1. Home
  2. Births, deaths, marriages and citizenship
  3. Marriage venue licensing
  4. Licensing your venue for civil marriages and civil partnerships

Licensing your venue for civil marriages and civil partnerships


3. Statutory and local requirements

You need to identify specific room(s) or outdoor linked space(s) where weddings and civil partnerships take place. The outdoor area must be within the grounds of the host building.

East Sussex Registration must be satisfied that the premises are ‘seemly and dignified’ and that they will be regularly available for marriages and civil partnerships.

You must:

  1. Have all the necessary fire and safety provisions required by East Sussex County Council.
  2. Appoint a Responsible Person to make sure all terms and conditions of the licence are followed. In the absence of the Responsible Person, an appropriately qualified deputy will be available.
  3. Provide the contact details of the Responsible Person as the main point of contact for East Sussex Registration.
  4. Inform East Sussex Registration if the Responsible Person’s details change.
  5. Inform East Sussex Registration of any change to the premises, for example name or layout.
  6. Make sure your premises can be inspected by East Sussex Registration at reasonable times.
  7. Make sure that East Sussex Registration has approved all wedding or civil partnership ceremony content prior to taking place.

Ceremonies:

  • Must only take place in the specified licensed areas.
  • Must not have any religious content (for example music, readings and rituals).
  • Are freely open to the public. Doors must remain unlocked.

Once approved the following additional licence conditions, Once approved the following additional licence conditions, will apply. They may be amended from time to time by East Sussex Registration.

  1. Civil marriage and civil partnership ceremonies must be conducted by an East Sussex Registration member of staff. Licence holders would not be expected to supply anyone to conduct the ceremony, nor must they permit anyone other than staff from East Sussex Registration to officiate at a ceremony.
  2. Couples should be advised to contact East Sussex Registration as soon as they have made a provisional booking with their venue. East Sussex Registration will try to accommodate the time and date requested but may offer a suitable alternative.
  3. The Responsible Person (deputy) should notify attending registration staff of the fire evacuation procedures and how to call a First Aider.
  4. The ceremony and interview rooms must have suitable heating and ventilation to maintain the comfort of the ceremony parties and their guests.
  5. The ceremony room and outdoor linked spaces must have suitable lighting.
  6. The ceremony room and outdoor linked space must have a minimum of four chairs for the couple and registration staff, together with a desk or table large enough to accommodate the marriage or civil partnership document.
  7. The Responsible Person or deputy are available on the premises for a minimum of one hour prior to and throughout the proceedings.
  8. The number of guests and participants attending a ceremony must not exceed that shown on the licence application and the licence notice supplied for display. This does not include East Sussex Registration and venue staff.
  9. The person(s) booking the premises for a ceremony must be made aware of:
    • Any limitations imposed by accessibility of the premises
    • Any limitations imposed on the size of the ceremony party by the size of the ceremony room and the agreed capacity listed on the licence.
    • The fact that public access to the ceremony must be permitted.
  10. The use of confetti is at the discretion of the licence holder.
  11. Sources of ignition, such as candles are not permitted. Battery operated candles may be used.
  12. The ceremony room and outdoor linked space to be used should be set up and ready at least one hour before the agreed start time for the ceremony.
  13. Display the notice confirming the licence at public entrances for one hour before and during the ceremony. A notice must also be displayed at the entrance to any outdoor linked space.
  14. No food or drinks are sold or consumed in the specified area one hour before and during the ceremony. Water is permitted.
  15. Ensure the health and safety of registration staff, the couple and ceremony guests at all times, while at the venue.
  16. Provide full access for those with disabilities. Where this is not possible, due to the age and construction of the building, this must be clearly communicated to couples intending to hold their ceremony on the premises.
  17. Provide a separate room to be used for the pre-ceremony questioning of the couple by the Registrar. Hotel bedrooms are not appropriate for this confidential process.
  18. Provide two free and reserved car parking spaces for the use of the registration staff where available.
  19. Provide clean and accessible toilet facilities for the use of the couple, any guests attending and registration staff. 

Special licence conditions

ESCC reserves the right to apply special licence conditions, in addition to those set out above, to any licence at any time as it considers necessary.

The licence may be revoked if these requirements are not met.

For more information please see:

Registering a venue for civil marriage and civil partnership 

Was this page helpful?

Click or tap the rating which best represents your experience.