Civil Partnership Registration in Cumbria

Cumbria is a county of great natural beauty and offers a wide range of very attractive venues suitable for celebrating the formation of your Civil Partnership. There are Registration Offices in most large towns and over 100 Approved Premises to choose from. 

Since March 2014 Cumbria Registration Service has been delighted to be able to offer marriage ceremonies to same sex couples.  In the first couple of months since the legislation change, several same sex marriages took place and we have received very positive feedback from our newly married couples following their ceremonies.

Civil Partnerships are of course still available and the choice is yours, as a same sex couple, to choose either marriage or civil partnership.  Please see the Marriages page for further information.  By all means contact us should you require any advice.

Your ceremony forms part of a special day and we will help make sure that it is a very happy and enjoyable occasion.

The options available enable you to have a ceremony ranging from a simple affair with just two witnesses to having a large party at an Approved Premises or Register Office of your choice.

This site provides information to help you plan your day and answers many of the questions commonly asked about the legal aspects of a Civil Partnership ceremony.

We also produce a full colour brochure 'Celebrate In Cumbria And The Lakes' (pdf 8.67 Mb) containing details and information about the formalities of registering a Civil Partnership in Cumbria.  If you would like a copy of the brochure sent to you, you can use the Online Form.

If you have any questions or would like further advice please contact your local Register Office. 

We hope you find the site useful. If you have any suggestions for improvement please let us know. We look forward to helping you make your ceremony a special day in Cumbria.

You can celebrate the formation of your civil partnership in any Register Office or Approved Premises you choose.  In Cumbria we offer some of the best venues in the whole of the country.  These include stately homes, historic buildings, first class hotels and Register Offices and provide charming settings for civil partnership ceremonies.  Although ceremonies may not take place outdoors or in temporary or moveable structures such as marquees or boats, certain venues do have permanent constructions outdoors, i.e. pergolas, gazebos etc., which are licensed.

How far in advance can I make a booking?

A legal notice of the formation of a civil partnership is valid for twelve months, once the Schedule is issued.  However, you may be able to make an advance (provisional) booking with the local Registration Office covering the venue in which you wish to celebrate your civil partnership.  Please note that there is an additional charge of £ 75.00 for this which is non-refundable and non-transferrable.  Making such an advance booking does ensure that the specific date and time you require is reserved for you.  Registration staff at any of our offices will be able to give you more precise information regarding advance bookings.

Before you can form your civil partnership, there are certain formalities which are required under law.  You must both attend the Register Office in the district in which you live to inform them of your intention to form a civil partnership.  This is called giving notice and you must attend in person.

To give notice of your civil partnership, which takes approximately half an hour for each party, you should make an appointment to see the Superintendent Registrar in the district where you live.

You will each be required to give an individual notice.  If you live in the same district, then both notices will be given in the same office.  If you live in separate districts, you will be required to each give notice in the district in which you live.

After giving notice you must allow at least 15 clear days before the formation can take place. For example, if you give notice on the 1st day of the month the earliest you would be able to form your civil partnership would be the 17th of that same month. Your civil partnership formation must then take place within twelve months of the date you gave notice.

The Superintendent Registrar will tell you when your Civil Partnership Schedule is due to be issued.
If you are forming your civil partnership in another district, this Schedule will need to go to that district before the day of the civil partnership formation.

Abuse of immigration laws and 'sham civil partnerships'

We actively work with the UK Border Agency to identify civil partnerships which seek to abuse or by-pass UK immigration laws, and which are seen as 'sham marriages'. The Cumbria Registration Service will report any such activity which it feels may be, or lead to, abuse of immigration law, and anybody found to be arranging, facilitating or entering into a civil partnership solely to gain permission to stay in the UK risks arrest or prosecution. Foreign nationals may face deportation and be barred from re-entering the UK for up to 14 years.  

The statutory fee for entering a notice of civil partnership is £ 35.00 per person ( £ 70.00 per couple).

If you are Having your civil partnership ceremony in the Register Office, the fees vary depending on the day of the week and which registration office is to hold the ceremony.  Please contact your local registration office for further details.

You will have a choice of two types of certificate, which may be used for official purposes, and cost £ 4.00 per copy: a certified copy of the entry in the register containing all the information recorded; or a certified extract which will not contain the addresses of the civil partners.

If you are having your civil partnership ceremony in one of our Approved Premises between 1st April 2015 and 31st March 2016 the fees are as follows:

Approved Premises Civil Partnership Ceremony Fees
Monday-Thursday £ 290.00
Friday £ 320.00
Saturday £ 405.00
Sunday and Bank Holidays £ 460.00

Please Note: 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'.

If you wish to book your ceremony more than 12 months in advance of the date of your ceremony there is a £ 75.00 non-refundable booking fee. 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 of £ 20.00 ( £ 25.00 if within 8 weeks of the ceremony date).  It is your responsibility to check that the venue will have a valid Approved Premises licence at the time of your ceremony.

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.

As soon as you have given your Notice of Intention to Form a Civil Partnership (either in Cumbria or elsewhere, depending on where you live), we will send you a booklet entitled "Your Civil Partnership Ceremony Plan".  This explains what will happen during the ceremony and help you to plan your special day.  There is a form contained within the booklet for you to send in to the registration office with whom you booked the ceremony.  The details you provide on this form will help our staff to personalise your ceremony and make sure that it is everything you hope for.

The booklet also gives details of the fees payable for the ceremony and certificates.  There should also be contact details should you have any questions about your ceremony or preceding procedures.

On this special day please help us and other couples who are being married or forming a Civil Partnership on the same day by arriving at the register office fifteen minutes before the ceremony.

We don't want to rush your ceremony or be forced to cancel it, so please ensure you and your guests arrive on time.  Remember there may be traffic delays or a photo call before the ceremony.

Please note 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 in to account when choosing the venue and date for your ceremony.
The ceremony is conducted by the Superintendent Registrar, who is also responsible for ensuring that all information which is to be entered into the Civil Partnership Schedule is correct on the day.  He/she will see you and your partner in private to check the details and will be happy to answer any last minute questions you may have about the ceremony or any of the other arrangements.  You will each be asked for the following information:
  • Your full name, age, marital status, occupation and the address of your residence on the day of your marriage.
  • The full names and occupations of your father and mother, and whether they are retired or deceased.      

Although there are words prescribed by law which you must say, there are various ways of personalising your wedding ceremony.  Additional vows may be added and a selection of music is available at the offices if you wish. 

Alternatively, music which is special to you as a couple or a piece of poetry/prose may be read, although neither must be religious by nature.  A booklet containing a collection of verse and music is available at all our Registration Offices.

Please discuss this or any ideas of your own with the Superintendent Registrar prior to your wedding day.

You will need to ask two people, who may be friends or relatives, if they will witness your Civil Partnership formation. Your witnesses must be old enough to understand the ceremony and their role in it, preferably over the age of eighteen.  All they will have to do is watch and listen to the ceremony and sign the schedule.

Should the services of an interpreter be required, please contact the Superintendent Registrar of the district where the marriage is to take place for advice.

Once the ceremony has been completed, the Superintendent Registrar will ask you to check that your details have been correctly recorded in the Civil Partnership Schedule.  Please check them carefully, as there can be problems if errors have to be corrected later.  You will both then be asked to sign the Schedule.  Your two witnesses will then be asked to sign.  Finally the Superintendent Registrar will sign the Schedule and any Civil Partnership Certificates you have ordered will be produced from this completed document, usually on the next working day, and posted to your home address.

Since December 2005, civil marriages have been allowed to take place in other buildings, apart from register offices, that have been approved by local authorities as a suitable venue for the formation of Civil Partnerships. These are known as Approved Premises and generally include hotels, stately homes and other historic buildings.

Please note that currently the law does not allow for a civil partnership registration to take place in a private house, in open air, a marquee, or in any other moveable structure, such as a boat or hot air balloon.

You can register your Civil Partnership in any Approved Premises in any district in England and Wales, although you will still need to give Notice of your Intention to Form a Civil Partnership in the district(s) where you live.  A full list of all Approved Premises in England and Wales can be obtained from the General Register Office.  A list of local venues is also available from each Registration Office within Cumbria.

Ceremonies at Approved Premises will follow a similar format to that in Register Offices.

Many of our Approved Premises are set amidst landscaped and beautiful gardens in which to have your photographs taken.  The staff at Approved Premises will be delighted to discuss various arrangements that can be made to make your day really special.

To arrange a ceremony in an Approved Premises you must first contact the manager or owner of the premises of your choice to make provisional arrangements.  You must then contact the relevant Registration Office to ensure that the registration officers are able to attend your marriage on that date and time.

Please note 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 in to account when choosing the venue and date for your ceremony

Forming a Civil Partnership At Home/In Hospital
A person who is housebound is able to form a civil partnership in their own home or in a hospital.  A Doctor must be prepared to sign a statement that the person is not able to be moved for a period of 3 months to a place normally registered for the registration of civil partnerships.  The statement form can be obtained from your local Register Office and must be signed not more than 14 days before giving notice.  Notice of intention to form a civil partnership must be given in the district(s) of residence of both parties.  In the case of the housebound person, the notice will have to be taken at home.  The formation of the civil partnership must take place within 3 months of giving the first notice.

A person who is terminally ill is able to form a civil partnership in a house or hospital.  In these circumstances a Doctor must sign a letter confirming that he/she is in medical attendance on the person and that the person is terminally ill and not expected to recover.  The letter must also state that the person cannot be moved to a place normally registered for the registration of civil partnerships and can fully understand the importance of the civil partnership ceremony.  The civil partnership can take place once the Registrar General has issued the licence for the formation of the civil partnership.  Where necessary this may be on the same day that the arrangements are made although the civil partnership must take place within one month of giving notice.  Only one notice is given under these circumstances.

In Prison
A civil partnership formation can take place in a prison as long as the Prison authorities agree that the civil partnership ceremony can be performed there.  This agreement must be in the form of a statement signed by the Prison Governor not more than 21 days before you give your notices of intention to form a civil partnership.  The person in prison must give their notice to the local Superintendent Registrar.  As the Registrar will normally have to visit the prison in order to take the notice, this will attract an additional statutory fee.  The other party to the civil partnership will also have to give a notice to the Registrar of the district in which they live.  The civil partnership formation must take place within 3 months of giving the first notice.

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


Allowed during the ceremony:

  • photograph as the couple make their entrance

  • 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 is at the discretion of the couple, 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.