At Your Service

20 Jul 2011

At Your Service

Congratulations on your engagement – the Gloucestershire Registration Service aims to make sure your day runs as smoothly as possible and is a happy and memorable occasion. Here is a step by step guide as to what you need to do next.

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Image gallery

CHOICE OF CEREMONY

The first step is to choose which type of ceremony you wish to have. We offer two types of ceremony as detailed below:

Standard ceremony: A simple ceremony held in a designated room at a registration office. The ceremony party will comprise the couple, two witnesses and the registration officers conducting the ceremony. Although you will not be able to make ring vows, have music or readings it is nonetheless still a simple and enjoyable ceremony where you can make your vows to each other.

Enhanced ceremony: An enhanced ceremony can be held in either a registration office or an approved venue. It offers you the more traditional format and allows you to personalise the ceremony. You can make choices about the words you wish to say to each other, include readings and music and invite as many guests as the room is licensed to hold. The cost for your ceremony will vary depending on which day you are having your ceremony, please see our website for details: www.gloucestershire.gov.uk/registration, and this will be in addition to the charge the venue makes to host your ceremony.

VENUE

Registration office ceremony: Ceremonies can be held in one of our registration offices in the county. Full details of the ceremony rooms we have available are on our website www.gloucestershire.gov.uk/registration, or please call us on 01242 532455 to discuss your requirements or email ceremonies@gloucestershire.gov.uk. If you choose to hold your ceremony in one our registration offices you will need to contact us to check vailability for your chosen date and time. If you require further information on any of the rooms please call us on 01242 532455 and we would be happy to discuss your requirements, or call in to any of the registration offices during opening times where our staff will be happy to answer any questions you have. Approved venue ceremony: As an alternative to a registration office you could choose to hold your ceremony in one of the wonderful approved venues across the county. Once you have a chosen a venue and made a provisional booking with the venue it is essential to contact us on 01242 532455 to make your booking for a registration officer to attend on the day and time you would like. Please note, statutory ceremonies are only available in our registration offices Monday to Friday.

GIVING NOTICE

After booking your venue, date and time the next step is for you and your partner to give your Notices of Marriage or Civil Partnership. You must each give formal notice of your intention to marry or form a civil partnership in person in a registration office in the district in which you live. You are required to have lived in the district for at least eight days before giving notice. The minimum period between giving notice and when a ceremony can take place is fifteen clear days. The certificates for marriage or civil partnership will be issued on the sixteenth working day after giving notice and are valid for twelve months. It’s therefore a good idea to give notice as soon as possible. Documents you will need to provide When you visit the registration office to give formal notice you will be required to produce certain documents which may be in the form of:

• Full birth certificate or

• Evidence of nationality – your passport

• If born after 01.01.1983 and you do not have a passport you will, in addition to your own full birth certificate, need your mother’s full birth certificate

• Evidence of address – council tax bill, utility bill, bank statement

• Evidence of change of name (deed poll/statutory declaration) £33.50 fee per person (i.e. £67 per couple)

If either of you have been married or entered a civil partnership before you will need to bring documentary evidence that the marriage/civil partnership has ended and that you are free to marry:

• Decree absolute following divorce

• Decree of dissolution of civil partnership

• Death certificate if a widow/ widower/surviving civil partner

• Decree of annulment

If you are unable to produce any of the documents in the lists above, please contact the office prior to your appointment. Failure to bring the appropriate documents means your notices will not be taken. Original copies of all documents are required, photocopies are not acceptable. If you live outside of Gloucestershire kindly ensure that the certificates of marriage issued by your local office are forwarded to us as soon as possible, you cannot get married if we have not received them.

Further information can be found on our website www.gloucestershire.gov.uk/registration or by calling us on 01242 532455.

PERSONALISING YOUR CEREMONY

Once you have given notice, and if you have chosen an enhanced ceremony, you will receive a special choices brochure to help you personalise your ceremony, by choosing the format of the ceremony and the words you will say. You may also wish to enhance your ceremony with short poetry or prose readings. The decision to add to the ceremony is entirely your choice but there must be no religious content in any of the poetry or readings. The poetry may be read by yourselves, a relative or friend. Music may also be played at appropriate times during your ceremony, however any music must, by law, be non-religious. Example format of an enhanced ceremony:

• Pre arrival music

• Guests assemble

• Entrance music

• Welcome and introduction by celebrant

• Optional reading

• Declaratory & contracting vows

• Optional promises

• Optional second reading

• Optional exchange of rings

• Signing of the register

• Signing music

• Photographs

• Presentation of the Marriage Certificate and conclusion

• Exit of bride & groom

• Exit music

Your ceremony will last approximately 15-20 minutes depending on the choices you select. Once you have completed your choices form it should be returned at least two months prior to the day of your ceremony to the register office in Cheltenham. Full details of your choices to personalise your ceremony are available in our wedding brochure, which you will be given at your notice appointment, or you can download it from www.gloucestershire.gov.uk/registration

ON THE DAY

There is no need to be nervous about the ceremony. Remember the registration officers are there to guide you through all you have to say and do.

Ceremony appointment time: It is important that you arrive at least fifteen minutes before the start of your ceremony.

On arrival: Prior to the wedding the registrar will see the couple separately in private to confirm the necessary nformation.You will each be asked questions similar to those you were asked when you gave notice at your local registration office. When these formalities are completed you will be invited to join your guests and the ceremony will begin. The ceremony You may choose to enter the ceremony room together as a couple or opt for a more traditional entrance escorted into the room by a relative or friend. Once everyone is seated, the registration officer conducting your ceremony will say a few words of welcome and then ask you as part of the ceremony to repeat the solemn and binding declarations and vows you have chosen for your ceremony. The giving and receiving of rings may take place if desired and promises can be exchanged if you wish. The registrar will then pronounce you married after which you will both be asked to check the information recorded in the register very carefully before signing. You will need two people, who may be either friends or relatives (who are age 18 or above) to witness your ceremony and sign the register.

SOMETHING SPECIAL TO MARK THE OCCASION

Commemorative certificates are available as the perfect memento for your wedding day. They are in addition to your legal certificate which you will receive on the day, with your names, date and venue to commemorate the occasion.

The registration service offers these for a small fee (details from our website www.gloucestershire.gov.uk/registration) and we would be happy to include a certificate as part of your choices to personalise your ceremony. Please note these certificates have no legal value ie. you could not take it to the bank to change your name.

RENEWAL OF VOWS

A renewal of vows ceremony is suitable for any couple who is married and wishes to celebrate their marriage through a special ceremony These ceremonies are an excellent way of celebrating anniversaries of any kind or ideal if you have married abroad and wish to celebrate your marriage with friends and family on your return. For some couples the ceremony helps to reaffirm their commitment or makes a declaration of their love to each other which you can share with families and friends or just the two of you. Your ceremony will contain your own personal choices and can include:

• Acknowledgements to your families and friends

• The exchanging of vows and promises

• The presentation and acceptance of new or old rings

You can also choose to have special music, readings or poetry as part of the ceremony. You will also receive a special commemorative certificate, which will be signed by you, witnesses and the celebrant.

A renewal of vows ceremony does not carry any legal status and must not contain any religious references.

For more detail on a renewal of vows ceremony please visit our website www.gloucestershire.gov.uk/registration, or call us on 01242 532455 to discuss your requirements, or email ceremonies@gloucestershire.gov.uk.

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