Marriage venue licensing

Can my venue be licensed?

If you manage or own a venue, you can apply for a licence to hold marriage and civil partnership ceremonies.

Civil marriages and civil partnerships must take place in a permanent structure that is open to the public and non-religious in nature. This may include:

  • Restaurants and public houses
  • Hotels
  • Museums and galleries
  • Theatres and cinemas
  • Stately homes and castles
  • Tourist attractions

Many couples are looking for a wedding venue with a difference, your venue could be just the thing they’re after. If you’re not sure, email registrar@eastsussex.gov.uk

Applying to license a venue

The licence to hold civil marriages and civil partnership ceremonies is valid for three years from the date of issue.

There are statutory requirements and conditions applied to these licences.

Your venue will need to have a ceremony room and a designated room for the registrar to interview couples prior to their ceremony.

To apply for a licence, please read our guidance notes and send us a completed application form with:

  • 3 copies of a plan of the premises clearly showing which room (or rooms) you wish to license and a designated interview room
  • Room plans
  • A cheque for your fees made payable to ‘East Sussex County Council’ (Or email registrar@eastsussex.gov.uk to arrange BACS payment)
  • A copy of your
    • Public liability insurance
    • Fire risk assessment
    • Other relevant risk assessments
    • Other supporting documents

Email registrar@eastsussex.gov.uk for advice and further information to help you through the application process.

Once you have your licence, we will work with you to help make your approved venue successful.

Renewing a venue licence

Licences are valid for a period of three years.

We will invite you to renew your licence one calendar year before your current licence expires.

Payment must be made no later than 6 months before your current licence expires, otherwise we will assume you are not re-licensing and will stop accepting new bookings for your venue.

Application form

Email registrar@eastsussex.gov.uk for guidance and advice.

Venue licence fees

A licence to hold civil marriages and civil partnership ceremonies is valid for three years from the date of issue.

For Licences starting between 1 April 2020 and 31 March 2022:

Licence type Fee
3 year marriage and civil partnership venue licence £1,995.00
Additional ceremony room £650.00

Registering a building for worship and as a place of marriage

A congregation may apply to officially register their building of worship with East Sussex Registration. Registering your building may offer tax advantages, and the opportunity to register it as a venue for marriage ceremonies.

All Church of England denominated churches must apply to the Diocese who will notify the General Register Office once approved for worship.

To register as a place of worship, download and complete General Register Office Form 76 and return 2 copies with payment of £29 (payable to East Sussex County Council) to:

Licensing Officer

Register Office

Town Hall

Grove Road

Eastbourne

BN21 4UG

Registering as a place of marriage

Once you have registered a building as a place of worship, you may also apply to register it as a marriage venue. You can make both applications at the same time.

To register your building of worship as a marriage venue, download and complete General Register Office Form 78 and return 2 copies with payment of £123 (payable to East Sussex County Council) to the above address.

To register your building of worship at the same time as registering as a marriage venue, download and complete forms General Register Office Form 76 and General Register Office Form 78 and return 2 copies of each with payment of £152 (payable to East Sussex County Council) to the above address.

Marriage Registers

Once you are registered as a place of marriage, East Sussex Registration will provide a Registrar to attend and register marriages for you. Couples wishing to marry, must call us on 0345 60 80 198 to book a Registrar well in advance of the ceremony.

One year after a building has been registered for the solemnisation of marriages, the trustees or governing body can appoint an Authorised Person to act as Registrar and register marriages in a set of marriage registers that will be issued for the building.

To appoint an Authorised Person, download and complete General Register Office Form AP1 and return to the above address.

Responsibilities of Authorised Persons are explained in the gov.uk Marriage Registration Guidance for Authorised Persons and Clergy.

If you no longer use the building for worship

If you no longer use the building for worship, you must register this change with East Sussex Registration.

To register disuse as a building for worship, complete General Register Office Form 77 and return with any marriage registers and unused marriage certificates to the above address.

Email registrar@eastsussex.gov.uk for help and advice.

Current Licence applications

In accordance with the provisions of the Marriages and Civil Partnership (Approved Premises) Regulations 2005, and on behalf of the Registrar General, current licence applications are published here:

Venue application notice Date of publication
Swallows Oast 23 April 2021
Ashdown Park 30 April 2021
Claverton Hotel 30 April 2021

The public notice consultation runs for 21 days.

Anyone wishing to inspect the application, together with a plan of the premises in question, may do so by appointment during normal opening hours at any East Sussex Register Office.

Objections

Anyone who wishes to object to any of these applications being granted may do so by writing to;

Mr S Quayle, Proper Officer for Registration

Eastbourne Register Office

Town Hall, Grove Road

Eastbourne

East Sussex

BN21 4UG

You should set out the reasons for the objection and submit it within 21 days from the date of publication of the notice.

At the end of the 21 days, the notice will be removed and no longer subject to public objection for the purposes of an application.