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At your service

PUBLISHED: 11:47 13 December 2011 | UPDATED: 20:26 20 February 2013

At your service

At your service

Congratulations on your engagement – the Gloucestershire Registration Service aims to make sure your day runs as smoothly as possible and is a happy and memorable occasion.


Once you have given notice, and if you have chosen an enhanced ceremony, you will receive a special choices brochure to help you personalise your ceremony, by choosing the format of the ceremony and the words you will say. You may also wish to enhance your ceremony with one or two short poetry or prose readings.

The decision to add to the ceremony is entirely your choice but there must be no religious content in any of the poetry or readings. The poetry may be read by yourselves, a relative or friend. Music may also be played at appropriate times during your ceremony, however any music must, by law, be non-religious.

Example format of an enhanced ceremony:

Pre arrival music

Guests assemble

Entrance music

Welcome and introduction by celebrant

Optional reading

Declaratory & contracting vows

Optional promises

Optional second reading

Optional exchange of rings

Signing of the register

Signing music


Presentation of the Marriage Certificate and conclusion

Exit of couple

Exit music

Once you have completed your choices form it must be returned at least two months prior to the day of your ceremony to the Register Office in Cheltenham. Full details of your choices to personalise your ceremony are available in our wedding brochure, which you will be given at your notice appointment, or you can download it from


There is no need to be nervous about the ceremony. Remember the registration officers are there to guide you through all you have to say and do. Ceremony appointment time It is important that you arrive at least fifteen minutes before the start of your ceremony.

On arrival

Prior to the wedding the registrar will see the couple separately in private to confirm the necessary information.You will each be asked questions similar to those you were asked when you gave notice at your local registration office. When these formalities are completed you will be invited to join your guests and the ceremony will begin.

The ceremony

You may choose to enter the ceremony room together as a couple or opt for a more traditional entrance escorted into the room by a relativeor friend. Once everyone is seated, the registration officer conducting your ceremony will say a few words of welcome and then ask you as part of the ceremony to repeat the solemn and binding declarations and vows you have chosen for your ceremony.

The giving and receiving of rings may take place if desired and promises can be exchanged if you wish.

The registration officer will then pronounce you married after which you will both be asked to check the information recorded in the register very carefully before signing. You will need two people, who may be either friends or relatives (who are age 18 or above), to witness your ceremony and sign the register.


Commemorative certificates are available as the perfect memento for your wedding day. They are in addition to your legal certificate which you will receive on the day, with your names, date and venue to commemorate the occasion.

The registration service offers these for a small fee (details from our website and we would be happy to include a certificate as part of your choices to personalise your ceremony. Please note these certificates have no legal value ie. you could not take it to the bank to change your name.


A renewal of vows ceremony is suitable for any couple who is married or civil partnered and wishes to celebrate their relationship through a special ceremony. These ceremonies are an excellent way of celebrating anniversaries of any kind or ideal if you have married abroad and wish to celebrate your marriage with friends and family on your return.

For some couples the ceremony helps to reaffirm their commitment or makes a declaration of their love to each other which you can share with families and friends or just the two of you.

Your ceremony will contain your own personal choices and can include:

Acknowledgements to your families and friends

The exchanging of vows and promises

The presentation and acceptance of new or old rings

You can also choose to have special music, readings or poetry as part of the ceremony. You will also receive a special commemorative certificate, which will be signed by you, witnesses and the celebrant. A renewal of vows ceremony does not carry any legal status and must not contain any religious references.

For more detail on a renewal of vows ceremony please visit our website or call us on 01242 532455 to discuss your requirements, or email

At your service

Congratulations on your engagement the Gloucestershire Registration Service aims to make sure your day runs as smoothly as possible and is a happy and memorable occasion. The next few pages will give you a step by step guide as to what you need to do next.


Photography by Nikki Kirk Photography

The first step is to choose which type of service you wish to have. We offer two types as detailed below: Registration: which will be held in a designated room at a registration office. The party will comprise the couple, two witnesses and the registration officers. Although you will not be able to make ring vows, have music or readings it is nonetheless still a simple and enjoyable occasion where you can make your vows to each other.

Ceremony: A ceremony can be held in either a registration office or an approved venue. It offers you the more traditional format and allows you to personalise the ceremony. You can make choices about the words you wish to say to each other, include readings and music and invite as many guests as the room is licensed to hold. The cost for your ceremony will vary depending on which day you are having your ceremony, please see our website for details and this will be in addition to the charge the venue makes to host your ceremony.


Registration office ceremony: Ceremonies can be held in one of our registration offices in the county. Full details of the ceremony rooms we have available are on our website

If you choose to hold your ceremony in one of our registration offices you will need to contact us to check availability for your chosen date and time. If you require further information on any of the rooms please call us on 01242 532455 and we would be happy to discuss your requirements.

Approved venue ceremony: As an alternative to a registration office you could choose to hold your ceremony in one of the wonderful approved venues across the county.

Once you have a chosen a venue and made a provisional booking with the venue it is essential to contact us on 01242 532455 to make your booking for a registration officer to attend on the day and time you would like. You will need to pay a non-refundable deposit to make your provisional booking.

Please note, statutory services are only available in our registration offices Monday to Friday.


After booking your venue, date and time the next step is for you and your partner to give your Notices of Marriage or Civil Partnership. You must each give formal notice of your intention to marry or form a civil partnership in person in a registration office in the district in which you live. You are required to have lived in the district for at least eight days before giving notice.

The minimum period between giving notice and when a ceremony can take place is 15 clear days. The certificates for marriage or civil partnership will be issued on the sixteenth working day after giving notice and are valid for 12 months. Its therefore a good idea to give notice as soon as possible.

Documents you will need to provide

When you visit the registration office to give formal notice you will be required to produce certain documents which may be in the form of:

Full birth certificate or

Evidence of nationality your passport

If born after 01.01.1983 and you do not have a passport you will, in addition to your own full birth certificate, need your mothers birth certificate/passport

Evidence of address council tax bill, utility bill, bank statement

Evidence of change of name (deed poll/statutory declaration) 33.50 fee per person (i.e. 67 per couple)

If either of you have been married or entered a civil partnership before you will need to bring documentary evidence that the marriage/civil partnership has ended and that you are free to marry:

Decree absolute following divorce

Decree of dissolution of civil partnership

Death certificate if a widow/widower/surviving civil partner

Decree of annulment

If you are unable to produce any of the documents in the lists above, please contact the office prior to your appointment. Failure to bring the appropriate documents means your notices will not be taken. Original copies of all documents are required, photocopies are not acceptable.

If you live outside of Gloucestershire kindly ensure that the certificates of marriage issued by your local office are forwarded to us as soon as possible, you cannot get married if we have not received them. Further information can be found on our website or by calling us on 01242 532455.


Can I have my ceremony outdoors?

The law states that a civil ceremony must be held inside a permanent building, which means that you cant get married outdoors or in a marquee for example.

How soon can I book my ceremony date?

Photography by Nikki Kirk Photography

As soon as you are sure of your venue, contact Gloucestershire Registration Service to allocate

Registration Officers for you. We are now able to take your booking as far in advance as you wish. Please note, however, that you still will not be able to give your legal notice of intention to marry or form your civil partnership until you are within a year of your ceremony date.

How much do I have to pay for my ceremony?

Please see our website for a current list of fees

How do I make payment?

Payment can be made by cash or credit/debit card at the Registration office in Cheltenham. You can pay by credit/debit card over the phone with one of ceremony coordinators, or you can complete our credit card payment form available for download from our website and send it to the Register Office in Cheltenham. Payment must be paid in full as we cannot accept part payment.

I dont live in Gloucestershire. Can I still have a ceremony here?

Yes, you can hold your ceremony in Gloucestershire but you will need to give notice of your intention to marry or form a civil partnership in the district in which you live. Sixteen days after giving notice, that District will issue your Certificates of Marriage/Civil Partnership. It is vital that you forward these to Gloucestershire Registration Service immediately.

I have paid and sent in my choices will you write or telephone to confirm you have everything and there is nothing outstanding we need to produce?

We only contact you if there is a problem with regards to any aspect of your ceremony. If you do not hear from us, then everything is ready for your day. We always send receipts when payment is received. We are happy to acknowledge receipt of your choices by email if requested on your choices form.

How can we get in touch with the ceremony co-ordination team?

Our preferred method of contact is via email. The address for the co-ordinators is or you can phone 01242 532455.


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