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Ceremonies in Gloucestershire

The government announcement (23 June 2020) stated that marriage and civil partnership ceremonies can resume from Saturday 4 July 2020. The government has indicated that up to 30 people may be permitted in the ceremony room subject to:

The venue and the room being available for use and suitably risk assessed as COVID secure and the number of people in the room is compliant with social distancing rules.

Please click here for full details how a ceremony will look in Gloucestershire with the current government restrictions.

We will be contacting couples in priority order if these restrictions affect your planned ceremony date.

We are currently unable to take any new bookings for Ceremonies to take place during the remainder of 2020. This is due to the need to accommodate bookings that have been unable to go ahead due to the Government restrictions. We are however happy to continue to take any new bookings for Ceremonies taking place from January 2021 onwards. There may be a delay in confirming these as we work through our current backlog.

If you need to contact us about a ceremony, please email ceremonies@gloucestershire.gov.uk

Marriage & Civil Partnership Advice with Covid-19

Please read the information below.  We will continue to update this page to keep you informed of any further changes, as we are made aware. 

How will my ceremony look in Gloucestershire with the current government restrictions?

Please see below guidance that was set out by the Government (dated 29th June 2020) and subsequent General Register Office guidance in relation to all marriages and civil partnerships.

 

  • Ceremonies can only take place in a COVID 19 secure environment – this means that risk assessments for all registration offices and approved venues, maximum capacity and control measures need to be in place and signed off by Gloucestershire County Council Health & Safety prior to any ceremony being conducted.

 

  • Wearing of Face Coverings Further to the latest Government Updates on 31st July 2020 guests will be required to wear face coverings at marriages and civil partnership ceremonies including those taking place in register offices or other approved venues. Face coverings will not have to be worn by the bride, groom or civil partners.

 

  • Track & Trace  (Registration Office) Couples are to provide either a phone number or email address for each guest attending, clearly typed to avoid mistake, prior to the ceremony in order that we can track and trace any attendees in the event of a COVID 19 breakout.  This information will be held securely by us for a period of 21 days and then destroyed.

 

  • Track & Trace (Approved Venue) Couples will be required to provide either a phone number or an email address for each guest attending their ceremony. It is the responsibility of your venue to collect this information from you. This information should be securely held by your venue for a period of 21 days and then destroyed.

 

  • Number of guests allowed for each Registration Office:

                  Gloucester, Shire Hall – 11 Guests

                  Stroud, The Old Victorian School – 9 Guests

                  Cinderford, The Oaks – 6 Guests

 

  • Approved Venues As set out by the UK Government, all venues must be COVID-19 certified. Therefore in order for Gloucestershire Registration Service (GRS) to attend a venue and perform a ceremony the venue must have an updated COVID -19 risk assessment, have reviewed and set out their maximum capacities based on social distancing guidelines and introduced updated plans and control measures.  The capacity must not exceed 30 people as set out above. All of these documents need to be signed off by Gloucestershire County Council Health & Safety Department before any ceremony can be conducted. Please note it is your  venue’s responsibility to ensure that they complete the correct paperwork in a timely manner to ensure Covid-19 certification. We cannot conduct ceremonies on any premises without this in place. Please note, however, that the maximum number present must include 2 Registration Officers and the couple. It must also include any photographer, interpreter or other 3rd party who will be present within the ceremony room or structure.    Venues will be required to maintain 2m social distancing between the Registration Officers and the couple.  Important note:  It is your responsibility to adhere to the maximum capacity of rooms – if GRS Officers attend your ceremony and maximum numbers have been exceeded you will be asked to ensure the numbers match the capacity or the ceremony will not go ahead.

 

  • Outside ceremonies – These can only be permitted in a licenced structure which must be of sufficient size to accommodate 6 persons in line with social distancing guidelines.  If the structure is not big enough to accommodate 6 people the ceremony can not proceed. 

 

  • Social distancing rules of 2m will be observed within all registration offices. For approved venues, please see above.

 

  • Aisle / Giving Away –  Unless the venue set up permits social distancing, which may not to be possible, a person can only be accompanied to the ceremony room. Walking down the aisle with another person may not be permitted if social distancing from seated guests can not be maintained. We are unable to comment on individual set ups so please speak with your venue to confirm your arrangements. If your venue is able to accommodate this, whilst maintaining social distancing, only members of the same household/bubble should walk together.  Couples can stand together for the ceremony and walk back down the aisle at the end of the ceremony as long as social distancing is in place to accommodate.

     

  • Music -  may be played on entrance and exit to your ceremony as long as it does not unreasonably extend the ceremony and is played by a guest who is socially distanced. No music can be played during the ceremony as the guidance states “It is advised that the ceremony is kept as short as possible and limited to the parts of the ceremony that are required to make it legally binding”.

 

  • Readings - We are unable to accommodate any readings to ensure the ceremony is kept as short as possible and limited to the parts of the ceremony that are required to make it legally binding.

 

  • Ring Exchange - We will, where couples request it, oversee the giving and receiving of rings, however, the rings can only be exchanged if held by one or other of the couple, they cannot be handed to the couple by a third party. 

 

  • Hand sanitiser is to be used prior to entering the room.  Couples will also be expected to use hand sanitiser before signing the Register pages.

 

  • Any children attending the ceremony must be supervised by a household member. (Children must be included in the maximum numbers)  Any infants attending must be held throughout the ceremony by a household member.

 

  • No member of the ceremonial party should attend the premises if they are displaying symptoms of COVID 19 or feel unwell.  If it is found that someone is unwell or that the maximum numbers have been exceeded, the ceremony will not take place and will have to be re-booked.  There will be a fee payable for this change.

 

At present the ceremony will consist of:

  • Welcome
  • Declaratory & contractual vows – which is a legal requirement
  • Promises
  • Exchange of rings (if requested)
  • Invitation to ‘kiss’ once couple declared legally married.
  • Completion of the Register and Marriage certificate using pen/ink supplied by GRS
  • Conclusion, guests to be invited to offer a round of applause for the couple, who will then lead their guests from the room.

 

The following aspects will be excluded:

  • Formal ‘giving away’ – unless a 2 metre distance can be kept. Please confirm with your venue.
  • Readings
  • Music during the ceremony

 

In the week prior to your Ceremony you will be contacted by a Registration Officer to complete Pre-Ceremony questions. This will avoid delays on your day.

We understand that this is not the ceremony that you have been expecting or planning for but we do have to adhere to the Government guidelines in this matter and would appreciate your assistance with ensuring these guidelines are adhered to.  We must emphasise that your ceremony can only proceed if your venue is COVID-19 compliant in line with UK Government instructions. Should you have any queries regarding the above or you choose to not go ahead with your ceremony at the current time please contact us at ceremonies@gloucestershire.gov.uk.

 

Am I able to book a new ceremony within Gloucestershire?

Due to the high number of couples who have had their ceremony postponed this year and need to reschedule, we are unable to offer new ceremony bookings until January 2021.   We have availability for 2021, so please don’t worry about not being able to get a date however you may need to be flexible with your ceremony time.

 

Other Options available to you at the present time:

 

Changing your ceremony date

If you wish to amend your ceremony to a date in 2021 at your original venue, you can do so at no additional cost as long as the venue, the day of the week and ceremony details are the same. Please email us the details (including your booking reference) and we will contact you as soon as we can to confirm whether we can accommodate the new date. If you wish to change the day of the week from your original booking any difference will be chargeable or refunded.

If you wish to amend your ceremony to a date in 2020 at your original venue, you can do so at no additional cost as long as the venue, the day of the week and the ceremony details are the same. Please email us the details (including your booking reference) and we will contact you as soon as we can to confirm whether we can accommodate the new date.  Please note: We cannot guarantee that we can accommodate preferred dates and times in 2020.  This may be due to the number of current bookings, continued government restrictions or the legal requirement to ensure notices of marriage/civil partnership is in date.  If you wish to change the day of the week from your original booking any difference will be chargeable or refunded.

We have availability for 2021, so please don’t worry about not being able to get a date however you may need to be flexible with your ceremony time.

 

Changing your ceremony date and choosing a new venue

If you wish to amend your ceremony to a date in 2021 at a new venue, please email us the details (including your booking reference) and we will contact you as soon as we can to confirm whether we can accommodate the new date. If you choose a new venue you will be required to have a new notice of marriage/civil partnership, this will be payable as per our current fee list.  If you wish to change the day of the week from your original booking any difference will be chargeable or refunded.

If you wish to amend your ceremony to a date in 2020 at a new venue, please email us the details (including your booking reference) and we will contact you as soon as we can to confirm whether we can accommodate the new date. Please note: We cannot guarantee that we can accommodate preferred dates and times in 2020.  This may be due to the number of current bookings, continued government restrictions or the legal requirement to ensure notices of marriage /civil partnership are in date.  If you choose a new venue you will be required to have a new notice of marriage/civil partnership, this will be payable as per our current fee list.  If you wish to change the day of the week from your original booking any difference will be chargeable or refunded.

We have availability for 2021, so please don’t worry about not being able to get a date however you may need to be flexible with your ceremony time.

 

Cancelling your ceremony

If you wish to cancel your ceremony completely and choose not to amend please email us the details (including your booking reference) to confirm. In these circumstances you will receive a refund of the ceremony fee (if you have already paid it) minus the non-refundable booking (administration) fee.  Please note if you have given notice, this notice fee is non refundable.

 

Retaining your current ceremony date

If you wish to wait to see whether the UK Government restrictions are relaxed within a timeframe that allows your current booked Ceremony to go ahead, then please do not contact us at this point. Please note in order for your ceremony to go ahead you must have valid Notices of Marriage in place at least 28 days prior to the date of your ceremony.

 

Important details to note:

Dates and times for amended Ceremonies are subject to availability. This availability will take into account current bookings, government restrictions and the legal requirement to ensure notices of marriage/civil partnership are in date and new notice appointments made if required. 

If your marriage or civil partnership notices will have expired before any new proposed date, we will offer new notice of marriage / civil partnership appointments free of charge to those who live in Gloucestershire. If you require a new notice of marriage/civil partnership due to a change of venue, these will be payable as per our current fee list.

 

Notices of Marriage

In line with Government advice we are now permitted to undertake Notice of Marriage/Civil Partnership appointments.

Due to the restrictions that have been in place since 23rd March 2020 we will be contacting couples in priority order to arrange an appointment in order to ensure their Notices are in place prior to their ceremony date. 

We will be working to arrange appointments as quickly as possible.

Notices must be given at least one month before the date of your newly arranged ceremony.

Those couples who live outside of Gloucestershire should contact their local Register Office to find out what arrangements they have put in place for notices which need to be taken again.

 

Does my wedding insurance cover the cost of my cancelled ceremony?

Whilst we recommend that you obtain insurance, we are unable to comment on individual cover. Please speak to your insurance provider for full details.

 

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