Registry office weddings are a non-religious alternative to Church marriages for people of other faiths, or who are of no religion. Also many couples are just not comfortable and don’t want a traditional white wedding so they opt out and keep it casual.
The registrars are employed by the council, who also provide the legal certificate and keep the official record of the marriage or civil partnership.
Registry office weddings have become increasingly popular and more common nowadays. It’s a great option if you are after a wedding that is close and very intimate. Its also great if you are on a wedding budget.
Below are all the information you need to plan an intimate registry office wedding in Northern Ireland.
Notice of marriage: Notice for all marriages must be given in the 12-month period before the date of the marriage. You must send your notice early enough to allow the registrar to make sure both parties are free to marry one another. Normally, notices should be with the registrar about eight weeks before the marriage.
You can get married in Northern Ireland if you’re:
- aged 16 or over
- in an opposite sex or same sex relationship
- not married or in a civil partnership with someone else
- not closely related (see below for a list of relations you cannot marry)
- capable of understanding what marriage means and of consenting to marriage.
Documents: When you send your marriage notice application form you will need to provide the originals of the following documents to support your application:
- long birth or adoption certificate
If you were married or in a civil partnership previously, you will also need to provide the following:
- certificate of decree absolution (if your previous marriage was dissolved)
- certificate of decree of divorce (if you have previously been granted a divorce)
- certificate of dissolution of civil partnership (if your previous civil partnership was dissolved)
- marriage or civil partnership certificate from previous marriage or civil partnership (if you have kept your previous married/ civil partnership surname)
Fees: The following prices apply to civil weddings and civil partnerships in an approved venue:
- weekdays – £213
- Saturdays – £280
- bank holidays – £312
Fees should be paid when you return your notice forms, before your ceremony.
Rules for Northern Ireland registry offices:
- No type of food or drinks are allowed in the rooms.
- hymns or passages from the Bible are not permitted. Music and readings with religious connotations are not allowed at registry offices.
- A friend or family member may only conduct your ceremony if they are legally authorised by a registrar
- You are required to have at least two witnesses present.
- No live music is allowed at present, but background music can be played at an “ambient level”.
- Only one dance is allowed for the couple getting married, but this cannot take place to live music. It must be a pre-recorded track.
- No more than 10 people can be seated at any one table, not including children under 12.
- No limit applies to the table where the married couple or civil partners are seated.
Northern Ireland Registry Offices and Town Halls
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