Weddings in Cumbria

Ceremonies update 19 July 2021

Following the Prime Minister's recent announcement (12th July 2021), we are now aware of the following guidance which will come into effect on Monday 19th July:

At step 4 (from Monday 19th July), the Government will remove outstanding legal restrictions on social contact, life events, and open the remaining closed settings. The Government will instead enable people to make informed decisions about how to manage the risk to themselves and others. 

  • There will no longer be limits on the number of people who can attend weddings, civil partnerships, funerals and other life events (including receptions and celebrations). 
  • The legal requirements to wear a face covering will be lifted in all settings. To help reduce the spread of COVID-19, published guidance will advise that wearing a face covering will reduce your risk and the risk to others, where you come into contact with people you don't normally meet in enclosed and crowded spaces.
  • Social distancing rules (2 metres or 1 metre with additional mitigations) will be lifted. You should continue to consider the risks of close contact with others, particularly if you are clinically extremely vulnerable or not yet fully vaccinated.

Registration Offices around the county that have been subject to restrictions will now have increased capacity. Please see our website to determine the numbers accommodated at your chosen venue. Please do not exceed these limits as we are trying to keep our buildings as safe as possible.

To maintain the safety of our staff and the wedding party, there will continue to be a 2m distance between people working and everyone else. Our officers may also choose to wear a face covering on the day. 

Lifting restrictions does not mean that the risks from COVID-19 have disappeared. Instead it marks a new phase in the Government's response to the pandemic during which people need to manage the risks to themselves and others as the country learns to live with the virus. It is important that we all play our part and exercise common sense. 

 With this in mind, we recommend you do the following:

  1. Wearing a face covering where you come into contact with people you don't normally meet in enclosed and crowded spaces. Although not mandatory, we would strongly recommend that guests wear a face covering during the wedding ceremony.
  2. Washing your hands with soap and water or using hand sanitiser regularly throughout the day.
  3. Covering your nose and mouth when you cough and sneeze.
  4. Staying at home if unwell, to reduce the risk of passing on other illnesses onto friends, family, colleagues, and others in your community. Considering individual risks, such as clinical vulnerabilities and vaccination status.

Full guidance updates - COVID-19 Response: Summer 2021 - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

Thank you for your patience and understanding.  We will continue to monitor the situation and will provide further updates at Weddings in Cumbria

Changes to Marriage Ceremonies From 4 May 2021

The Civil Partnerships, Marriages and Deaths (Registration Etc.) Act will come into force on 4 May 2021.

The Act provides for the modernisation of marriage registration for the first time since 1837, by introducing a marriage schedule system and registration in an electronic register. The process will move away from the current paper register, introducing a more secure system for keeping marriage records.  


What will this mean for couples on the day of their ceremony?

  • You can include more than one person, as mother/ father/ parent, to be recorded in the marriage entry and on marriage certificates, instead of only fathers' names as is currently the case
  • There will be a schedule to be signed by the couple, their witnesses and the Superintendent Registrar and Registrar officiating on the day.  This will replace the handwritten marriage registers currently in use.
  • No certificates can be provided at the ceremony.  

How will the wedding be registered?

  • The schedule will be returned to the Local Registration Service whereby the schedule will be input to the electronic register as a record of the event
  • If you are having a civil wedding, or a ceremony in a religious building where a civil Registrar will be present, we will return the schedule for you
  • If you are having a wedding in a religious building without the presence of a Registrar, the marriage schedule will need returned to the Local Registration Service as soon as possible so it can be registered

How can we purchase official certificates of the marriage?

  • After your ceremony you can order certificates online
  • There are a variety of postage and service option which are detailed on the website
  • Please note that we are unable to produce the certificates until the Marriage has been entered to the electronic register.  
  • If you were married in a religious building, without the presence of a Registrar the marriage schedule will need returned to the Local Registration Service as early as possible.  Certificates can not be issued until this has been received and registered.

Why are we moving to this new system? 

  • The current system for registering a marriage is outdated and only allows for the father's name of the parties involved to be recorded.

Why don't we just update the current system? 

  • It would be too costly to amend/replace all 84,000 open marriage registers, blank certificates and associated paperwork across England and Wales. 

When will the changes being introduced? 

  • 4 May 2021.

Marriage in a civil or religious building after 3 May 2021 (PDF 130KB)

The health and safety of you, your guests, our colleagues and staff at our approved venues is very important, we have been working with our venues throughout the last 18 months to make sure appropriate measures are in place. Please take the time to read and understand the guidance below before the day of your ceremony. Please share this information with those joining you on the day.

  • No-one should attend a ceremony if they or a member of their household has had any Covid-19 symptoms in the 14 days prior to the ceremony date.
  • Please regularly wash your hands or use hand sanitiser 
  • Although not mandatory, we strongly advise all guests at a ceremony inside a registry office/approved venue to wear a face covering (unless exempt for medical reasons).  Face coverings will not have to be worn by the bride, groom, civil partners or Registration staff (although the member of the team performing your ceremony may choose to do so).  You will need to make sure your guests provide their own face coverings as we will not be able to provide them.
  • Arrival of Ceremony party - all persons must arrive 20 minutes prior to the ceremony time.
  • Pre-Ceremony Interviews - these will take place in person before the ceremony
  • Signing of the registration schedule - the ceremony team will indicate where to sign. The couple and their witnesses will be provided with a pen to sign the register or you may bring your own pen (blue or black permanent ink)
  • Legal certificates are ordered and paid for after the ceremony online.

If the attending Superintendent Registrar feels the appropriate safety measures are not in place or are not adhered to, they reserve the right to refuse to proceed with the ceremony.

We are committed to providing a special ceremony for you to remember. The health and safety of you, your guests, our colleagues and staff at our Registration Offices is of paramount importance.  Please take the time to read and understand the guidance below prior to the day of your ceremony. Please share this information with those joining you on the day.

  • No-one should attend a ceremony if they or a member of their household has had any Covid-19 symptoms in the 14 days prior to the ceremony date.
  • Children under the age of 4 are permitted to sit on laps, children aged 5 and over will need to be seated on their own chair . All infants and children are to be included in the total number of guests.
  • Although not mandatory, we strongly advise all guests at a ceremony in a registry office/approved venue to wear a face covering (unless exempt for medical reasons).  Face coverings will not have to be worn by the bride, groom, civil partners or Registration staff (although the member of the team performing your ceremony may choose to do so).  You will need to make sure your guests provide their own face coverings as we will not be able to provide them.
  • Our officers will wash or sanitise their hands between each ceremony and we will wipe down desks and chairs before you enter the room and waiting area
  • Please regularly wash your hands or use hand sanitiser 
  • Please note that there will still be a distance of 2m between our staff and the couple / guests.

Capacities at our ceremonies are as follows (not including anyone working):

Barrow Register Office - maximum 70 people

Kendal County Hall - maximum 10 people

Lady Gilford's House - maximum 60 people

Penrith Library - maximum 20 people

Arriving and Leaving:

  • Make sure you allow enough time for parking and confirmation of your arrival at our office. Please note free parking is not provided at our Kendal, Penrith or Barrow-in-Furness offices.
  • Arrival of Ceremony party - We ask that the first partner/groom and guests be at our offices 30 mins before the ceremony and the bride/2nd partner to arrive 15 mins before (if you wish to avoid seeing each other).
  • Please note you may be asked to wait outside the building until the ceremony officer is available to greet you.
  • Follow the signs around the building carefully and listen to any safety instructions given by our officers.
  • On arrival, you will be asked to use hand sanitiser before moving through the building. We would recommend doing this again as you leave for your personal protection.
  • You may be asked to wait in a specific waiting area. 
  • When you leave the building the officer will explain how to exit. Please carefully follow this guidance as there may be a one way flow which means you exit through a different door than when you arrived.

During the Ceremony:

  • Pre-Ceremony Interviews - these will take place in person prior to the ceremony and will be kept as short as possible.
  • Vulnerable Adults, Infants and Children - to minimise risk vulnerable adults, infants and children should avoid attending ceremonies, however this is at the couples' discretion. Any infant must be held by a parent / guardian or member of their own household.
  • Animals - are not permitted in our register offices, except for registered assistance dogs.
  • Signing of the register - the ceremony team will indicate where to sign. The couple and their witnesses will be provided with a pen to sign the register or you may bring your own pen (blue or black permanent ink).
  • Recorded music must be supplied by the couple and played on your own device or arrangements for playing made prior to the ceremony with the venue.
  • Legal certificates are ordered and paid for after the ceremony online  

If the attending Superintendent Registrar feels the appropriate safety measures are not in place or are not adhered to, they reserve the right to refuse to proceed with the ceremony.

Marriage/civil partnership notices can take place in our Registration Offices.  

We would ask you do not make an appointment more than 3 months prior to your ceremony unless you are completing residency.

Please call our registration operations team on 0300 303 2472 or book online. Our team will be more than happy to help, please note your call may be held in a queue as our team experience high volumes of calls at peak times of the day. We thank you in advance for your patience.

If you need to cancel your ceremony, our refund policy for bookings taken after 11 April 2021 is as follows:

  • Cancelled more than 6 weeks ahead of the date - full refund of ceremony fees less £100 deposit ( £45 booking fee for Church and Statutory ceremonies)
  • Cancelled less than 6 weeks ahead of the ceremony date - no refund given