Religious ceremonies and registering a building for worship
Find out about how to arrange a wedding in a religious building and also how to register a building for worship and marriage.
Marriage in religious buildings
A religious marriage ceremony can take place in a religious building which has been registered for worship and for solemnisation of marriages. The service is conducted by the minister and occasionally a registrar will be required to attend to register the marriage.
Couples seeking to marry in a registered religious building which is not Church of England or Church of Wales must give notice at their local register office.
Jewish and Quaker faiths
Special arrangements regarding venues apply for some people marrying according to the rites of the Jewish and Quaker faiths.
Same sex couples
Same sex couples who want to marry in a religious building can do so if the religious governing authority offers same sex marriages and has made a successful application for registration. You may need to provide a letter of confirmation from the minister.
Contact the minister of the religious building to find out costs and arrangements. Check the relevant notice waiting period before making a booking. Check if the building has a person to register marriages or whether you need to book a registrar.
- If you need to book a registrar, contact the register office local to the religious building.
- Make an appointment to give notice (if required) at least 3 months before the ceremony.
- Collect the marriage authorities from your notice borough after the waiting period is over. Give them to the minister (or the registrar, if one is attending) in advance of the ceremony.
- If the religious building you want to marry in is outside the boroughs you and your partner live in and not your usual place of worship you cannot give notice to be married there (except in very limited circumstances). This applies even if the minister has agreed to your marriage. Contact us for further advice.
Civil partnership in religious buildings
Civil partnerships can be registered in a religious building which has been specially approved and your civil partnership registration may be followed by a separate religious ceremony. You must give notice at your local register office and a registrar must be booked to register the civil partnership.
The historic Newington Green Unitarian Church is the first religious building in Hackney to be approved as a venue for civil partnerships.
Contact the minister of the religious building to find out costs and arrangements. Check the relevant notice waiting period before making a booking.
- Contact the register office of the area local to the religious building and book a registrar.
- Make an appointment to give notice at least 3 months before the ceremony.
- Confirm arrangements with the minister and registrar attending. Form your civil partnership.
Registering a building for worship and marriage
Registering a building for worship
If your religious congregation uses a specific building regularly for worship, you may be able to register that building as a place of worship. Buildings which are registered as places of worship receive a certificate of registration and are added to the Registrar General’s List.
Registering a place of worship for marriage
If your building is registered as a place of worship you can also apply to be a registered place for marriages. You will need to complete two different application forms – one for worship and one for marriage. These can be submitted together.
Registering a place of worship for disuse
If you have ceased to use your registered religious building for regular worship or if your congregation is moving to a different building, it is your responsibility to register the building for disuse.
Authorised persons for marriage
In the first year after a building has been granted registration for marriage, a registrar would need to attend any marriages at the building. When the building has been registered for both worship and marriage for at least one year, you may be able to apply for a member of your congregation to become an ‘authorised person’ for marriages – this person could then register marriages without a registrar being present.
Further information about marriage registration and application forms.