Give notice of your marriage or civil partnership

You may have a civil ceremony in any register office or an approved venue of your choice in England or Wales. It's important to establish where you would like to get married first before starting the process of giving notice of you intention to marry or form a civil partnership.

You must contact the Register Office at least three months but no more than 12 months before you intend to marry. 

Within Southwark we have numerous licensed venues for civil ceremonies.

Your notice of marriage or civil partnership will be valid for twelve months from the date you give notice.

The notice is only valid for the ceremony location that you state at the time of giving notice. Therefore, if you subsequently decide to change the venue, a new notice will need to be given and the notice waiting period of 28-70 days will need to be completed again.

Every couple is subject to the standard 28 day waiting period. Couples who are ‘in scope’ may have their waiting period extended to 70 days by the Home Office.

The Immigration Act 2014 defines ‘in scope’ as those who are non EEA nationals without a valid visa for the purpose of marriage or civil partnership. This applies to both parties, even if one is an EEA national.   

It's very important to allow plenty of time to complete this legal process of giving notice before the ceremony is due to take place. Further information can be obtained from the gov.uk website.

If both parties wishing to enter into a marriage or Civil Partnership are British or an EEA national you need to give notice in the borough in which you reside. You both need to attend an interview with the superintendent registrar either together or separately. Please note the 28 days waiting period must be completed by both of you. At the interview we'll ask you to give us information about yourself and your partner as well as the venue of the marriage or civil partnership.

If either or both of you are a non-EEA national you will need to give notice together at a designated register office, of which Southwark is one. You can phone 020 7525 7651 to book your appointment through our contact center.

Documents required when giving notice

You'll need to provide the below evidence at the time of your appointment. All documents provided must be originals. Scanned or photocopied documents are not acceptable. 

For documents issued in a foreign language, we'll need to see the original and a full English translation.

In order to give notice of marriage, both parties will be required to produce one piece of evidence each.

Your name, date of birth and nationality:

  • valid UK passport
  • birth certificate (British Citizens only: if born before 1 January 1983, they must provide their original UK certificate, plus another piece of specified evidence to establish current name (in case of name change since birth)
  • if born on or after 1 January 1983, they must provide a naturalisation/registration certificate or evidence (birth certificate or passport) of British nationality of your parent
  • valid EEA passport
  • valid EEA ID card
  • valid non-EEA Passport
  • valid Home Office Travel documents
  • valid Home Office Residence Permit

Important notice if your passport is currently retained by the Home Office. If you've sent off your passport for a visa application, you can request to have it returned by completing this form.

Alternatively, it's your responsibility to contact your caseworker to request for a certified copy of the passport to be emailed to registrars@southwark.gov.uk confirming that this is a copy issued by them.

Evidence of your place of residence:

  • utility bills (not older than 3 months); includes gas, electricity, water, telephone, but not mobile
  • bank/building society statement (not older than 1 month from the date of your appointment)
  • most recent Council Tax bill (current year only)
  • valid UK driving licence
  • tenancy agreement

If one or both parties wishing to marry or form a civil partnership in England or Wales and one or both of you are not resident in this country, then you must first establish a residency of seven clear days within a district in England or Wales. The day of your arrival will not be counted as part of your residency. The first day of your residency begins at 00:00 hours on the day after your arrival. An example of this is:

  • if you arrive at 4pm Monday 15 February, your first day of residence would commence at 00:00 hours on Tuesday 16 February and you have to reside within one registration district for the next seven days; on the eighth day you'll be free to give notice in the Register Office for the borough in which you've established that residency

As you or your partner would only have arrived in England or Wales recently, we will accept a letter from the person that you have been residing with as proof of address. The letter should state the date you arrived and the name, address and contact telephone number of the person who is vouching for your residence.

If you've recently moved to the borough from another district you should also establish a clear 7 day residency. Proof of address would be a tenancy agreement, mortgage statement or letter from the person responsibly for the property confirming the date of your arrival and the name, address and contact telephone number of the person who is vouching for your residence.

Evidence of change of name

  • original Deed Poll / Change of name certificate

Evidence of dissolution of previous marriage or civil partnership

  • original divorce certificate (translation of originals required for foreign divorces in foreign languages); please note that if the name on the divorce decree absolute or civil partnership dissolution does not match the name on the proof of identity, you'll need to provide either an original certified copy of your previous marriage/civil partnership certificate or a change of name deed to link the names
  • from the 1 November 2017 additional charges will made for the consideration of overseas divorce documents:
    • £50 - divorce obtained overseas that can be cleared locally
    • £75 - divorce obtained overseas that needs to be cleared by the General Register Office

Please note that only when a registrar sees the document can a decision be made as to whether it will cleared locally or cleared by the General Register Office.

  • if either of you is a widow/widower or surviving civil partner, we'll need to see a certified copy of your partner's death certificate and your marriage/civil partnership certificate

Photographic evidence

Those ‘in scope’ and those with fiancé/marriage visas must produce a passport size, passport quality photograph when giving notice. This is for both parties, even if one is British/an EEA national. If you don't bring these documents to the notice appointment we may not be able to see you and your appointment will have to be rescheduled.

If you're under 18 years of age, you'll need to complete Consent required to the Marriage of a Minor Form 55 (pdf, 592kb). This form is also available from the Register Office.

You must bring all of the required documents with you to the appointment. Failure to do so will result in us being unable to take the notice and your appointment being re-booked. 

Please note this is a prescribed list of acceptable documents and we're unable to accept documents outside of this list. If you're unsure about the documents required, call us on 0207 525 7669 or email registrars@southwark.gov.uk

Changes for giving notice when getting married in a Church of England and Church in Wales

Anglican marriages involving non EEA nationals are now subject to civil preliminaries. Before this, you may have been able to have your banns of marriage read in church.

You'll now have to attend a Designated Register Office (DRO) or a non DRO dependent on immigration status.

Southwark Register office is a Designated Register Office (DRO), we are working in partnership with the Home Office and the General Register Office and will report any suspicions of a sham or forced marriage or other immigration offences. We use ID scan to verify documents presented at the Register Office.

Appointments

We offer appointments only for this service. Customers wishing to give their notice of marriage or civil partnership will need to make an appointment.

To make an appointment, contact us on 020 7525 7651 Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm.

Limited appointments are available on Saturday mornings only.

Marriage Notice and Ceremony fees

The following fees and charges are effective from 1 April 2017.

Notice fee (per person) - £35 or £47 (depending on your immigration status).

Marriages taking place in The Garden Room, 34 Peckham Road at Southwark Register Office:

Basic ceremony at register office - Wednesdays only £49

  • Wednesday ceremony time slots - 10am, 10:30am, 11am, 11:30am, 2pm, 2:30pm, 3pm, 3:30pm, (4pm April to September only) 
  • the basic ceremony includes the exchange of the legal declarations (to be spoken after the registrar), the exchange of rings, the signing of the register book and includes a copy of one certificate; each couple are allocated 30 minutes for the preliminaries, the ceremony and time in the garden for photographs

Enhanced ceremony at register office - Thursday to Saturday £260

  • Thursday & Friday ceremony time slots - 10am, 10:40am, 11:20am, 2pm, 2:40pm, 3:20pm
  • Saturday ceremony time slots - 9:20, 10am, 10:40am, 11:20am, 1pm, 1:40pm, 2:20pm, 3pm, 3:40pm

The enhanced ceremony includes the exchange of the legal declarations (to be spoken after the registrar), the exchange of rings, the signing of the register book and includes a copy of one certificate. In addition to this you are entitled to one reading and the opportunity to bring your own selection of music to be played durinamg the entrance, the signing of the register and as you exit.

The bride and groom can remain separate until the start of the ceremony and the bride can make her entrance after all the guests have been seated. Please note that all music and readings must be submitted for approval to ensure that your choices are suitable for a civil ceremony. Providing that there are no religious connotations, choices are usually approved. Each couple is allocated 40 minutes for the preliminaries, the ceremony and time in the garden for photographs.

All our fees are non refundable and non transferable

The Garden Room capacity is 50 guests maximum (seating for 35 people and standing room for 15 people). Keep these limitations in mind when sending out your invitations. Should your party exceed the maximum capacity, some guests may be asked to leave the building to comply with Health and Safety legislation.

  • additional certificates on the day of the ceremony - £4
  • additional certificates the day after the ceremony - £7
  • additional certificates once the register is archived - £10

Attendance of the registrars at an approved building

  • Monday to Thursday £504 - ceremonies are on the hour from 10am to 4pm (after 5pm - £654)
  • Friday or Saturday £584 - ceremonies are on the hour from 10am to 4pm (after 5pm - £70)
  • Sunday/Bank Holiday £620 - ceremonies are on the hour from 10am to 1am

Please contact the register office directly if you wish to have an approved venue ceremony on or after 5pm Monday - Saturday only.

These charges must be paid in cash or by credit or debit card.

How to book the registrar for your ceremony

Please email the following details to registrars@southwark.gov.uk when enquiring about a ceremony in one of the approved venues  within Southwark or in The Garden Room, 34 Peckham Road which is the name of the only licensed space for marriage at Southwark Register Office:

  • full names of both parties
  • the nationalities of both parties
  • the date of notice appointment and name of the register office for both parties
  • the type of visa held by non UK / EEA nationals 
  • let us know if either party been through a divorce or dissolution of marriage outside the UK (please give details)
  • full addresses of both parties including the postcode
  • preferred date and time of ceremony
  • the name and address of your chosen licensed venue
  • are you enquiring about a Marriage or Civil Partnership ceremony (this question is simply administrative)
  • telephone numbers of both parties

All these details are required from each couple to successfully assist you in securing your marriage or Civil Partnership booking.

Page last updated: 20 December 2017