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Durham County Council

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Getting married?


Before you can marry there are certain formalities that are required by law. You need to make an appointment for both partners to attend the register office so you can inform them of your intention to marry.

Notice of marriage

'Giving notice' is a legal procedure by which you declare your freedom to marry each other. Giving notice requires your signature and therefore cannot be done by a friend or relative. Formal notice of marriage must be given to the superintendent registrar in the registration district(s) where the parties to the marriage live regardless of where the marriage is to take place.

What documents will I need?

The documents required are:

  • A valid passport or a full birth certificate (showing parent's details).
  • Proof of address (a bank statement dated within one month, a utility bill dated within 3 months or a council tax bill dated within 12 months).
  • If applicable, a decree absolute or death certificate for any previous marriage. For a previous civil partnership, we require a dissolution document.
  • Any name change document if you have legally changed your name since birth.

Giving notice

You may give notice up to one year before your wedding day.

Both parties to the marriage must have lived in a registration district in England or Wales for at least seven consecutive days before giving the formal notice of marriage. It does not matter if you move from these addresses once the notice(s) has been given.

Once the notice(s) has been given you cannot change the venue of the marriage without giving a new notice and paying another fee.

If the parties live in different districts, notice must be given in both districts. If the marriage is to be in a district in which neither of the parties live, then the parties must first ascertain whether they will be able to be married when they wish.

The notice(s) will be displayed on the notice board at the register office for a period of 28 days. After this period, an authority for the marriage can be issued.

If the marriage is to take place at a different district to where notice of marriage was given, the certificate must be collected from the office where the notice was given and delivered to the office where the marriage is to take place. If both parties live within the district where the marriage is to take place and notice has been given there, no certificate has to be collected.

It is essential that the registrar has possession of the authority or authorities before the marriage, otherwise the marriage may well be delayed or even postponed.

A fee of £35.00 is payable for each notice of marriage.

Getting married

Marrying in a church

If you are planning a church wedding, you must see the minister of the church in the registration district where you live. Unless your marriage is to be according to the rites and ceremonies of the Church of England or Wales, where banns are usually read, you will be required to give notice to the superintendent registrar in whose district you reside.

Usually you must live in the district where you plan to marry unless your place of worship is outside the district and you wish to marry there. You may also marry outside the district if there is no building of your religion in your district. In some cases a local registrar may need to attend the service. It is advisable that you check this and confirm the availability before you set a date.

Fees

1 April 2016 - 31 March 2017 (if you require a Registrar to attend):

  • Booking fee of £35.00
  • Monday to Friday £90
  • Saturday Sunday and bank holiday £425.00
  • The fee includes 1 marriage certificate

Marrying in approved premises

There are now venues in England and Wales other than a register office or religious building where you can get married, for example civic buildings or hotels. Gov.uk provides a list of approved premises for marriages and civil partnerships in England and Wales or see our approved premises for marriages and civil partnerships in County Durham.

Fees

1 April 2016 - 31 March 2017:

  • £395 - Monday to Thursday
  • £425 - Friday, Saturday and Sunday
  • £495 - public holiday weekend (Saturday, Sunday and Monday)

A non-refundable £35.00 booking fee applies to all new ceremony bookings - this is in addition to the fees outlined above. Changes to ceremony bookings at these venues will result in another £35.00 booking fee becoming payable.

1 April 2017 - 31 March 2018:

  • £400 - Monday to Thursday
  • £435 - Friday, Saturday and Sunday
  • £500 - public holiday weekend (Saturday, Sunday and Monday)

A non-refundable £40.00 booking fee applies to all new ceremony bookings - this is in addition to the fees outlined above. Changes to ceremony bookings at these venues will result in another £40.00 booking fee becoming payable.

This fee needs to be paid to the superintendent registrar at least six weeks before the ceremony is due to take place.

Marrying in a register office

Every register office is different and usually has its own character. In County Durham, marriage facilities are located in the register offices at Aykley Heads House (Durham), Bishop Auckland and Barnard Castle. A registrar in each location will be happy to show you the ceremony room before making your choice of location.

Fees

1 April 2016 - 31 March 2017:

Barnard Castle (holds 34 guests), Bishop Auckland (holds 25 guests), Aykley Heads House Durham City - Durham Room (holds 30 guests) and staircase (holds 16 guests)

  • £150 - Monday to Thursday
  • £250 - Friday
  • £265 - Saturday
  • £330- Sunday/public holiday

Aykley Heads House Durham City - main ceremony room (holds 55 guests)

  • £195 - Monday to Thursday
  • £250 - Friday
  • £265 - Saturday
  • £330 - Sunday/public holiday

​A non-refundable £35.00 booking fee applies to all new ceremony bookings - this is in addition to the fees outlined above. Changes to ceremony bookings at these venues will result in another £35.00 booking fee becoming payable. 

A ceremony can also be held at Bishop Auckland Register Office Monday to Thursday mornings only for a fee of £46.00 plus £4.00 for the marriage certificate.  This is a registration ceremony with only the couple and 2 witnesses.

1 April 2017 - 31 March 2018:

Barnard Castle (holds 34 guests), Bishop Auckland (holds 25 guests), Aykley Heads House Durham City - Durham Room (holds 30 guests) and staircase (holds 16 guests)

  • £155 - Monday to Thursday
  • £255 - Friday
  • £270 - Saturday
  • £335 - Sunday/public holiday

Aykley Heads House Durham City - main ceremony room (holds 55 guests)

  • £225 - Monday to Thursday
  • £255 - Friday
  • £270 - Saturday
  • £335 - Sunday/public holiday

A non-refundable £40.00 booking fee applies to all new ceremony bookings - this is in addition to the fees outlined above. Changes to ceremony bookings at these venues will result in another £40.00 booking fee becoming payable.

A ceremony can also be held at Bishop Auckland Register Office Monday to Thursday mornings only for a fee of £46.00 plus £4.00 for the marriage certificate.  This is a registration ceremony with only the couple and 2 witnesses.