Weddings in Cumbria

Ceremonies update 1 May 2021

Following the Prime Minister's announcement on 22 February 2021 our Registration Team has been working at pace through a vast number of ceremony amendments. 

Our phone lines continue to be busy so you may face a wait. You can email us at ceremonies@cumbria.gov.uk and we will get back to you as soon as we can. We kindly ask that you do not send us repeat emails as this slows down the process and makes it harder to efficiently deal with your requests. 

We understand that you have venues and suppliers waiting for confirmation of dates and we are working as hard as we can to get to your query.

We appreciate your continued patience and understanding at this very busy time.


Ceremonies update 1 March 2021

Following the Prime Minister's announcement on 22nd February 2021 our Registration Team is working at pace through a vast number of ceremony amendments. 

Our current priority is rebooking ceremonies that have been cancelled or changed due to the announcement.

For those who are looking to book a new ceremony please note - we are not taking new bookings until after Monday 15 March. At which point, new bookings can be made for May onwards.

Our phone lines continue to be extremely busy and you will currently face a lengthy wait. You can email us at ceremonies@cumbria.gov.uk and we will get back to you as soon as we can. We kindly ask that you do not send us repeat emails as this slows down the process and makes it harder to efficiently deal with your requests. 

We understand that you have venues and suppliers waiting for confirmation of dates and we are working as hard as we can to get to your query.

We appreciate your continued patience and understanding at this very busy time.


Ceremonies update 23 February 2021

The Prime Minister announced on the evening of 22nd February a roadmap of steps to ease lockdown. 

The guidance for weddings and civil partnerships due to take place up to 28th March is as follows:

Weddings and Civil Partnerships during this time, unfortunately, are not able to go ahead. We understand how disappointing this is for you so are offering the option to reschedule your booking free of charge. We are also suspending our cancellation policy so can issue a full refund if you wish to cancel (not including booking fee or marriage notice fee). Our team will be contacting you in the coming days as a matter of urgency.

 As per the most recent lockdown, ceremonies can take place in exceptional circumstances during this time, for example, an urgent marriage where one of those getting married is seriously ill and not expected to recover or is to undergo debilitating treatment or life-changing surgery.  Where ceremonies do go ahead, a maximum of 6 people are allowed to be present, not including staff working at the event.

The following steps are proposed over the coming months. Please be aware that these steps are subject to change. Government advice is that the dates and number of attendees is guidance only and wholly contingent on the national COVID-19 data. You may need to change your plans at short notice.

  • Step 1 - From 29th March: weddings will be able to proceed with 6 attendees but will no longer be limited by exceptional circumstances
  • Step 2 - No earlier than 12th April: weddings will be able to proceed with up to 15 attendees (in premises that are permitted to open - please check with your venue as soon as possible before contacting us)
  • Step 3 - No earlier than 17th May: weddings, receptions can proceed with up to 30 attendees.
  • Step 4 - No earlier than 21 June: all restrictions are removed

Government guidance can be found here:

COVID-19 Response − Spring 2021 (publishing.service.gov.uk)

If your ceremony is booked before 17th May (steps 1 and 2), we are offering the option to reschedule your booking free of charge and we are also suspending our cancellation policy. We can issue a full refund if you wish to cancel (not including booking fee or marriage notice fee). If your ceremony is booked for after 17th May (steps 3 and 4), our refund policy and reschedule fee applies.

New Ceremony Bookings

We are unable to take new ceremony bookings until after Monday 15th March. Please do not call before this date as we need to prioritise rescheduling all our current bookings. 

You do not need marriage notices in place to make a booking with us unless your ceremony is within 29 days (or 70 days if one party is subject to immigration control).

Important information about notices

Notice of intent must be given at least 28 days prior to a ceremony or up to 70 days if one partner is subject to immigration control. 

We are only able to carry out a ceremony from 29th March 2021 onwards subject to government restrictions allowing and only if you have valid notices in place.

We advise taking out notice of intent to marry no sooner than 3 months prior to your ceremony. If you do not have valid notices in place for your chosen venue and date, these need to take place in your local registration office where you reside. 

For Cumbria appointments can be made online at 
https://www.cumbria.gov.uk/registrationservice/marriages/noticeofintent.asp or by calling on 0300 303 2472.


Ceremonies update 31 December 2020

Tier 4 Restrictions in Cumbria

Following the Prime Minister's announcement on 30/12/2020, Cumbria is now subject to tier 4 restrictions until further notice.  Government guidance on tier 4 restrictions states that weddings and civil partnerships should only take place in exceptional circumstances, for example, an urgent marriage where one of those getting married is seriously ill and not expected to recover, or is to undergo debilitating treatment or life-changing surgery. Where ceremonies do go ahead, a maximum of 6 people are allowed to be present, not including staff working at the event:

Weddings, civil partnerships, religious services and funerals

This unfortunately means that all ceremonies booked between 31/12/2020 and the next review date of 18/01/2021 must be cancelled or rearranged. We do not know yet how long these restrictions may be in effect, so it is possible that bookings from 19/01/2021 will also be affected and we will provide further information as soon as we can.

We are so very sorry for couples who are due to be getting married or form a civil partnership during this period and we appreciate that this will be extremely upsetting news for everyone. We are in the process of contacting all couples with bookings up to 18/01/2021. We are offering the option to reschedule your booking free of charge and we are also suspending our cancellation policy for ceremonies falling in the period 31/12/2020 to 18/01/2021 and will issue a full refund if you wish to cancel.

Please do not call us if your ceremony is due to take place after the 18/01/2021 as our phone lines are extremely busy and you may be waiting for some time.

Thank you for your patience and understanding. We will continue to monitor the situation and will provide further updates here and on our website.


Ceremonies update 2 December 2020

The Government have announced that ceremonies can commence from 2 December 2020. We have been working closely with our venues and staff to put measures in place to allow us to carry out ceremonies from 3 December 2020. 

Ceremonies taking place in Cumbria must follow the Governments latest guidance for Weddings and civil partnerships in relation to the Local Government Covid Alert level. Weddings and civil partnership ceremonies can resume in all tiers with 15 guests. Wedding or Civil Partnership receptions are not allowed to take place in tier 3 areas.

It is the personal responsibility of the couple and guests if they are travelling to Cumbria to attend a ceremony, that they check their local Government Covid Alert Level and follow any government guidelines that may be in place in their own residing district.  This should be discussed with your venue to determine if the ceremony should go ahead according to the area the couple and the guests are travelling from.

All ceremonies booked with Cumbria Registration Service will proceed unless we are instructed by the client that the ceremony is cancelled.  

Cumbria has been placed in Tier 2, this will be reviewed on 16 December and weekly after that. We will provide regular updates on our website and social media pages. Check current Local Government Covid Alert Levels.  


Ceremonies update 2 November 2020

Following the Prime Minister's announcement on 31st October, further guidance has been produced by the Government stating that weddings and civil partnerships will not be permitted to take place during the new national restriction period (ceremonies will only be allowed in exceptional circumstances, such as life limiting illness):

New National Restrictions from 5 November

This means that all ceremonies booked between Thursday 5th November and Wednesday 2nd December 2020 must be cancelled or rearranged.

We are so very sorry for couples who are due to be getting married or form a civil partnership during this period and we appreciate that this will be extremely upsetting news for everyone.   We are in the process of contacting all couples with bookings from 5th November to 2nd December to help you through this.  We are offering the option to reschedule your booking free of charge and we are also suspending our cancellation policy for ceremonies falling in the period 5th November to 2nd December and will issue a full refund if you wish to cancel.

Please do not call us if your ceremony is due to take place after the 2nd December as our phone lines are extremely busy and you may be waiting for some time.


Ceremonies update 13 October 2020

Local Government Covid Alert Levels

Ceremonies taking place in Cumbria must follow the latest guidance for weddings and civil partnerships in relation to the Government's Local Covid Alert levels. 

If you are travelling to Cumbria to attend a ceremony it is your personal responsibility that you check the Local Covid Alert Level and follow the government guidelines that are in place where you live. Check your current Local Covid Alert Levels.

If your ceremony plans are affected by this new guidance please contact your chosen venue and us as soon as possible.  


Ceremonies update 23 September 2020

Weddings and Civil partnerships can take place at our Registration Offices and at external venues providing the current government guidance is followed. 

On 22 September the Prime Minister announced that wedding ceremonies and civil partnerships were restricted to 15 people. This includes the couple and 2 witnesses, it does not include the 2 ceremony officers and any third party suppliers - for example a photographer. It is expected that these restrictions will be in place for the next 6 months.

Should you wish to cancel your ceremony our normal refund policy will apply. Reschedules made as a direct result of this announcement will not be charged an amendment fee. 

Ceremonies may be different because of the current restrictions and guidelines in place, but we are committed to doing all we can to give our couples a truly beautiful and memorable ceremony experience on their special day.

We have resumed taking bookings for Weddings and Civil Partnerships, bookings can be made up to 2 years in advance. 

Please call our registration operations team on 0300 303 2472. Our team will be more than happy to help, but please note your call may be held in a queue as our team are currently experiencing high volumes of calls due to the latest announcement. We thank you in advance for your patience.

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)

Now ceremonies have resumed they may look and feel different under Covid-19 restrictions but 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 approved venues is very important, we have been working with our venues 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.
  • There may be restrictions on the number of people permitted to attend a ceremony. Please note - the happy couple and the witnesses are included in the permitted number, it will not include the 2 ceremony officers and any third party suppliers - for example a photographer.
  • Social distancing guidelines will apply. Please adhere to all signage and floor markings. People from different households should adhere to social distancing at all times.
  • Please wash your hands or use hand sanitiser before and after the ceremony, following any exchange of rings and signing of register. Hand sanitising facilities will be provided by the venue.
  • It is mandatory for 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.
  • A face visor or shield may be worn in addition to a face covering but not instead of one. This is because face visors or shields do not adequately cover the nose and mouth.
  • Ceremony timeframes are being kept to a minimum therefore no readings or personalised vows can be included.
  • Arrival of Ceremony party - all persons must arrive 20 minutes prior to the ceremony time.
  • Vulnerable Adults, Infants and Children - to minimise risk vulnerable adults, infants and children should avoid attending ceremonies during Covid-19 restrictions, how-ever this is at the couples' discretion. Any infant must be held by a parent / guardian or member of their own household.
  • Any infant must be held by a parent / guardian or member of their own household. Pre-school children will be permitted to sit on laps, children aged 5 should be seated on their own chair . All infants and children are included in the total number of guests.
  • Animals - please avoid including animals in your ceremony plans. Any animal present is at the discretion of the couple and the venue and must be kept on a lead or held at all times.
  • Pre-Ceremony Interviews - these will take place in person before the ceremony and will be kept as short as possible.
  • Entrance to the Ceremony Room - social distancing measures should be maintained throughout the ceremony including persons walking down the aisle.
  • Exchange of rings - to limit contact one partner should have responsibility for safe keeping of the rings.
  • Signing of the registration schedule - the ceremony team will indicate where to sign this will be carried out adhering to social distancing guidelines. 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).
  • Music Singing, shouting or raised voices should be avoided. The use of musical instruments should be in accordance with current government guidelines and must be agreed prior to the ceremony with the registration service. 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.
  • Photography - photographers attending will not be counted in your party of 15. Photo opportunities may be restricted and are at the discretion of the Superintendent Registrar.

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.

Now ceremonies have resumed, they may look and feel different under Covid-19 restrictions but 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.
  • There may be restrictions on the number of people permitted to attend a ceremony. Please note - the happy couple and the witnesses will be included in the permitted number, it will not include the 2 ceremony officers and any third party suppliers - for example a photographer.
  • Please note - the numbers able to attend ceremonies in our offices varies according to venue.  We have produced seating plans for each of our venues which provide further information on the number of guests able to attend.
  • 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.
  • Social distancing guidelines will apply. Please adhere to all signage and floor markings. People from different house-holds should adhere to social distancing at all times.
  • It is mandatory for 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. 
  • A face visor or shield may be worn in addition to a face covering but not instead of one. This is because face visors or shields do not adequately cover the nose and mouth
  • 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 wash your hands or use hand sanitiser before and after the ceremony, following any exchange of rings and signing of register. Hand sanitising facilities will be provided by the venue.
  • As per government guidelines no confetti is permitted to be thrown inside or in the grounds of our buildings.
  • Statutory ceremonies are for the couple plus 2 witnesses only. In Kendal this may take place in either of the 2 rooms dependent upon other ceremonies taking place that day.

Seating plans

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 - all persons must arrive 30 minutes before the ceremony time
  • 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. Please do not wander from this area. Our layout has been carefully planned to keep everyone as safe as possible.
  • For the time you are in our building, please observe social distancing at all times of 2 metres. 
  • 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.
  • Entrance to the Ceremony Room - social distancing measures should be maintained throughout the ceremony including persons walking down the aisle.
  • Ceremony timeframes are being kept to a minimum therefore no readings or personalised vows will be included.
  • Vulnerable Adults, Infants and Children - to minimise risk vulnerable adults, infants and children should avoid attending ceremonies during Covid-19 restrictions, how-ever 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.
  • Exchange of rings - to limit contact one partner should have responsibility for safe keeping of the rings.
  • Signing of the register - the ceremony team will indicate where to sign this will be carried out adhering to social distancing guidelines. 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).
  • Music Singing, shouting or raised voices should be avoided. Due to limited space no singing or live music performances are permitted in our register offices. 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  
  • Photography - please check our seating plans to establish if there is space for a photographer in the register office room. Photo opportunities may be restricted and are at the discretion of the Superintendent Registrar.

For ceremonies that were due to take place in the national lockdown restriction period, you can reschedule your booking to a new date free of charge. If you to decide to cancel you can apply for a full refund of your ceremony and certificate fees. (Notice fees will not be refunded).

For ceremonies due to have taken place in from 29 March to 16 May 2021 you can reschedule your booking to a new date free of charge. If you decide to cancel we will refund any ceremony and certificate fees paid in full. 

Any reschedules or changes made to ceremonies due to take place after 17 May 2021 will incur an amendment fee of £35.00 irrespective of the circumstances forcing the move. If you decide to cancel our normal cancellation policy in place at the time of booking, will apply. 

Please note the dates we can offer you will depend upon the expiry date of your marriage notices.  Changes made to the type of ceremony, or day of the week on which the ceremony is to be held may incur an additional fee. Marriage or Civil Partnership notice fees will not be refunded.

Please call our registration operations team on 0300 303 2472. Our team will be more than happy to help, but please note your call may be held in a queue.

We would urge you to carefully consider your requirements if you are booking a ceremony in 2021 due to the current lockdown and uncertainty around dates restrictions on ceremonies will be lifted. Please be aware your ceremony may be cancelled at short notice or restrictions placed on numbers of guests. Bookings made after 1st February 2021 will be made on the understanding that any reschedules will incur an amendment fee. We have limited availability for dates and times in 2021 due to the amount of ceremonies rescheduled from the past 10 months.

We are taking bookings for weddings and civil partnerships up to 2 years in advance. Unfortunately, until government restrictions are lifted on non-statutory ceremonies, we cannot take bookings for naming ceremonies, renewal of vows and bespoke ceremonies. 

Please call our registration operations team on 0300 303 2472. 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.

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.

At this stage, there has been no change in legislation to allow the validity of the notice period to be extended. If you have already given your notice of marriage / civil partnership, your notice will be valid for a period of 12 months only from the date you gave notice.

If you reschedule your marriage / civil partnership to more than 12 months after the date on which you originally gave notice, you will be required to give notice again. Marriage or Civil Partnership notice fees will not be refunded.

  • If you gave notice in Cumbria prior to 27th March 2020 and need to reschedule your ceremony due to covid-19 and new notices are needed you will receive one appointment free of charge
  • If you gave notice after 27th March 2020 you did so in the knowledge that we were in a pandemic and so you would not get a free notice appointment. 
  • If you have already had a free notice apointment to replace a notice pre dating 27th March 2020, you would pay for any subsequent notice appointments if your plans changed or the notice expired before your ceremony.

If you have chosen to move your ceremony to another venue, you will also be required to give notice again.

The fee for giving notice is a government set statutory fee and we are therefore not able to waive any fees charged by other Registration Districts for notice appointments at this time.

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. 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.

All ceremonies are due for payment within 12 weeks of the ceremony date. If you are having difficulties please email us ceremonies@cumbria.gov.uk to discuss your options. 

Please call our registration operations team on 0300 303 2472. Our team will be 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.

We are committed to helping you reschedule your ceremony to another date.  If you would like to cancel your ceremony our normal refund policy in place at time of your original booking will apply.  Please contact us on ceremonies@cumbria.gov.uk.

If you wish to cancel a ceremony that was due to take place in from 23 February 2021 to 16 May 2021 you can apply for a refund of your ceremony and certificate fees

If you wish to cancel a ceremony that was due to take place from 17 May 2021 onwards our normal refund policy, in place at the time of booking will apply. 

Please note marriage or civil partnership notice fees will not be refunded.

Refund Policy

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