Frequently Asked Questions

FAQs

If you’re looking for more information on the process of booking your ceremony, take a look at our blog post on how to do it.

I have given my notice of intention. Will you let me know when it has been issued?

No, we will only contact you if there has been a problem with your notice.

What time should I arrive for my ceremony?

You should arrive for your ceremony half an hour before your allotted time. This is to allow for you and your partner to be interviewed prior to your ceremony. If you do not wish to see each other before the ceremony, please still arrive 30 minutes in advance and we will conduct the interviews separately.​ If your ceremony is at Mayfair Library, please arrive 15 minutes prior to your allotted time. 

What is the role of a witness?

Witnesses are required to observe you make your verbal contract of marriage, and to sign the marriage register. Therefore they need to be present throughout the ceremony, and not be involved in other roles which may distract them, such as taking photographs.

Who can be my witness and how many witnesses do I need to bring? Do they need to bring ID?

Your witnesses need to speak and understand English, and ideally should be over the age of 16. We would recommend you have no more than 4 witnesses. They do not need to bring ID on the day. You must supply your own witnesses – Westminster Register Office staff cannot act as witnesses.

I am having my wedding in Westminster but I live abroad. Do I still need to give notice in person?

Yes, even if you are having a 'destination wedding' in London, you must give notice in the UK. See our blog post on how to get married for more information on this.

Do I need to bring anything on the day of my ceremony?

You do not need to bring anything on the day. As you would have provided identification when giving notice of intention, you do not need to do so again on the day of your ceremony.

Can I request a specific registrar? Can I meet them before the day of the ceremony? 

Registrars are allocated based on availability, however we will try to accommodate any requests for a specific registrar where possible. Similarly, we will endeavour to arrange for you to meet your registrar ahead of your ceremony wherever possible.

When will I receive my marriage certificate?

You will receive your marriage certificate on the day of your ceremony. If you have requested additional copies of your certificate, you may also receive these on the day, or they may be posted to you following the ceremony. 

Can I have my own music or hire a musician for the ceremony? 

Yes, you are welcome to bring your own music or organise a live performer. Please be aware that any music or readings cannot be religious in nature – incidental references to a god or deity is acceptable, but the piece must be essentially non-religious in context. ​

Do we have to exchange rings?

No. You can leave this out of your ceremony altogether, or you can exchange other symbols of commitment, as long as your registrar is happy that it is in keeping with the solemnity of the occasion.

Can I personalise the ceremony or write my own vows?

Yes. As long as you and your partner exchange the required legal words, you are free to add to the vows and scripts, and add your own readings or musical interludes. Read more about this on our 'ceremonies' page.

Can I have a child/dog/drone as my ring bearer?

Yes, providing you give us sufficient notice and the registrar conducting your ceremony is comfortable with the arrangements.

Can my friend conduct my ceremony?

Your ceremony will need to be conducted by a Westminster registrar. Friends and family are welcome to give readings during the ceremony, however.

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