Marriages & Partnerships
Your guide to getting married or forming a civil partnership in Somerset & North Somerset.
Find your essential ceremony planning guidance and forms here. We have also gathered answers to some Frequently Asked Questions, such as how a civil partnership differs from a marriage, how to get married if you are under 18, how to change your passport and renewing your vows. If you can’t find what you need to know, just drop us a line and we’ll do our best to help.
COVID19 Ceremony Guidance
The government has provided guidance on how weddings can be accommodated in these difficult times. The most up to date information can be found here: Coronavirus (COVID-19): Wedding and civil partnership ceremonies, receptions and celebrations: guidance from Step 4 – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
Under the current circumstances Government advice can and does change quickly and without notice. To keep up to date with all the latest information, or just to get some ideas for your own ceremony, please follow us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SomersetWeddingService/
Please use the ceremony guidance downloads and forms below in the Forms & Guidance section. These have been updated to include the latest easing of restrictions for Step 4 ceremonies, with general advice for more covid-safe ceremonies. Do email them back as sooon as possible for upcoming ceremonies. If you have already returned a Step 3 form, we would appreciate you sending a Step 4 version so we can be sure of guest numbers etc. We will email an update to couples with ceremonies booked between July 19th and September 30th as we know you have been waiting for news.
Coronavirus Ceremony Cancellation Trading Standards Advice
This useful guide has been produced by Devon, Somerset & Torbay Trading Standards. We’re so pleased to hear that venues are trying to be as accommodating as possible at this very difficult time. However if you have any issues or queries about your consumer rights, this guide will hopefully have the answers.
Somerset Registration Service are moving all ceremonies free of charge, and refunding in full any ceremonies cancelled during this period. We regret that we won’t be refunding the individual statutory £35 fees for giving notice of marriage or civil partnership as this work will already have been completed. If a notice’s 12 month period expires before a rescheduled ceremony, this process will need ot be repeated with the £35 per person fee being payable again.
Covid19 Registration Office Ceremony Room Numbers
STEP 4 – JULY 19 ONWARDS
While there is no legal cap on guest numbers, we have a duty of care to our staff to provide a safe working environment. As our busy team conduct multiple ceremonies a day all through the week, it’s vital that we protect their wellbeing to ensure future ceremonies can go ahead. To balance this with the wishes of couples to include as many friends and family in their special day as they can, we are offering a choice.
Ceremony rooms that can be well ventilated by opening doors and windows during the ceremony can return to their pre-covid maximum capacities. Please be aware that all rooms will be ventilated while guests arrive and leave, however, if you choose to have more guests the doors and/or windows will also remain open during your ceremony while you are exchanging vows. This could cause considerable noise and distraction at some venues, (particularly those in town centre environments) which is likely to impair the experience for you and your guests.
If you would prefer to keep doors and windows closed during the ceremony, reducing both noise and ventilation, then we have calculated a lower party size based on airflow tests. Please see the table below for your options and let us know on your Pre Ceremony Check form which option you would prefer. Please note that the registrars are not included in these numbers. If you wish to have photographers, musicians etc, they should be included in the guest numbers. Children under 1 or “babes in arms” do not need to be included in these numbers.
|The Old Municipal Buildings, Taunton|
|Tudor Hall (closed)||£350||36||+||2||+||2||=||40|
|Tudor Hall (ventilated)||£350||96||2||2||=||100|
(cannot currently be ventilated sufficiently. Work ongoing to find a solution)
|The Old Town Hall, Weston Super Mare|
|Hutton Suite (closed)||£150||8||+||2||+||2||=||12|
|Hutton Suite (ventilated)||£150||36||+||2||+||2||=||40|
Old Council Chamber
Old Council Chamber
|Abbey Manor, Yeovil|
|Mandeville Room (downstairs – closed)||£200||25||+||2||+||2||=||29|
|Mandeville Room (downstairs – ventilated)||£200||36||+||2||+||2||=||40|
|Frome Town Hall, Frome|
The Meeting Room
The Meeting Room
The Council Chamber
The Council Chamber
Forms and Guidance
Basic or “2+2” Ceremony
- Download the Pre Ceremony Check form for the Basic Ceremony here. This is the simple ceremony with no whistles and bells for you and your two witnesses at one of our Registration offices. Basic 2+2 Ceremony Form
- Download the Basic Ceremony Guidance Pack here to help make your vow choices and other essential ceremony details.
- Download the Pre Ceremony Check form for the Full Ceremony here. Use this form if you have booked a ceremony at an Approved Venue or are having a longer ceremony with guests at our Taunton, Yeovil, Frome or Weston-super-Mare venues. Full Ceremony Form
- Download the Full Ceremony Guidance Pack here to help you complete your Pre Ceremony Check Form – choose your vows, readings, music and all the other essential details for your ceremony.
Formerly an alternative for same-sex couples to gain legal recognition of their relationship, this type of union was made available to both same sex and opposite sex couples from December 31st 2019. The partners gain similar rights and responsibilities to married couples. You can hold a partnership ceremony at any of our approved premises. Once you decide what kind of union you want to form, get in touch with us to start the process. This handy PDF from the Gov.uk website lays out the similarities and differences for same sex and opposite sex marriages and civil partnerships.
The requirements, procedures and costs for giving notice and forming a civil partnership are the same as getting married. Couples must still give notice at least 28 days in advance of their ceremony, and must provide two witnesses.
The main difference to the ceremony is that a civil partnership can legally be formed by the couple signing a document without repeating any words. However, many couples still choose to mark the occasion by exchanging vows.
Converting a civil partnership to a marriage
Same sex couples who previously registered their civil partnership in England and Wales are now able to convert their partnership to a marriage. This can be done with a simple administrative process, or can include a ceremony if you wish. You will be treated as having been married since the date the civil partnership was formed. It is not currently possible for opposite sex couples who formed a civil partnership from following the legislation introduction in 2019 onwards to convert their partnership to a marriage, as both options were available to them at the time of forming their union.
The standard conversion
This is a simple administrative process where you will both attend an appointment at any register office and complete a declaration with details about you and your civil partnership. You can choose to say the words aloud, or simply sign the conversion document. You will then be issued with a marriage certificate. The documents that you will need to produce include:
- evidence of your name and date of birth – current passports or birth certificates
- evidence of your address – recent Council Tax or utilities bill
- an original civil partnership certificate
The charge for a standard conversion is lists in our Costs section.
A conversion followed by a ceremony
You may choose to attend an appointment to provide your details for the conversion, and then have a public ceremony at one of our approved venues or register offices where you will sign the conversion document in the presence of your friends and family, and be issued with your marriage certificate. The cost will be the same as our wedding fees.
Weddings or partnerships don’t have to cost the earth. How much you spend on your special day is entirely up to you. We offer a range of options to suit every budget, because we believe that everyone should be able to celebrate their special day in style.
The ceremony cost includes the attendance of the registrar, and your marriage certificate. Additional copies can be ordered prior to your ceremony or replacements may be purchased from our offices or ordered online here. All prices will be subject to VAT where applicable at the prevailing rate.
Standard Marriage or Partnership Ceremony
The simplest process is a ceremony involving just the couple plus two witnesses. It costs just £57, including your certificate. This takes place in a small private office and is available at the following locations, Monday to Friday.
- Bridgwater Registration Office
- Shepton Mallet Registration Office
- Williton Registration Office
- Yeovil Registration Office
- Taunton Register Office
- Weston-super-Mare Registration Office
Registration Office Venue Marriage or Partnership Ceremony
These fees include the ceremony costs, certificate and venue hire. This is an affordable option if you would like to invite guests to share your special day, and want to hold a reception at your own choice of venue.
- Vivary Room, Taunton Register Office(40 guests) – £200.00
- Tudor Hall, Taunton Register Office (100 guests) – £350.00
- Abbey Manor, Yeovil (40 guests) – £200.00
- Hutton Suite, Weston Town Hall (40 guests) – £150.00
- Old Council Chamber, Weston Town Hall (60 guests) – £200.00
- Meeting Room, Frome Town Hall (30 guests) – £200.00
- Council Chamber, Frome Town Hall (100 guests) – £350.00
Approved Premises Marriage or Partnership Ceremony
You can get married or form a partnership at over 120 beautiful approved venues across Somerset and North Somerset. Browse our Venue Directory for full details. The charges listed here are for the Registrars to attend, and a certificate. You will need to pay a separate fee to the venue for their services. Don’t forget to check availability with your chosen venue before booking the registrar and giving notice.
- Approved Premises Mon – Thurs – £440
- Approved Premises Fri – Sat – £470
- Approved Premises Sundays – £520
- Approved Premises Bank Holidays – £620
- Giving Notice – £35 each
- Civil Partnership Conversion – £56
- Registered Building Ceremony Attendance (Religious Venue) – £97
- Additional Certificates – £11
- Express Certificate Service – £35
Costs for our statutory ceremonies and certificates are set by the General Register Office. This includes certificates, giving notice, 2+2 marriage & civil partnership ceremonies, and civil partnership conversions.
You can now view our Ceremony Guide e-magazine online, or download and save a PDF version. It works alongside our website to guide you through planning your big day, and is full of useful information and inspiration, featured venues and great local suppliers. Photographers, florists, vintage car hire, hair and beauty professionals, legal advice, cake makers, jewellers, caterers and musicians – find them here and in our Supplier Directory.
Please note – this guide was produced prior to the introduction of the Marriage Schedule System being introduced on May 4th 2021. Please note that couples will no longer receive their certificate on the day of the ceremony. It will be posted to them within 5 working days. We are working on an updated Ceremony Guide to reflect all the changes and even more useful advice.
Look out for paper copies at wedding venues, wedding fayres, tourist information centres and registration offices.
Advice for non-UK citizens
Following Brexit, changes are due to take place on 1st July 2021 regarding couples planning to marry or form a partnership where one or both are not UK citizens, have indefinite leave to remain or EU/EEA citizens with settled status. After July 1st 2021, EU citizens will join other foreign nationals in being required to have a visa to get married or form a civil partnership in the UK. Please see the GOV.uk website for more details on the coming changes. We will update this site nearer the time when we have clear guidance. In the meantime, the following information applies for couples giving notice until the end of June.
Getting married at 16
If you want to get married or form a civil partnership at 16 or 17, you must have consent from both parents with parental responsibility. Please ask us for advice on who would be able to provide this consent if you’re not sure.
What name you use after marriage is entirely your decision. Your name won’t change automatically. Both partners can keep their own names, change or combine their names. You don’t need a deed poll to take your spouse’s or civil partner’s surname. Just send a copy of your marriage or civil partnership certificate to record-holders such as the Passport Office, Benefits Agency or DVLA. Your documents will be updated for free. If you want to change your name to something completely different, you will need a deed poll. You can view a guide here on the Gov.uk website https://www.gov.uk/change-name-deed-poll
Changing Your Passport
If you’re going abroad on a honeymoon, you need to make sure the name on your passport matches your booking. You don’t need to change your name immediately following the wedding, and it’s completely normal, and often much more convenient, to wait until after your holiday. You will need to send your certificate when you apply for a passport in your new name, along with your old passport which will be cancelled.
It’s possible to apply for a new passport up to 3 months before your ceremony to show your married name, if this is very important to you. Your old passport will be cancelled and your new one post-dated, so you won’t be able to use it before the ceremony so it is advisable to give notice of marriage before you send off your documents. You will need to request documentation from the Registration Service as proof of your intended marriage to send in with your passport renewal. Please be aware that if your ceremony is postponed for any reason, this may complicate the matter.
The Eternity Ceremony is a wonderful opportunity to reflect on your marriage or civil partnership and look forward to the future in the presence of your family and friends. It is available to any married or civil partnered couple who wish to renew their commitment in a joyful celebration. The format is similar to a civil ceremony, and because it has no legal status we can be more flexible with the content. You will meet with a member of our team in advance to personalise your unique ceremony. Formal or relaxed, we can tailor the experience to suit your wishes. Our team of professional celebrants are experienced in conducting ceremonies and making each couple’s day truly special. Each ceremony lasts approximately 30 minutes depending on your requirements. The cost is the same as a wedding booking at one of our ceremony rooms or approved venues. Get in touch with our team to find out more.