How to book a non-religious wedding ceremony
You may have decided that you wish to get married, but not in a church. In England and Wales, this will be a civil wedding ceremony in either a registration office or in approved premises (a hotel, stately home, country house etc.).
Decide on the date and time that you would like to get married. Be prepared to be a little flexible with the time.
Make an appointment to go to the registration office or venue where you would like the ceremony to take place. If you visit more than one venue, you will soon begin to get a feel for the place that suits you best.
You don't have to get married in the area (registration district) in which you live.
Once you have decided upon where the wedding will happen, make a provisional booking with the venue so that you reserve the date. If it is in a district away from where you live, you will need to speak to the registration office in that area to let them know what you are planning.
Contact your local registration office. This does have to be in the area in which you live. They will explain that you need to give Notice of Marriage and will outline the documentation that you will need to take along to the registration office that is most convenient to you.
You can give Notice of Marriage within one year of the date of your marriage. Giving Notice if Marriage is where you take in proof of who you are, where you live and, if you've been married before, proof of your marital status. If you and your partner live in different registration districts, each of you will have to visit your own local office. Giving Notice of Marriage is something that you have to do in person and nobody else can do it on your behalf.
At this stage, you will have started the process and will be guided by both the registration service and by the staff at your chosen venue.
Enjoy the day!
Until you've confirmed your wedding date and time, don't book anything else (photographer, cars etc.) and don't send out invitations.
Listen to advice from friends and family . . . but make sure that the final decision is yours.
Save petrol and time by doing your preliminary work on-line. The registration service website is a good place to start as it will list its offices and the approved venues. There will be photographs to give you an idea of the appearance of the ceremony rooms. The registration website will be found on your council website. Click on Registration before following the links.
Enjoy this planning stage. There'll be plenty of time to feel nervous nearer the wedding.