More Information - Somerset Registration Services

Marriages & Partnerships

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

More Information

We have 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 Cancellation Guidance & Forms

As your special day approaches, you are no doubt feeling a mix of excitement and anxiety about what your ceremony will look. With that in mind, we have put together some information which should hopefully provide you with all the details you need ahead of your ceremony. It also explains what we need from you both in advance of the ceremony and on the day. The latest information and versions of the form will be emailed to couples within 3 weeks of their ceremony. As the situation is changing so rapidly, poease wait for your emailed version to arrive before replying. We’ve added these copies to give you an idea of what will be required, and to help you plan your day.

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: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-guidance-for-small-marriages-and-civil-partnerships/covid-19-guidance-for-small-marriages-and-civil-partnerships 

The absolute maximum allowed at any ceremony is currently 30, regardless of the size of the room.  This number must include the couple, two registrars and any photographers etc. In addition to a maximum number of attendees, the room must also meet Government guidelines for social distancing requirements.  This means that room that you have chosen may no longer be able to accommodate the numbers you first expected.  Further details of maximum room capacity are included in the following links.

Please ensure that you follow the link below which is relevant to the venue you have chosen for your ceremony.  It includes all the information you must be aware of prior to your big day, as well and details of the information that we need from you in advance.

If you have booked a basic ‘2+2’ ceremony at any of our offices for the statutory fee of £57, please follow this link for all the relevant information: Customer Information – Statutory 2+2 Ceremonies

If you have booked a ceremony in one of the Registration Service ceremony rooms please follow this link for all the relevant information: Customer Information – Registration Office Ceremony Rooms

This includes:

  • The Vivary Room and Tudor Hall at The Old Municipal Buildings (Taunton),
  • The Hutton Suite and Old Council Chamber in Weston-super-Mare’s Old Town Hall,
  • Abbey Manor Business Centre, Yeovil
  • Frome Town Hall

If you have booked us to attend your ceremony at a licensed venue not listed above please follow this link for all the relevant information: Customer Information – Approved Premises Ceremonies

We appreciate that we are in uncertain times, and you your forthcoming ceremony may not be how you thought it would be, but please rest assured, that as well as keeping everyone safe, our priority is still to make it the most memorable occasion for you both.  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/

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 Plans

Room plans for Vivary Room at Taunton Register Office and Frome Town Hall rooms to follow soon.

Please note that these seating plans are fixed. They’ve been created to maximise the number of guests while still conforming to the governments’s social distancing requirements. Due to the nature of register office bookings, it’s not possible to move seating between ceremonies. Hopefully these diagrams will help you to arrange your guest seating in advance of your big day. 

room diagram for mandeville room, abbey manor, yeovil

room plan for hutton suite, weston town hall room plan for old council chamber, weston town hall room plan for tudor hall, taunton register office

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. *** Form disabled temporarily – please use Covid forms emailed in advance of your ceremony***
  • Download the Basic Ceremony Guidance Pack here, containing the standard options for your declaration and vows.

Full Ceremony

  • 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 or Weston-super-Mare venues. *** Form disabled temporarily – please use Covid forms emailed in advance of your ceremony***
  • Download our Full Ceremony Guidance Pack to help you complete your Pre Ceremony Check Form – choose your vows, readings, music and all the other essential details for your ceremony.

Civil Partnership

  • Download the Pre Ceremony Check form for Civil Parnership here. You may use this form for both Basic and Full ceremonies. *** Form disabled temporarily – please use Covid forms emailed in advance of your ceremony***
  • Download the Ceremony Guidance Pack here. This contains all the details for both Basic and Full civil partnership ceremonies.
Civil Partnerships

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.

Marriage_and_Civil_Partnership_in_England_and_Wales

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.

 
You can read more about Civil Partnerships in our blogs “What Is A Civil Partnership” and “Opposite Sex Civil Partnerships”
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.

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.

Costs

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.

Our Charges

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.

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 (40-60 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

Other Costs

  • Giving Notice – £35 each
  • Civil Partnership Conversion – £56 
  • Registered Building Ceremony Attendance – £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. 

Ceremony Guide

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.

Look out for paper copies at wedding venues, wedding fayres, tourist information centres and registration offices.

bride and groom kissing in white ceremony venue

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.

Changing Names
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 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 may be 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. Your old passport will be cancelled and your new one post-dated, so you won’t be able to use it before the ceremony.

Renewing vows

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. 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.