Celebratory ceremonies

We can offer civil celebratory ceremonies reflecting modern choices in today’s society. These ceremonies are all personally designed to your requirements and can be held at the Council Chamber, at any of our approved venues or because it is not a legally binding ceremony, at another venue (subject to approval).

Please do not hesitate to contact us if you have any further queries, or to discuss availability and fees.

Renewal of vows ceremonies

This is a special ceremony for couples who wish to renew their vows in a personal and unique way. You may have been married abroad and wish to declare your love for each other with your family and friends, or you may wish to mark a special anniversary (for example, 25 years together) or you may feel that it is the right time for you as a couple to re-affirm your love in a personal way before your friends and loved ones. All renewal of vows ceremonies are designed to be personalised and unique to you.

Naming ceremonies

A naming ceremony is the opportunity to celebrate the birth of a new baby or to welcome a new child of any age into your family or a new relationship.

Once you have a date in mind for the ceremony you should contact us to check availability and agree the date and time for the ceremony. A provisional booking will be held for you for 14 days which you need to complete and return a naming ceremony booking form [word document] together with the appropriate deposit or fee.

Each naming ceremony is designed according to the needs of the customer and you will meet a Registrar before the ceremony to discuss the content and format of the ceremony and to agree some of the key people involved in the ceremony. The child’s parents, any grandparents and also 'supporting adults' who are lifelong mentors to the child, will all make promises to the child which they will say along with the Registrar.

In addition to this up to three guests can be nominated to each perform a reading. We have selection of naming ceremony readings [pdf document] for you to choose from or you can provide your own. The only requirement is that any readings cannot contain any obviously or intentional religious content (such as extracts from the Bible). You are also welcome to bring music with you for playing during the ceremony or alternatively we can provide something; again the only requirement is that the music isn’t obviously or intentionally. religious.

Commitment ceremonies

A commitment ceremony is available to any couple who wish to make a public declaration of their love and commitment to each other in the presence of their friends and family.

Although it has no legal status it is often a means for a couple to still make a public declaration of their love and commitment to each other who may for whatever reason not wish to or be able to form a marriage or civil partnership.

Each ceremony is designed according to the needs of the partners and can be personalised by including promises to each other, readings and music.

Citizenship Services

Citizenship ceremony

Everyone who applies for British Citizenship is required to take an oath or affirmation of allegiance to the Sovereign, and make a pledge of loyalty to the United Kingdom.

Once you receive confirmation from the Home Office that you are entitled to become a British Citizen, please contact us so that we can verify that the details are correct on your Certificate of Naturalisation as a British Citizen.

You will then be invited to attend a Citizenship ceremony where we will present you with your certificate of naturalisation and a certificate welcoming you as a citizen of Darlington.

We hold our Citizenship ceremonies every three months, usually at the Town Hall but sometimes at other venues (such as schools or colleges). There is no fee to attend this ceremony.

If you are unable to attend a Citizenship ceremony, you may request a private Citizenship ceremony however there is a fee for these ceremonies. Private Citizenship ceremonies can be held either at Backhouse Hall, at one of our approved venues or at a venue of your choice.

More information about applying for British Citizenship [external link]

We do not get involved in the application process for passports - but you can obtain a passport application pack from the Post Office or apply on line at the UK Passport service [external link].

European Passport Return Service

What is the European Passport Return Service (EPRS)?

The EPRS is a joint service between the Council and the Home Office and assists European Economic Area (EEA) Citizens in the process of applying for documentation as a qualified person or for permanent residency.

The service is designed to reduce the number of return document requests from applicants.

The EPRS is not:

  • Connected to the process of applying for or granting or British Citizenship or the Nationality Checking Service.
  • Part of the process of renewing a passport either a British or European Passport.
  • Checking the validity of or making judgements on any of the documents which accompany the residency application.

Who can apply for the EPRS?

The Service can only be used by applicants from EEA countries and can only be used by those who choose to apply for either documentation as a qualified person or for permanent residency using the online application system.

How do I make an appointment?

Appointments can be made by contacting the Register Office on (01325) 406400, will last one hour and are held at the Register Office at the Town Hall.

Appointments are subject to our availability. When making an appointment you should have already submitted your application online and have your unique application (PNN) number.

You will need to bring the following with you to your appointment:

  • A copy of your completed application.
  • Your application number.
  • Your passport.
  • Your checklist.
  • The documents you wish us to send to the Home Office as part of your application

What is the fee?

The cost of the service is £40.00 per passport which includes postage of the documents to the Home Office.

The fee must be paid in advance at the time of making your appointment.