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Marriage and civil partnerships

We are currently experiencing a high volume of enquiries and will only be able to assist couples requesting Marriages and Civil Partnerships due to take place on or before 31 March 2022. Please do not contact us for updates as this will delay our response. We will contact you as soon as we can.  We apologise for the change in our service standards and thank you for patience and support.

Please note: some weekends are already fully booked for spring/summer 2022 due to bookings made in 2020.

Old Town Hall - ceremonies and formations

Following our risk assessment at the Old Town Hall only the couple and 26 other persons (two of which must be witnesses) are able to attend ceremonies or formation. 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 will be continued to be monitored with a review due at the end of December 2021. Please note that all parties are required to wear a face covering to enter the Old Town Hall (exceptions apply).

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.

You can find further information on GOV.UK. Please be aware that local restrictions may differ to those advised by Central Government.

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.

If you wish to make a booking for 2022/2023 please contact us in, or after, November 20201.

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) .

If your Wedding / Civil Partnership has been moved due to the Covid 19 Pandemic and as a result you have had to pay for new Notice of Marriage / Civil Partnership because your original one expired, you may be entitled to a refund for the additional notice fee. 

To apply for a refund please send an email to detailing the following: 

  • Name(s) of the individuals who submitted Notice 
  • Date of notice appointment 
  • Date of Marriage / Civil Partnership  
  • Method of payment for Notice(s) 

Please note, if you are eligible for a refund it may take up to 28 days for this to be credited to your account. 

Ceremony pack 

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

We 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.

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.

Further information