Marriages & Partnerships
Your guide to getting married or forming a civil partnership in Somerset & North Somerset.
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.
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.
- Download the Basic Ceremony Guidance Pack here, containing the standard options for your declaration and vows.
- 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.
- 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.
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.
Look out for paper copies at wedding venues, wedding fayres, tourist information centres and registration offices.
Weddings 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 two registrars, 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 Ceremony
The simplest way to get married is a ceremony involving just the couple plus two witnesses. It costs just £50, 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 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 (40 guests) – £200.00
- Tudor Hall, Taunton (100 guests) – £350.00
- Abbey Manor, Yeovil (40-60 guests) – £200.00
- Hutton Suite, Weston (40 guests) – £150.00
- Old Council Chamber, Weston (60 guests) – £200.00
Approved Premises Ceremony
You can get married at over 100 beautiful approved venues across Somerset and North Somerset. Browse our Venue Directory for full details. The charges listed here are for the 2 Registrars to attend. 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 – £420.00
- Approved Premises Fri – Sat – £450.00
- Approved Premises Sundays – £500.00
- Approved Premises Bank Holidays – £600.00
Our prices will be increasing from 1st January 2019 for ceremonies at Approved Premises. The new prices will apply to any couples who give notice after Monday 19th November :
- 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 (private) – £50
- Civil Partnership (with guests) – As wedding ceremony costs per venue
- Civil Partnership Conversion – £50
- Additional Certificates – £10 (£4 if ordered prior to the ceremony)
This is an alternative for same-sex couples to gain legal recognition of their relationship. The partners gain similar rights and responsibilities to married couples. A comparison of same-sex marriages and civil partnerships is available here:
The requirements, procedures and costs for giving notice and forming a civil partnership are the same as getting married.
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
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
There is a charge of £50 to carry out this process, equivalent to the standard marriage fee.
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.
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.
Getting married at 16
If you want to get married 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.
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 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.