From 29 March some of the rules changed for marriages and civil partnerships:
Legally, ceremonies/formations can take place (in COVID secure settings).
Information regarding weddings and civil partnerships following the latest government announcements may be located here: Marriage and Civil Partnerships roadmap.
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.
The Risk Assessment is being monitored but this number is not expected to be amended before the end of June 2021. The maximum numbers will not follow the Government guidelines but will remain as the couple plus FOUR other persons (two of which must be witnesses) only. Photographers / Videographers must be included in this number too.
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.
Please be aware, we have no availability for new ceremony bookings before October 2021.
If you would like to make a new provisional booking for October 2021 onward, please email: firstname.lastname@example.org with the following information:
- Both you and your partner’s names and nationalities (what passport do you currently hold)
- Your contact telephone numbers
- 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
- The name of the venue where you wish to marry/civil partnership
- The preferred date and time for your ceremony if available
Payment for the ceremony is required in full at the time of booking, by credit or debit card only.
You can find further information on GOV.UK Coronavirus FAQs what you can and can't do.
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 email@example.com
Civil Registration Service
Bedford Borough Council
Old Town Hall
St Paul's Square
How much will it cost?
Once you have booked your ceremony with both the venue and the Registrars for the district where the ceremony is to take place you will need to complete the legal preliminaries of giving “Notice of Marriage/Civil Partnership”. If both of you are a British or EEA national your “Notices” must be given at the register office for the district where you each live. “Notice of Marriage/Civil Partnership” must be given in person, by appointment only.
If you have chosen your venue, but have not yet set a date for your ceremony, “Notice of Marriage/Civil Partnership” may be given, provided that the ceremony will take place within 1 calendar year of “Notice” being given. The date and time for the ceremony may be booked later, but will be subject to availability.
If one or both of you does not hold a British or EEA passport you will both need to give your Notice of Marriage or civil partnership at a Designated Register Office. Bedford is not a Designated Register Office.
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.