Pre Ceremony Guidance - 2+2 Marriage Ceremonies - Somerset Registration Services

Marriages & Partnerships

Your guide to getting married or forming a civil partnership in Somerset & North Somerset.

Simple “2+2” Marriage Ceremony Guidance

A wedding is a wonderful occasion, even a simple ceremony with just 2 guests. We want to make sure everything runs as smoothly as possible for you, from giving Notice to planning your perfect ceremony. This page gives you ceremony guidance to help you complete your planning form and let you know what to expect on the day. If there is anything else you want to know or are unsure about, our website should have all the answers. If you can’t find what you’re looking for then do send a query through the contact form.

We need your planning form around a week or two before the big day so we can start personalising your ceremony. As it’s a simpler ceremony we don’t need it as far ahead as the full ceremony form. We often refer to these forms as “pre ceremony check forms” or “PCCs” for short. Previously this form was a downloadable word document but is now a digital form. It should be compatible with most devices. If you experience difficulties filling it in please email the team to request it in a different format.

You will not receive a confirmation email after submission – we will contact you if there are any problems.

Giving Notice

You will both need to give Notice of Marriage. This is the legal and public declaration that you intend to marry, and that you are both free and able to do so.

This must be done no more than 12 months and no less than 28 days prior to your marriage date. We recommend that you give Notice of Marriage around three to six months beforehand. After 28 days the register office will grant a legal authority to marry. The Registration office in the district of your ceremony will print and retain the paperwork for you. If either one of you is not a UK citizen and subject to immigration control, then the notice period could be up to 70 days so please allow plenty of extra time for this. Find more details about the process and booking information on the Giving Notice page.


Simple ceremony fees can paid on the day itself if you wish. You can pay in advance in person if you are giving notice at one of our offices. Alternatively, you can call to pay over the phone beforehand. The fee includes the cost of one marriage certificate. You can pay by card over the phone by calling 01823 282251 during normal office hours. You can also pay for additional certificates if you would like extra copies. We can only accept cheques at least four weeks in advance.

Go to the Costs page for up to date information on the costs for giving Notice, what details you will need to provide, and our locations.

On The Day

We ask that you arrive around 15 minutes before your ceremony start time. Before the ceremony begins, you will have a brief meeting with the registrar to check the details to be entered into the schedule.

We will produce your certificate after the ceremony details have been uploaded to the online register and will post it to you within ten working days. If you require extra copies of your marriage certificate you can request and pay for these online at

Our ceremony schedule is very busy so we do urge you to be on time for your wedding. If there is a delay, please let us know as soon as possible. We will always do our best to accommodate you but may have to postpone your ceremony until later in the day, or even to another date if absolutely necessary.

The Ceremony

The 2+2 Ceremony is very straightforward and comprised of several legal elements and an optional ring vow. It lasts around 15 to 20 minutes. This is the normal order of service.

  • Introduction and Welcome
  • Legal Preliminaries
  • Declaration of freedom
  • Contract of Marriage
  • Ring Vows (Optional)
  • Announcement
  • Signing of the Schedule

Completing the Pre-Ceremony Check Form

We need your choices at least a week in advance to prepare your ceremony. If we haven’t heard from you, we will prepare a ceremony using the first option for each element.

Booking ID

Enter the 8-digit number that will be on your confirmation email.

Ceremony Venue

This is the name of the registration office where you will be having your ceremony.

Ceremony Date

Enter the date your ceremony will take place

Ceremony Time

This is the time that your ceremony is booked to start. You will need to arrive around 15 minutes earlier to arrange payment and have your pre ceremony interview.


It is up to you who is Partner 1 and Partner 2. For an opposite sex couple there is no requirement for either the man or woman to be first. Please state your current legal names, including all forenames. These are the names that you are using as you enter the marriage, that you will use to sign the schedule and that will be on your certificate.

It is up to you what surnames you adopt after the ceremony. If either party is changing their surname to the other’s, or you are going to double-barrel your names, this will not be recorded on your marriage certificate. The certificate simply acts as proof of your marriage and therefore your name change.

Alternative Names

We will need to use your full legal names during the declaration and contracting words. However, we can use alternative names during the rest of the ceremony if that is how you are normally known.


You must provide two witnesses who could be, but do not need to be, friends or relatives. Please tell us their names in the pre-ceremony check form. If you need to change your witnesses just let us know on the day. There is no legal minimum age limit, but we ask that they are old enough to understand the ceremony and their role within it. Your witnesses will be asked to sign the marriage schedule after the ceremony.

Your Marriage Vows

The law requires that one of each of the following choices of the ‘Declaration of Freedom’ and ‘Contracting Words’ are repeated by both parties. You must choose the same option as your partner.

Declaration of Freedom

You will each be asked to repeat one of the following options after the Registrar. These are some of the words that legally marry you and cannot be changed in any way:

1) I do solemnly declare that I know not of any lawful impediment why I . . . . . . . . . . may not be joined in matrimony to . . . . . . . . . .


2) I declare that I know of no legal reason why I . . . . . . . . . . may not be joined in marriage to . . . . . . . . . .


3) by replying “I am” to the question “Are you . . . . . . . free lawfully to marry . . . . . . .?”

The Contracting Words

You will each be asked to repeat one of the following options after the Registrar. These are some of the words that legally marry you and cannot be changed in any way:

1) I call upon these persons here present to witness that I . . . . . . . . . . do take thee . . . . . . . . . . to be my lawful wedded wife/husband.


2) I . . . . . . . . . . take you . . . . . . . . . . to be my wedded wife/husband.


3) I . . . . . . . . . . take thee . . . . . . . . . . to be my wedded wife/husband.

Wedding Rings

It is customary to exchange a wedding ring or rings, but you don’t have to. It’s traditional for partners to place the ring on the third finger of the left hand. If you’d like to exchange a different token, you may. Please let us know if you will be exchanging one or two rings, or something else. If you tick the option on the form to say no rings it will automatically skip past this section.

Ring Vows

If you are exchanging rings, please choose one of the following vows. The Registrar will say the vow in sections for you to repeat. 


I give you this ring as a symbol of our love, trust and marriage.

Ring exchange one

I give you this ring as a token of my love and affection.

Please wear it with a feeling of warmth and pride

I will love you, and remain faithful to you, now and always.

Ring exchange two

I give you this ring as a sign of our love

I promise to be faithful, loving and loyal for always

To cherish you through good times and bad, and to respect and honour you

Ring exchange three

I promise to give you my love and friendship,

To be there for you when you need me the most,

To laugh with you, to cry with you, and to confide in you,

To trust you, to comfort you, and to support you.

All that I have I share with you.

I promise to respect you, and be faithful to you always.

These promises I make for the rest of my life

And I give you this ring as a token of our marriage.

Ring exchange four

This ring represents our love.

I vow to love you and care for you

I shall spend my life with you

And share everything I have with you.


Let us know how you would like to be announced at the end of the ceremony – eg Mr & Mrs Surname, the happy couple, Somerset’s newest married couple, or First name & First name. If you will be using a double-barrelled surname or creating a new name, we can use that in the announcement.

If you have any special requests or additional needs, please use the final part of the form to let us know.

After the ceremony

The Registrar will add closing words before the completion of the schedule. Please take the time to make sure that everything on the schedule is accurate, as there is a fee for correcting entries later if the mistake wasn’t picked up at this stage.

Photographs and Videos

There isn’t space for a professional photographer at a 2+2 ceremony unless they are one of the two witnesses. Your witnesses are welcome to take photographs at appropriate stages of the ceremony. Your witnesses are also welcome to film the ceremony. We’ll make sure you have a chance to take a “signing” photograph at the end if you would like.


We allow biodegradable confetti at our registration office venues. Please only use paper, petals/leaves or bubbles – no plastic confetti. Also, please don’t throw rice as it tends to get ground into the floor both inside and out, and can attract unwanted furry friends.