North East Lincolnshire Council

Arranging your civil ceremony

Any marriage or civil partnership which takes place in England and Wales, other than a marriage within the Church of England, requires the couple to attend at the Register Office where they live.  The couple are required to give their Notice of Intention to Marry or form their civil partnership; this is the legal process requiring the production of documents which identify the couple who are to be married or form a civil partnership with each other and the place of the ceremony.

Find out more about what we can do for you in our Ceremonies in North East Lincolnshire brochure.

You cannot give your notice of intention to marry (or form a civil partnership (notice) more than 12 months before the date your ceremony is due to take place.  With effect from 2 March 2015 a minimum period of 28 clear days is legally required before the authority or schedule for the ceremony to take place may be issued by the superintendent registrar.

The notice will be displayed within the register office so that any person who wishes to do so can make a legal objection to the marriage or civil partnership.

In order for you to give your notice you must have lived within North East Lincolnshire (and provide documentary evidence of doing so) for a minimum period of seven 24 hour periods (ie eight/nine clear days) prior to giving the notice.

Without the correct documents a notice of intention to marry cannot be taken.  If you bring the wrong or insufficient documents with you, your appointment will need to be re-booked.

When you attend at the register office to give the notice you MUST bring the following documents with you.  These can vary dependent upon your status.

  • Current, valid European passport
  • A UK driving licence
  • If you were born on or after 1 January 1983 and DO NOT have a valid EU passport you are required to produce your own full birth certificate (showing parent’s names) and either the full birth certificate of your mother (that shows her parent(s) details) or her current, valid European Union passport.  This is required to evidence your nationality
  • If you bring a birth certificate you also need to being in an additional document showing your full name; e.g. bank statement, current insurance documents – please check with a member of staff before attending for an appointment
  • A utility bill or other official correspondence addressed to you at your present address and dated within the last three months

The following documents may also be required:

  • Decree absolute – if this is a foreign document a translation into English will be required
    • With effect from 1st November 2017, a charge has been introduced by General Register Office for the consideration of a divorce occurring outside of the British Isles.If your divorce has been issued by a country listed below, then it can be considered by the Local Registration Service, where you attend to attest your notice and you will be charged a fee of £50, in additional to your notice of marriage fees.

      Countries :

      Channel Islands, Isle of Man, Northern Ireland, Scotland, Australia, Barbados, Bermuda, Canada, Fiji, Irish Republic, Jamaica, Kenya, New Zealand, South Africa (excluding Bohuthatswana, Ciskei, Transkei and Venda), Tanzania, Zimbabwe, All USA (except Nevada and Guam), Austria, Bulgaria, Hungary, Germany, Poland, Romania, Russia or Sweden

      Providing all other requirements are met.

      If your divorce was heard in any other country than those listed above, General Register Office will need to consider the divorce and will charge £75.00, in addition to notice of marriage fees.  These fees will be taken the time you attest your notice of marrige and then forwarded by the Registrar to the Registrar General for consideration.”

  • Any previous marriage certificates that provide evidence of former changes of name and marital status
  • Death certificate of late spouse
  • Change of name deed or statutory declaration
  • Consent form if under 18 years of age (available from the register office)

These documents MUST be originals – photocopies will not be accepted and failure to produce any necessary documents will delay the giving of notice and may have an impact on your ceremony date.

You must book an appointment to give your notice and a £30 booking fee is payable at the time of booking this appointment. The notice fee for each party is £35. You can provisionally book your ceremony more than a year in advance for an additional booking fee of £20 (£50 in total). If you book more than two years in advance the booking fee is £75.

Cost for services – 1 April 2016

Fee type and cost:

Booking fees (non refundable) – £30

Advanced booking fee (for ceremonies more than one year in advance) – £50

Marriage / civil partnership notice – £35

Marriage / civil partnership ceremony (Register Office only) – £50

Croft Baker ceremony fee:
Monday to Thursday – £105
Friday – £130
Saturday (up to 12:30pm) – £155

The Council Chamber ceremony fee:
Monday to Thursday – £225
Friday – £270
Saturday – £375
Sunday and Bank Holiday – £430

Approved premises ceremony fee:
Monday to Friday – £320
Saturday – £400
Sunday and Bank Holiday – £450

Non-conformist church attendance – £88

These fees do not take into account any fee charged by the approved premises. The fees for approved premises vary throughout England and Wales according to the district in which you wish to hold your ceremony – if you wish to have your ceremony in another district other than in North East Lincolnshire, you should contact the relevant Superintendent Registrar in order to obtain the correct fee for the venue at which you wish to hold your ceremony.

Please note: fees are revised on 1 April each year. The fees for the forthcoming year will be posted as soon as they are available

Any marriage or civil partnership which takes place in England and Wales, other than a marriage within the Church of England, requires the couple to attend the Register Office in the district where they reside.

The couple are required to give their notice of intention to marry or form their civil partnership, this is the legal process requiring the production of documents which identify the couple who are to be married or form a civil partnership with each other and the place of the ceremony.

Brief introduction to the new legislation

The Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill came into law during the Summer of 2013.

The Act, which applies to England and Wales, will:

  • Allow same sex couples to marry in civil ceremonies
  • Allow same sex couples to marry in religious ceremonies, where the religious organisation has ‘opted in’ to conduct such ceremonies and the minister of religion agrees
  • Protect those religious organisations and their representatives who don’t wish to conduct marriages of same sex couples from successful legal challenge
  • Enable civil partners to convert their partnership to a marriage, if they wish
  • Enable married individuals to change their legal gender without having to

It was announced on 10 December 2013 that the first same sex marriages can take place with effect from Saturday 29 March 2014, with legal notice of intent being given not before 13 March 2014.

If you have any queries with regard to this new legislation, please contact the Superintendent Registrar on 01472 324860.

Ceremony rooms and times that can be booked

The Register Office is located in Cleethorpes Town Hall, Knoll Street, Cleethorpes.  The beautiful accommodation can offer three rooms within the building that can host civil ceremonies.

North East Lincolnshire Register Office, Cleethorpes

This is the statutory room available for ceremonies at the statutory fee.  This room does also double as the superintendent registrar’s office, therefore it does have computer equipment, desks and other office furniture contained within it.

This room can accommodate a bride and groom, or two civil partners, and two witnesses only and is ideal if you want a quick and simple, yet dignified ceremony.  This room is perfect if you are simply attending for the legal ceremonies with plans for another ceremony, either elsewhere in the United Kingdom or abroad.

The register office can offer the following times for marriage ceremonies, subject to availability:

Monday to Thursday 9.30 am only

The Croft Baker Ceremony Room

The Croft Baker Ceremony Room is located on the ground floor of the Town Hall and can accommodate up to 30 guests (NOT including couple).  There is the facility for a grand entrance into this room, with a choice of your own music playing.  You will have the chance to take photographs of the couple during the ceremony and signing the register.  Upon exiting the room you will be able to use the stunning staircase for additional photographs.

The Croft Baker Ceremony Room can offer the following times for marriage ceremonies, subject to availability:

Monday to Friday 11.30 am, 1 pm & 2.30 pm
Saturday (lower rate) 10 am, 11 am & 12 noon
Saturday (higher rate) 1 pm to 4.30 pm

All fees are payable eight weeks before your ceremony.

The Council Chamber, Town Hall, Cleethorpes

This grand room, which is still used for numerous civic occasions, can accommodated up to 60 guests.

The room is located on the first floor of the Town Hall and there is a lift available for people with mobility difficulties.  You can personalise your ceremony with your own choice of music, vows and additions if you so wish.

After your ceremony you can make use of the beautiful landing and staircase for photographs.

The Council Chamber can offer the following times for marriage ceremonies (subject to other bookings already made for the room):

Monday to Friday 1 pm, 2.30 pm & 4 pm
Saturday 10 am to 4.30 pm
Sunday and bank holidays 11.30 am, 1 pm & 2.30 pm

All fees are payable eight weeks before your ceremony.

A room hire fee is included within the fees set.

If you wish to make an appointment to give your notice of intention to marry or form a civil partnership at the register office and view the ceremony room, please contact us for an appointment.

How to convert your existing civil partnership into a same sex marriage

Some couples who have formed civil partnerships may wish to be married now that the option to marry is available to same sex couples.  This provision allows couples to transfer from one legal relationship (civil partnership) into another (marriage) without having to end their civil partnership.

Conversions into marriage will only be possible for couples who registered their civil partnership in England and Wales or overseas in a consulate or armed forces base (where the civil partnership was registered according to the law of England and Wales).

There are different options available for couples to convert their civil partnership into marriage:

  • Standard (one stage) procedure at a register office or local registration service point
  • Two stage procedure
  • Housebound procedure
  • Detained procedure
  • Special procedure for those who are seriously ill and not expected to recover

Standard one stage procedure

This is limited to a civil procedure in a civil setting – in North East Lincolnshire this venue is located in Cleethorpes Town Hall.

The procedure consists of the following steps:

  • Completion of a declaration
  • Signing of a declaration
  • Registering the marriage
  • Issue of the certificate

Appointments must be made and these are only completed during our usual office hours Monday to Friday.

At the appointment, you must bring with you the following documents:

  • Civil partnership certificate
  • Valid passport
  • Current driving licence
  • Birth certificate (if you don’t have a valid passport)
  • Bank statement or utility bill (if you don’t have a driving licence)

Only the two civil partners can attend for this appointment.

Two stage procedure

The two stage procedure is the completion of the declaration and the signing of the declaration in two stages i.e. at a later date and / or different location.  The two stage process can be civil or religious.

For further information on conversion of civil partnerships into marriage, please contact us.

How many guests can I invite?

The North East Lincolnshire Register Office will accommodate you, your partner and two witnesses ONLY.  If you wish to invite more guests, you will need to book either the Croft Baker Ceremony Room or the Council Chamber (subject to availability).

The Croft Baker Ceremony Room has seating for 30 guests. You, your partner and your two witnesses are not included in this number.  If you wish to invite more guests, you will need to book The Council Chamber (subject to availability).

The Council Chamber has seating for 60 guests.  You, your partner and your two witnesses are not included in this number.

What about music? Can we choose our own?

You don’t have to have music if you prefer not to, but it is nice to have music playing in the background as your guests arrive and you can have your own choice of music if you wish. This can be a pre-recorded CD that you’ve bought, or a CD that you have recorded yourself.

If you record your own CD you should bring it into the register office at least two weeks prior to your ceremony so we can test it on our equipment.

Please remember your ceremony is a civil ceremony so the music must not contain any religious reference.

If you do not wish to provide your own CD the register office has a wide selection of music ranging from popular love songs to classical music which can be played.

Please note: there is no provision for music to be played for ceremonies held in the North East Lincolnshire Register Office statutory room.

Can we provide flowers for the Ceremony Room?

No – there isn’t sufficient time before and after ceremonies to add or remove floral arrangements.

Should my partner and I arrive together or separately?

It’s your choice. If you want a traditional feel to your ceremony and don’t want to see each other before the ceremony you can arrive separately, or if you want something more informal you can arrive together.

Can I have bridesmaids and someone to ‘give me away’?

You can have attendants such as bridesmaids, flower girls, page boys etc, and you can walk into the Ceremony Room with a relative or friend, although they won’t ‘give you away’ in the traditional sense.

Who can we have as witnesses?

Your witnesses can be anyone you choose – relatives or friends, but they must be over 16 years old. They must understand what they are witnessing and be able to sign their name to confirm they have witnessed the ceremony. Witnesses are not able to take photographs during the ceremony or video the ceremony.

Can we say our own vows or a have a reading during the ceremony?

There are certain words called declaratory and contracting words that you must say by law. But it is also possible to incorporate your own vows into the ceremony, or have a family member or friend give a reading or say a poem.

The registrar will require a copy of the additional vows and any readings etc at least two weeks before the ceremony.

Please remember as your ceremony is a civil ceremony the readings or vows must not contain any religious reference.

I’m really nervous about saying the words – should I learn them beforehand?

No – the registrar conducting the ceremony will guide each of you by saying the declaratory and contracting words first, a few at a time, and then asking you to repeat them. So don’t worry!

How long does the ceremony last?

You, your partner and guests need to arrive at the Office 10 to 20 minutes before the ceremony is due to start. You and your partner will have a short interview with the registrar before the ceremony starts. The ceremony itself takes approximately 15 minutes, but if you have additional vows it will take a little longer. You may also want to allow time after the ceremony for photographs to be taken.

Can we have photographs taken in the Town Hall?

Yes – if you have a professional photographer the registrar will speak to them prior to the ceremony about what shots can be taken during the ceremony. If you have chosen family or a friend to take your photographs you must ask them to speak to the registrar beforehand. Once you have both signed the register your guests will be given an opportunity to take photographs of you posed at the register. After the ceremony photographs can be taken at the foot of the main staircase in the Town Hall. Guests are not permitted to go beyond the roped off area on the stairs. Photographs can also be taken on the steps outside the Town Hall and the Pier Gardens are just a short walk away.

Is there disabled access to the Town Hall?

Yes – there is a ramp just off the car park to the rear of the building. Another ramp inside takes you to the ground floor where the Register Office is located.

If you ceremony is to be held in The Council Chamber a lift is available for access to the first floor.

Can the official car park outside the Town Hall?

Yes – the bride and groom’s, or civil partner’s, car is permitted to park directly outside the Register Office. But we would advise that you ensure it is very clear that it is the wedding car and perhaps have it decorated with ribbons, etc. However, we accept no liability or responsibility if the car is ticketed.

Where can the guests park their cars?

Monday to Friday guests can use the various pay and display car parks that are all located within a short distance of the town hall – they are located at Wardall Street, Yarra Road and St Peters Avenue. The Town Hall and Civic Offices car parks are for permit holders only Monday to Friday.

On a Saturday the Town Hall car park does become available for general public use, but is not dedicated to the Register Office. At the moment, this car park is free of charge. The Civic Offices car park is a pay and display car park – one hour should be plenty.

Can the guests throw confetti?

Yes – but the confetti must be thrown outside, not inside the building.

If you have any further queries please contact us.

More services

Gov.uk – marriages and civil partnerships in the UK

Registration and Celebratory Service, Cleethorpes Town Hall, Cleethorpes, North East Lincolnshire, DN35 8LN

Email: register.office@nelincs.gov.uk

Telephone: 01472 326295 – option 2

Opening times: Monday to Friday 9 am to 12 noon and 1 pm to 4 pm except bank holidays

Access for wheelchair users is available to the rear of Cleethorpes Town Hall