service by email and also our card system will send you a receipt for the transaction

Legal Paperwork

In Cumbria you should have a provisional booking as above before completing your legal paperwork.

Before you can marry there are certain formalities required by law.  You must both attend the Register Office in the district in which you live to inform them of your intention to marry.  This is called "giving notice" and you must attend in person.

Giving notice of your intent to marry will take around 30 minutes per person.  You need to arrange an appointment in the registration district where you live.  You may live in different districts and so would attend separately.  If you both live in Cumbria your appointment to give notice of intent would be booked with us and you can usually book online.

Please remember if you don't both live within England or Wales then special arrangements will apply.  Please do not follow this guidance but refer to the section to the right of this screen on the sidebar entitled Residency.

Notice can only be given within 12 months of your planned ceremony as it is only valid for 12 months.  We recommend you give notice around 10-11 months prior to the booked date so that if you have any unforeseen reason to change the date the paperwork has some flexibility. 

When giving notice you are announcing your intent to marry and by historic law, the public have a right to object.  Any objection must be legal (such as you're still married or under age) rather than any personal reasons.

There is a period after your giving notice before the legal authorities for marriage can be produced to allow for such objections.  If both parties are British or citizens of the European Economic Area then this is 28 days with the paperwork authorised on the 29th day.  This can however take longer if there are any foreign papers to consider such as a divorce.

If either party is subject to immigration control this period of notice can be extended by the Home Office for up to 70 days and we cannot proceed with the ceremony until we have received their clearance.


Please see the next section regarding what documents you need to bring with you to the appointment.


What documents do I need for my appointment?

Giving notice of intent to marry is declaring that you are who you say you are and that you are both legally free to be married to each.  It requires you to provide certain documents and if you forget to bring these to the appointment we cannot proceed so it's really important you bring what you need with you.  The Officer who conducts the interview will make you feel as relaxed as possible and ask you a few questions about you and your partner.  You will both need to provide evidence of your full name, date of birth, nationality, current residence, consent form (if either of you is under 18 years of age), and (if previously married or in a civil partnership) proof of the end of that relationship. 

Please see the prescribed list of documents so you can check what you need to bring with you.

List of Documents required (In all cases)

  • If you are a foreign national subject to immigration control please contact our office for advice before booking any residency.
  • You will need documentation proving the place and duration of your residency along with appropriate documents listed below.

Evidence of Full Name, Date of Birth, and Nationality

Current passport OR

If you were born in the United Kingdom before1st January 1983 - your full birth certificate together with one of the following original documents -

  • A utility bill dated no more than 3 months before the date of your notice appointment.
  • A Bank/Building Society statement or passbook dated no more than 1 month before the date of your notice appointment.
  • A Council Tax Bill dated no more than 1 year before the date of your notice appointment.
  • A mortgage statement dated no more than 1 year before the date of your notice appointment.
  • A current residential tenancy agreement.
  • A valid driving licence.

 

If you were born in the United Kingdom after 1st January 1983 - your full birth certificate together with one of the following original documents -

  • A utility bill dated no more than 3 months before the date of your notice appointment.
  • A Bank/Building Society statement or passbook dated no more than 1 month before the date of your notice appointment.
  • A Council Tax Bill dated no more than 1 year before the date of your notice appointment.
  • A mortgage statement dated no more than 1 year before the date of your notice appointment.
  • A current residential tenancy agreement.
  • A valid driving licence.
  • PLUS evidence of either one of your parents British citizenship or settled status in the UK at the time of your birth (their full birth certificate or passport).  NB - If your parents were married at that time and your mother was not British then we also need to see their marriage certificate. If your parents were not married to each other at the time of your birth, your nationality will be that of your mother.

Evidence of Ending of Previous Marriage/Civil Partnership (if applicable)

One of the following original documents:-

  • Court sealed certified copy of your Decree Absolute.  Please note that for documents in a foreign language a translation should also be provided which must be certified, signed, and dated by the translator. 

  • The death certificate of your previous spouse or civil partner.

  • The presumed death certificate of your previous spouse or civil partner.

  • If a divorce/annulment/dissolution was granted outside of the British Isles then it will require consideration by the Local Registration Service or in some instances The General Register Office to establish if the ceremony can proceed.  This will incur a fee.  After consideration if the ceremony cannot proceed the fees for consideration of the divorce/annulment/dissolution as well as the fees for giving notice of intent for marriage are non-refundable.

Evidence of Consent

If either of you is under the age of 18 years, you will need to produce a fully completed consent form (available from your local Register Office).

Additional Information

Currently their is a Notice Fee for each person and this is non-refundable and this is payable on the day of your notice appointment. Your Certificates for Authority to Marry will be issued a minimum of 28 days after giving your notice (or if you are subject to Immigration Control between 28 and 70 days).

  If any documents are not in English, you will need to obtain a full written translation.

Information regarding Residency Instructions

Additional Fees

If you require an urgent ceremony on health or other grounds please refer to the button bar on the right hand side of the screen "Emergency Ceremonies" or contact our team of expert Registration Officers for guidance and support at

Email  registrationservice@cumbria.gov.uk

Contact: Ceremony Enquiry Form

Telephone 0300 303 2472

We recommend using the Email or the Ceremony Enquiry Form as the telephone lines are very busy.

Confirmed Booking

Once you have given your notice of intent to marry your booking moves from provisional to confirmed. 

A few days after we've received your notices we will send you a letter to say your booking is now confirmed which will outline your next steps and this is where the fun begins.  

You will be sent a planner to begin building up your big day from who will be your witnesses to what music you want during the ceremony. 

3 calendar months before your ceremony date we also need to collect full payment for your ceremony plus any marriage and commemorative certificates you would like to purchase. 

You may have questions as you go along but rest assured we'll be there to support you if needed.  We would ask that you read the final drop down box with lots of important information, but after that you've now completed the booking process and it's time to move to Managing Your Booking which is the final tile on our web page.

Good luck with all your plans and we look forward to being involved in your big day!


 

Photography at Weddings


Please note that all photography and video recording, professional or otherwise, is by permission of the presiding Superintendent Registrar.

PHOTOGRAPHY

Allowed during the ceremony:

  • photograph as the bride and groom enter

  • photograph of the exchange of rings

  • photograph of the first kiss

Flash guns may be used only with the permission of the presiding Superintendent Registrar, and must be agreed prior to the ceremony.

Photographers are welcome to take photographs before and after the formal ceremony, however it is important that all ceremonies begin on time.

No delay should be as a result of photographs being taken.

VIDEO RECORDING

Video recording is at the discretion of the bride and groom, but the following applies throughout the formal ceremony:

  • only one video camera to be used;

  • the recordist should remain stationary.

It is the responsibility of the couple to advise their chosen photographer of the above guidance.  Cameras must be battery operated to avoid trailing cables, which are a potential health and safety risk to the couple, their guests and employees of Cumbria County Council.

 

Paying for your Ceremony

All fees are required to be paid 8 weeks prior to the date of the ceremony. You can pay in cash, by cheque, or by credit / debit card.  Cheques should be made payable to 'Cumbria County Council'.

Cumbria Registration Service Fees and Charges

A standard non-refundable booking fee is charged when you book your ceremony.

This is in addition to any other fees payable.

NB: All fees are regularly reviewed, and can be confirmed at time of booking with the Registrar. 

Please note: If you make any change to your booking there is an amendment fee.  (It is more if within 8 weeks of the ceremony date).  It is your responsibility to check that the venue will have a valid marriage licence at the time of your marriage.

Refund of ceremony fees

Our refund policy on cancelled bookings is as follows:

  • Ceremony cancelled 2 months prior to the date - full refund

  • Cancelled less than 2 months up to 2 weeks prior to the ceremony date - 50% refund

  • Less than 2 weeks prior to the date of the ceremony - no refund

Please note

The above refunds do not include the administration fee.

For the purpose of refunds, the cancellation date is deemed to be when written confirmation is received by the registrar.

Weather Policy

Please note that we can not guarantee to reach your venue during periods of extreme weather. 

We will however endeavour to attend as soon as it is safe to do so and regret we will not accept liability for any loss in such instances.  We would be obliged if you could take this into account when choosing the venue and date for your ceremony.

Animals at Wedding Ceremonies

We want you to have a wonderful ceremony with your celebration being personal to you and have your own style.

We are required by law to ensure that certain standards are upheld, however we do our best to work with you to ensure that you set the tone you want for your day and make it memorable.

One area under our discretion is the use of animals and birds in your ceremony.  Please note the following conditions in this regard.

No animals or birds can be used in any ceremony held in a Register Office, Registration Office or Cumbria County Council premise.

  • We have regular ceremonies throughout any day and the next clients may be affected by allergies even after the pets have been left the room.

  • If a pet were to have am unfortunate toilet accident (even the best trained can do this in an unusual environment), whilst clients would pay to have the carpets cleaned this would not be possible prior to the arrival of the next party.

The use of any animal or birds at any ceremony out with Cumbria County Council premises is at the discretion of the Superintendent Registrar and the Owner/Manager of the premises.

  • We would require written confirmation (e mail would be suitable) that the venue accepts the use of the proposed birds or animals.

  • Details of the animals or birds proposed and what part they intend to play in the ceremony must be advised to the registrationservice@Cumbria.gov.uk for our consideration no later than 2 calendar months prior to the ceremony.  

    There will be no delay to any ceremony due to the behaviour of any animal or bird during a ceremony.
  • We strongly recommend you think carefully regarding your decision as the inclusion of any animal or bird in your ceremony as it may lead so a certain element of confusion.

  • Any disruption or confusion cannot lead to any delay in proceedings.  This includes if the ring disappears into the rafters!! We would proceed as planned without the exchange of rings.

We would not recommend the inclusion of any animal or bird in a ceremony or recommend the use of any particular professional service in this regard

  • We would however recommend that you are aware of animal welfare issues and satisfy yourself that the animal is not stressed in any way during the proceedings.  Our staff reserve the right to report any concerns they may have to the appropriate Animal Welfare organisation.

Our decision is final as to whether the animal or bird may be included in the service for the duration our staff are present.

Getting Married Outside

Outside ceremonies are very popular in Cumbria but you should be aware of the following if you are considering getting married outdoors:-

Any outdoor structure may only be used if it is deemed acceptable by the registration staff on the day of the ceremony, taking into account staff health & safety as well as the welfare of the legal registers.  As the weather is very changeable in Cumbria provision should always be made for an indoor alternative room to be used at short notice.  The registrar will make the decision on the day if the ceremony can take place outside.

Cumbria Registration Service can afford no guarantee that an outdoor ceremony will be granted.