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Venues for Civil ceremonies

The impact of Coronavirus/Covid-19 on the Registration Service

These are difficult and challenging times for couples planning a wedding or civil partnership but also for our wedding venues and local suppliers involved in the wedding industry.

The Register Office is in regular contact with our wedding venues to ensure that we have the most up to date information to help you make an informed decision about your wedding or civil partnership.

The register office approach at this challenging time is to work within government guidelines whatever they may be to provide you with all of the options so that you can make the best decision for you after consulting your wedding venue.

Our approved venues are working very hard to help couples make the best decision for them including rescheduling  your wedding if that is what you want to do or explaining the options if your current booking is to continue.

The Register Office will continue supporting our wedding venues who play an important and significant role in Darlington’s local economy and will be attending open days and wedding events when we can later in the year or into next year.

Wedding venues are very much still “open for business” where possible in terms of taking new bookings for 2021 and beyond. Darlington has some fantastic wedding venues and local suppliers to help you make the best of your special day.

Staff at the approved venues and at the Register Office are waiting to help you with any questions or concerns that you might have about your wedding day.

Once you have chosen a venue, contact the Regist er Office as soon as possible to make the appropriate arrangements. Customers are advised to make arrangements with the Register Office before making any final bookings with venues.

Becoming an approved venue for marriages and civil partnerships

Becoming an approved venue can be a way of generating income for your business and making your venue available for an event which is one of the most important in someone’s life.

Most buildings can be licensed, although there are restrictions:

  • The building must be a permanent building or structure
  • The building cannot be currently or have previously been used as a place of worship (so a former church or chapel can't be licensed)
  • The building needs to be safe and accessible
  • The premises is suitable for commercial use and does not require any relevant planning permission
  • There are also operation conditions that are attached to the application form [pdf document]

The current fee is £1700 which is payable at the time of application and provides a three year licence for the venue. A licence can't be granted for a 'one-off' occasion. Fees cannot be refunded or changes made to the application once it has been submitted.

Once you are granted a licence your venue will be included in a national list of approved venues and anyone can approach you to hold a ceremony. Your licence will apply to both Marriages and Civil Partnerships.

The licensing process normally takes six months:

  • When you express an interest a Registrar will visit to assess the suitability of your venue
  • You will then make a formal application and pay your fee (this is non-refundable)
  • The application will then be advertised to allow for an objections by the public. The fire service, building control, licensing and the register office will visit your venue and raise any concerns.
  • Your application will then be taken to the licensing committee. If it is approved, the Superintendent Registrar will grant your licence.

Notices will appear here when they are available.

Current Applications for licences for Approved Venues for Civil Ceremonies

Bannatyne Hotel approved venue application [pdf document]