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Marriage and civil partnerships

Following the Government announcement on the 14 June, we have reassessed and revised our venue risk assessments for ceremonies and formations taking place between 21/06/2021 and 18/07/2021

Please be aware that as local restrictions differ from those advised by central Government, there have been no changes in the amount of attendee permitted at the Old Town Hall.

We have no availability for new ceremony bookings before January 2022.

If you would like to make a new provisional booking for January 2022 onward, please email with the following information:

  • Both you and your partner’s names and nationalities (what passport do you currently hold)
  • Your contact telephone numbers 
  • The name of the venue where you wish to marry/civil partnership
  • The preferred date and time for your ceremony if available
  • Your current addresses
  • Condition (have either of you been through any form of marriage or civil partnership in this or any other country, to each other or to anyone else)
  • If yes to above, how did your marriage/civil partnership end (death/divorce/dissolution?)
  • If divorced, was the divorce in this country

Payment for the ceremony is required in full at the time of booking, by credit or debit card only.

Old Town Hall - Ceremonies and Formations

Following our Risk Assessment at the Old Town Hall only the couple and FOUR other persons (two of which must be witnesses) are able to attend ceremonies or formations. No other persons, including babies and children will be permitted in the building. Photographers / videographers must be included in this number too. The Risk Assessment is being monitored but this number is not expected to be amended to follow the Government guidelines.

Bedford Register Office - Ceremonies and Formations

At Bedford Register Office only the couple and the TWO witnesses are able to attend. No other persons, including babies and children will be permitted in the building.

Information regarding weddings and civil partnerships following the latest government announcements may be located here: Marriage and Civil Partnerships roadmap

You can find further information on GOV.UK Coronavirus FAQs what you can and can't do. Please be aware that local restrictions may differ to those advised by Central Government.

The Registration Service has produced a handy guide to your ceremony in the Borough of Bedford.

Marriage certificates update

New marriage legislation means that the way a marriage is registered in England will change from 4 May 2021.

Marriage registers will no longer be used; instead a central electronic registration system will become the legal register. The change in the law means that the details of your marriage will be recorded on a Marriage Schedule.

A marriage certificate will only be issued after the details have been entered on to the electronic marriage register. This means that you will not be able to obtain a marriage certificate on the day of your marriage. This applies whether you marry in a civil ceremony or a religious ceremony.

Your marriage details will be entered onto the electronic registration register within 7 days of your signed Marriage Schedule being received at the register office, in the area where you got married.  It may take up to 21 days for your schedule to be received at our offices.

If you have paid for certificates already we will post them to you shortly thereafter.

If you have not paid for certificates please order using the following link: marriage or civil partnership certificates copies

Choose a venue

You must know where you wish to be married/civil partnership before you can book a ceremony with the Registration Service.

Book a Registrar

To book a Registrar to attend your chosen venue and officiate at your ceremony you must contact the Superintendent Registrar for the district where the ceremony is to take place.

Bedford Borough Council's Civil Registration Service will accept bookings up to, but no more than, two years in advance. For example, for a ceremony to be held on Saturday 24 July 2021 the earliest you can call to book your Registrar is Wednesday 24 July 2019.

Email us at

Civil Registration Service
Bedford Borough Council
Old Town Hall
St Paul's Square
MK40 1SJ

How much will it cost?

Give notice

Once you have booked your ceremony/formation with both the venue (if applicable) and the Registrars for the district where the ceremony/formation is to take place you will need to complete the legal preliminaries of giving “Notice of Marriage/Civil Partnership”.

Your “Notices” must be given to the Specified Registration District where you each live. “Notice of Marriage/Civil Partnership” must be given in person and by appointment only.

  • We cannot take your notice if you fail to produce the documents/information required.
  • All documents must be ORIGINAL and not photocopies or printed from online services.
  • If not in English, a translation must be provided signed and dated by the translator with their contact details (name, address and telephone number) .

Ceremony pack 

A Civil Ceremony is, by law, non-religious therefore no religious content whatsoever is permitted.

After you have given notice the registrar will send you a ceremony pack containing important information, our “Terms and Conditions” and a guide on photography.

For couples wishing to marry or form a civil partnership it will also contain a checklist. A civil partnership may be formed without any form of ceremony, however a checklist will be provided should a ceremony be required. A marriage ceremony requires the repeating after the Superintendent Registrar of legal declaratory and contracting vows, options of which are contained in the ceremony pack.

The pack will also provide options for personalising your ceremony with music, readings and additional, personal vows and/or ring words, which you must complete and return to the Registrar. All additional content to your ceremony must be checked and approved by the Registrar at least 1 month before the date of your ceremony.

An appointment may be booked, for a fee, to discuss your ceremony requirements. 

Getting married abroad

It is your responsibility to check that you have met all of the legal requirements to be married or form a civil partnership abroad. We recommend that you make enquiries with the Embassy or Consulate of the country in which you wish to be married or form a civil partnership in the first instance. They should be able to advise you of the conditions you will need to meet.

Find out more GOV.UK's getting married abroad

In some circumstances a document will be required however this is sometimes obtainable from a solicitor. If you have been advised to obtain a document from the registrars you will need to make an appointment to give “Notice” with a Registrar. 

If you have been advised that an “Apostille” will also be required, for further advice please visit GOV.UK's getting your document legalised.

Marriage/Civil partnership certificates

Order a copy of a marriage or civil partnership certificate here

Further information