Information and advice about getting married in Newham.
Choosing your ceremony
The first step to planning your wedding is to decide on the type of ceremony you would like to have.
A church or other religious ceremony
Church of England
If you would like to get married in a Church of England church, then you should make an appointment to see the vicar to set the date and time of your wedding ceremony. The vicar will read out 'banns' in church, which counts as notice being given and the marriage will be registered by the vicar so there will be no need to involve the Newham Register Office.
You can only be married in a church outside your district(s) of residence if either of you usually attends for worship at that church. You may also be married in another district if there is no building of your denomination in either of your district of residence.
If you choose to get married in any other religious building, you should meet with the religious leader to arrange a date and time for your ceremony. If the church or religious building does not have an authorised person appointed to register its marriages, a registrar from the registration district governing that building must also attend the marriage ceremony (by prior arrangement) to legally register your marriage. This is subject to a fee.
Either way, it is a legal requirement to also give individual notice of marriage at the register office for the district in which you live.
A civil ceremony
Civil ceremonies can take place either in a register office or any building that has been approved by the local authority as a suitable venue. This can include hotels, stately homes and country clubs, however marriages cannot take place outdoors or in temporary or mobile structures such as marquees of boats.
In Newham, in addition to the Newham Register Office, we have given a licence to ten venues to hold civil ceremonies.
See our list of approved venues to hire in Newham
If you would like to hold your wedding at your own premises, you will need to apply for a licence.
Two credible witnesses, who should speak and understand English and be able to understand the nature of the ceremony, must be present throughout the ceremony. They will also be required to sign the marriage register.
A civil marriage ceremony cannot have any religious content, but you may be able to arrange for individual touches such as non-religious music and readings to be added to the legal wording, and for the ceremony to be videoed. The register office where you intend to marry will be able to tell you more about the options available.
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If you are planning on getting married or forming a civil partnership anywhere other than in the Church of England, it is a legal requirement to 'give notice'.
How much notice do we have to give?
You both need to have lived in the area in which you wish to give notice for at least seven full days immediately before giving notice and wait 16 days after the notice before you can be married. The notice lasts for 12 months.
Where must I go to give notice?
If you or your partner are not British or an EU National, you can go together to any designated register office in England to give your notices.
If you are marrying out of your district(s) of residence, you should contact the local register office for that area before you give notice, to ensure that officials will be available on the day. You must also collect a marriage authority (or authorities) from your local register office.
Both of you must visit the register office to give notice that you wish to marry. It cannot be done over the telephone or online.
Do I need an appointment to give notice?
Not normally. In Newham we offer a walk in service in the mornings which can be very busy so we would advise you to be here as we open.
However due to an increased demand for our morning walk in service, priority will be given to Newham residents and they will be seen first. Non-Newham residents will be seen if possible but this will depend on the daily demand for this service.
We offer a limited appointment service for British and EU Nationals who are required to give notice in Newham in the afternoons.
If you wish to give notice on a Saturday you must make an appointment in advance. There is a non-refundable appointment fee payable at the time of the booking to be seen on a Saturday.
Documents you need to provide
It is a legal requirement for you both to produce evidence of your identity, nationality and residence when giving notice of your marriage or civil partnership.
Identity and nationality documents
You must bring your valid passport. If you do not have this document:
- and were born outside of the UK, we will need to know why, and may be able to accept your national identity card (with translation if necessary). We are no longer able to accept Home Office documents.
- and were born in the United Kingdom after 1 January 1983 and do not have a passport, we would need to see your full birth certificate together with those of your parents if born in the UK to prove your nationality. We will also need to see some form of photo identification. If your parents were not born here we would need to see proof of their nationality at the time of your birth.
- and were born in the United Kingdom before 1 January 1983, we can accept your birth certificate along with photographic identification.
In the absence of a valid passport, your national identity card can only be accepted as identification for this purpose if it clearly states your nationality.
If you have none of these documents we cannot normally take a notice from you.
We must see two independent (not joint) proofs of address for you to prove your residence. These documents can include any two of the following:
- council tax bill
- council rent card
- official government letter
- bank statement plus a valid bank card that matches to the statement
- credit card bill plus a valid credit card that matches to the statement
- utility bill (but not a tenancy agreement)
The documents needed to be dated within the last three months and are to be originals. We will also accept:
- NHS medical card
- UK driving licence
You will also need to bring additional documents in the following circumstances:
You have changed your name
If you have changed your name by Deed Poll, Change of Name Deed or Statutory Declaration you must produce this document when giving notice.
You are divorced
If you have been married or formed a partnership previously and divorced, in any country, you will be required to show evidence. This includes Islamic and customary marriages abroad.
If the divorce took place in England or Wales, you will need to produce a Decree Absolute bearing the official stamp of the court.
You were divorced abroad
If you were divorced abroad, we will need to see the original documents issued. If these documents are written in a foreign language, an English translation may be required.
You are widowed
You will be asked to produce the death certificate of your late spouse and possibly your marriage/civil partnership certificate as well.
You are under 18
If either of you is under 18 years of age, you will be required to show proof of your parents' or guardian(s') consent. If your parents are now divorced we will need to see the Decree Absolute and the court order determining legal custody of you. Please speak to the Register Office about the required consent form.
You have been married/formed a civil partnership abroad
If you have married each other or formed a civil partnership in a foreign country you only need to repeat the ceremony in the UK if you believe it was not legal. If you decide to get married or form a civil partnership here we will need to see any documents issued by that country when you give us notice.
You have been married to each other in a religious ceremony - Islamic, Hindu, Christian (excluding Church of England), Sikh, Buddhist
If you have married in this way, without having been to the Register Office to get a form to give to the minister or priest who performed the marriage, then you must give notice and re-marry to get a legal certificate.
If you are marrying out of your district(s) of residence, in addition to giving notice you must also collect a marriage authority (or authorities) from your local register office(s), after the waiting period has expired.
This document (one will be given to each of you) is the legal authorisation for your marriage to take place and must be delivered to the register office of the district in which you are to be married before the day of your wedding
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The following fees apply for marriages and civil partnerships:
- marriage notification - £35 per person
- a marriage ceremony at the Newham Register Office (Tuesday and Thursday only at 9.45am) - £45
- fee for the attendance of a registrar at approval premises – variable depending on the day on which the ceremony takes place
- fee for the attendance of a registrar at a place of religious worship (if required) - £80
Fees for marriages/civil partnerships at an approved venue in Newham:
- Monday to Friday - £280
- Saturday - £330
- Sunday and Bank Holiday - £380
A different set of prices apply for the hire of the Passmore Edwards Suite:
- Monday and Tuesday - £100
- Wednesday and Thursday - £120
- Friday - £130
- Saturday before 1.15pm - £190
- Saturday after 1.15pm - £330
- Sunday and Bank Holidays - £480
Getting married abroad
If you are intending to get married abroad..
If you are intending to get married outside England and Wales you may be asked for a Certificate of No Impediment or proof that you are single. We can issue this certificate provided you are a British passport holder or have a passport from a British Commonwealth country. Both of you will need to get a certificate. Before we can issue the certificate you must give notice of marriage.
We cannot issue it to other foreign nationals (including Europeans).
If you have already been married abroad..
You cannot register a marriage in this country if you have already been married abroad. British law recognises all marriages oversees provided the ceremony is legal in the country where it took place. This includes customary and traditional marriages in Africa, Islamic marriages in Pakistan, Bangladesh or any Islamic country.
If you marry abroad then you should get a certificate or document of confirmation from that country - and any foreigners married abroad wishing to come to this country with a British husband or wife should obtain a spouse visa or settlement visa (not a fiancé(e) visa).
You cannot be married in this country if you are already married to someone else in any country of the world.back to top
A commitment ceremony is a meaningful and dignified ceremony for couples who wish to make a public declaration of life-long commitment, love and dedication.
What form does the ceremony take?
Every commitment ceremony is unique. Working within the ceremony framework, couples create their own unique celebration by selecting words, poems and readings that hold a special meaning for them.
However commitment ceremonies follow the same form as the renewal of wedding vows, with a 'celebrant' conducting the ceremony and the signing of a souvenir certificate by the couple and two witnesses.
A renewal of marriage vows ceremony is normally 15 minutes and up to 30 minutes depending on the number of options and readings chosen and can either be shared with family and friends or held in private without guests.
Where can ceremonies be held?
How to arrange a ceremony
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