Frequently Asked Questions

FAQs

If you’re looking for more information on the process of booking your ceremony, take a look at our blog post on how to do it.

***Questions & answers relevant to COVID-19***

I have a marriage / civil partnership ceremony booked in the next few weeks. Will it still go ahead?

If you have a ceremony booked on or after 4 July 2020 at The Old Marylebone Town Hall it can now go ahead following the government announcement on 23 June. However, given the social distancing measures that have been introduced your choice of room will no longer have the same seating capacity as before. You can see the new room layouts in the highlights on our Instagram page

We will therefore be in touch with all those who have a ceremony booked for July and August in due course to discuss options and finalise arrangements.  

 

What ceremony dates and times are available? 

We are currently only taking new bookings from 1 September onwards (see above).

 

How do I arrange this? 

If you have given notice already and want to make a booking earlier than September email us at registeroffice@westminster.gov.uk and a registrar will call you to discuss. 

 

If my ceremony takes place are there any restrictions and what will they be? 

The maximum number allowed in a ceremony is 30 people. This includes the 2 registrars, the couple, 2 witnesses, and a photographer.

 

What is the ‘new’ capacity of each room at Old Marylebone Town Hall? 

 

Paddington: 6 plus couple and registrars 

Marylebone: 6 plus couple and registrars 

Soho: 5 (or 6 if two guests are from the same household / in a social bubble – they can sit on sofa and won’t need to be 1m apart) plus couple and registrars 

Pimlico: 7 plus couple and registrars 

Mayfair: 10 plus couple and registrars 

Westminster: 26 plus couple and registrars 

Knightsbridge Room is unavailable at present. But the Mayfair room, at the opposite end of the corridor is the same layout and holds the same number of guests 

 

Can we still have the ceremony in the room that we booked? 

Depending on how many guests you wish to invite along with the new room capacities - you may need to change your choice of room as per the capacities above. The Knightsbridge Room is currently unavailable but the Mayfair Room at the other end of the corridor is the same layout and holds the same number of guests.

 

Can I use the bride’s powder room to get changed/freshen up on arrival at OMTH? 

Unfortunately not. It is closed until further notice whilst strict social distancing measures are in place. 

 

Can our photographer be there? 

Yes, you may have a photographer present – but he/she will be included as one of your guests according to the room capacities – not in addition to your guests. In all rooms with the exception of the Westminster Room, they will need to remain static, and not move around – this is because they are small rooms and more difficult to maintain social distancing. In the Westminster Room there is a little more space, but they will not be able to move around freely. They will also be expected to agree to a Code of Conduct, which will make clear they have a responsibility to maintain social distancing, and to work under the direction of registrars and ushers.  

 

Can we bring our children? 

Yes children over 10 years old are welcome. However, we can only permit the children younger than 10 if they are children of the couple. They must be supervised at all times and should not be allowed to wander around the room / venue. This is to help us manage social distancing within the venue. 

 

Can we bring our dog? 

Unfortunately, not at this present time. Our priority will be to ensure social distancing is maintained  along with strict cleaning routines for each of the rooms between ceremonies . 

 

Can we have a “first toast” after our ceremony? 

Unfortunately not at this time whilst strict social distancing measures are in place 

 

Can I still choose my script for my ceremony? 

Official government advice is as follows: It is advised that the ceremonies and services should be concluded in the shortest reasonable time, and limited as far as reasonably possible to the parts of the marriage or civil partnership that are required in order to be legally binding under the law of England and Wales.” However we recognise this is still a special occasion for you and so yes you may choose any of the options here on the website under ‘Ceremonies’. However, we unfortunately cannot allow enhancements such as the warming of the rings, sand ceremony or stone ceremony (Unconventional script). 

 

Can we have a reading or speech? 

This will not be possible at this time in order to keep with the guidance in keeping ceremonies to the legal minimum. However, you can mix and match 3 of the existing scripts (e.g. Modern, Traditional and Romantic www.adaytoremember.london/ceremonies)  and add short personal vows where appropriate. 

 

Can we have music? 

Yes, you can have pre-recorded music on a device which can be played through our wireless speakers via Bluetooth. Alternatively if your ceremony is taking place in the Westminster Room only you may have a maximum of 3 live musicians present e.g. a string trio provided they form part of the quota of guests permitted in that room (26 guests). In line with Government guidelines, no blown instruments can be played, and no singing is permitted. However, as the room is arranged to allow social distancing for staff and guests, musicians will need to play from a chair located within the guest seating area. Your musicians will be expected to agree to a Code of Conduct, which will make clear they have a responsibility to maintain social distancing, and to work under the direction of registrars and ushers.  

 

Can I/we make an entrance into the ceremony room  

Yes, you may make an entrance together or with your father or another family member, provided your ceremony is being held in the Westminster Room only. Unfortunately, a long procession featuring bridesmaids/groomsmen etc. will not be possible at this time.  

However, if the bride/partner 1 wishes to make an entrance and doesn’t wish to see the groom/partner 2 before the ceremony starts then arrival times will need to be coordinated so that the bride/partner 1 arrives last in order to have the pre-ceremony interview/certificate details check in the Paddington Room before making the entrance into the Westminster room. We ask that the groom/partner 2 arrives 15 minutes before the start time of the ceremony and the bride/partner 1 arrives 10 minutes before. 

 

Can we still throw confetti after the ceremony?

Yes, although you may not have long on the steps to avoid being in contact with other wedding parties who may be arriving for their ceremony. We would appreciate if you used biodegradable confetti only and guests should wherever possible avoid handling the confetti before throwing it (i.e scatter it directly from the box and dispose of the boxes. Please be aware that as a result of increased cleaning regimes inside the building, there may be a build-up of confetti on the steps as housekeeping staff have less time to devote to sweeping it away between ceremonies. 

 

Will Registrars be wearing PPE? If so, what will be worn? 

Registrars will be maintaining a 2-meter distance and will not be wearing any PPE but will be wiping down their pens and other equipment after each ceremony 

 

Will registrars provide PPE for couples and witnesses? 

No this will not be provided but upon arrival and on exit everyone will be asked to visit the washrooms and wash their hands and then maintain a 1+-meter distance at all times.  Wearing PPE is optional, however, if couples choose to wear a face mask the registrar will need to check their identity before the ceremony by asking the couple to briefly remove it.   

 

Can we move our ceremony to another location within Westminster? 

Yes it is possible and depends on availability of registrars.  You will be required to give your legal notice of intention to marry or form a civil partnership again if you have already given notice for the original venue. 

 

Can I bring the date of my ceremony forward? 

Yes you can apply using the reschedule form www.westminster.gov.uk/register-office-refund if you wish to bring your existing ceremony forward to a date in July or August a member of the team will call you after receipt of the form and discuss options with you.

 

I would like to make a booking for a ceremony at OMTH.  Am I able to book a ceremony this year? 

Yes, but we are only taking new bookings from September onwards. You can check availability online and make a booking by clicking 'Book now'. Please be aware that If government advice changes again, you may need to be prepared to reschedule your ceremony once again. 

 

What social distancing measures will be in place for future ceremonies at OMTH 

This will be under constant review depending on the Pandemic situation.

 

Is the Disabled access route still available? 

Access will continue to be via the LBS entrance, and a PEEP form will still be required. Those who need to use the disabled entrance as well as anyone accompanying them, will be required to wear a face covering. This is because it will not be possible for them to maintain the 2m distance from ushering staff en route to the ceremony rooms. Ushering staff will also wear a face mask (as well as gloves).

Can I make arrangements to give my notice of intention to marry / form a civil partnership yet?

We are now working on plans to re-open the register office for notice of intention appointments. If you haven't done so already, please complete the service resumption notification form and a member of the team will be in touch with you in due course to arrange an appointment for you. Appointments will be allocated in order of date of marriage/civil partnership. 

You may have to give notice in your home borough. Read more here

I don’t live in Westminster, can I still get married in this borough?

Yes, of course. You may still have to give notice in your home borough. Read more here www.westminster.gov.uk/giving-notice-of-intention 

I have given my notice of intention. Will you let me know when it has been issued?

No. We will only contact you if there has been a problem with your notice. If you have given notice elsewhere for a ceremony in Westminster, we will be automatically informed that you have done so - you don’t need to inform us.

I am having my wedding in Westminster but I live abroad. Do I still need to give notice in person?

Yes, even if you are having a 'destination wedding' in London, you must give notice in the UK. See our blog post on how to get married for more information on this www.adaytoremember.london/blog/how-get-married

Do I need to bring ID/paperwork on the day of my ceremony?

You do not need to bring anything on the day. As you would have provided identification when giving notice of intention, you do not need to do so again on the day of your ceremony.

Who can be my witness and how many witnesses do I need to bring? Do they need to bring ID?

Witnesses are required to observe you make your verbal contract of marriage, and to sign the marriage register. Therefore, they need to be present throughout the ceremony, and not be involved in other roles which may distract them, such as taking photographs.

Your witnesses need to speak and understand English, and ideally should be over the age of 16. They can be friends or family members and they do not need to bring ID on the day. You must supply your own witnesses – Westminster Register Office staff cannot act as witnesses.

 

 

Can I choose a specific registrar?

We will allocate registrars to your ceremony.  Whilst we are happy to consider a request for a registrar that you have spoken with whilst making enquiries or you may have met in person on a tour of our town hall, it may not always be possible for them to attend your ceremony based on work patterns or leave etc. 

We have a very diverse workforce in Westminster that reflects our community and we celebrate and are proud of this - we will not consider requests to allocate registrars based on individual characteristics.

Please be assured that all of our registrars would be delighted to be a part of your celebrations and will deliver your ceremony with the utmost professionalism.

Can I meet my registrar before the day of the ceremony?

If you wish to meet with your registrar prior to the day, we will endeavour to arrange this for you, depending on availability. You can meet your registrar during normal office hours, but you will need to book an appointment. If you require an appointment outside of office hours, or at a venue of your choice, there is a fee. We can also attend wedding rehearsals, but again, there is a fee for the attendance. If you are unable to meet your registrar in person, we can arrange a telephone call instead. If you do meet with your registrar prior to the day, you will still need to meet with the registrars on the day of your ceremony before it begins.

Can my friend conduct my ceremony?

Your ceremony needs to be conducted by a Westminster registrar or a registrar currently working in another district. However, friends and family are welcome to give readings during the ceremony.

What time will the registrars be at my venue?

The registrars will be at the venue 30 minutes before the ceremony begins. Both parties will need be available to meet with the Registrars at the ceremony venue no later than 15 minutes before the ceremony start time, to complete the legal preliminaries. However if you would prefer to be seen separately by the Registrar we ask that one of you is available to meet him/her 30 minutes before the start time of your ceremony and the other is available to meet him/her 15 minutes before.

Can I personalise the ceremony or write my own vows?

Yes. As long as you and your partner exchange the required legal words, you are free to amend the scripts and/or add your own readings, personal vows etc. Read more about this on our 'ceremonies' page.

Do we have to exchange rings?

No. You can leave this out of your ceremony altogether, especially if you wish to do this another day, or you can exchange other symbols of commitment, as long as your registrar is happy that it is in keeping with the solemnity of the occasion.

When will I receive my marriage certificate?

You will receive your marriage certificate on the day of your ceremony. If you have requested additional copies of your certificate, you may also receive these on the day, or they may be posted to you following the ceremony. N.B. This process may change in 2020, we will update you.

I am having a civil partnership – when will I receive my certificate?

You will receive your certificate in the post within a week of your civil partnership.

What is the best way to get to the Old Marylebone Town Hall (OMTH)?

Baker Street and Marylebone are the closest underground stations, each within a 5-minute walk of the building. There are also bus stops on the Marylebone Road and Gloucester Place. The nearest railway main line station is Marylebone, however there are good transport links from Paddington, Euston, Kings Cross and St Pancras

Is there somewhere for my wedding car/bus to park outside OMTH?

There is a pick-up and drop-off point at the front of the building, but vehicles are not permitted to wait here. Parking is restricted in the surrounding streets, although there is a privately owned multi-story car park found diagonally opposite to the Old Marylebone Town Hall. Parking fees will apply. If you are hiring a bus for your wedding, please discuss parking arrangement with the company.

What time should I/my wedding party arrive for my ceremony at OMTH?

You should arrive for your ceremony half an hour before your allotted time. This is to allow for you and your partner to be interviewed prior to your ceremony. If you do not wish to see each other before the ceremony, one of you should arrive 30 minutes in advance and the other 15 minutes ahead so we can conduct your interviews separately. Guests are welcome 30 minutes ahead too, they will be shown to the ceremony room.

Where do I go when I arrive at OMTH?

You and your guests will be directed to the appropriate rooms on arrival by our team of ushers.

Is there disabled access at OMTH?

Anyone requiring disabled access to the building; will be escorted by a member of staff through the adjoining building, the Sammy Ofer Centre, on Marylebone Road. There is access to a lift from the ground floor to the 2nd floor, where the marriage rooms are located. We ask that you complete a Personal Emergency Evacuation Plan (PEEP form) beforehand and email it to registeroffice@westminster.gov.uk. The form can be download from our website here: 
https://www.westminster.gov.uk/sites/www.westminster.gov.uk/files/personal_emergency_evacation_plan.pdf 

 

Is there a disabled toilet in the building?

Yes, the disabled toilet is located on the ground floor adjacent to the ladies’ bathroom. There is also a baby changing table in both the ladies’ and gentlemen’s toilets.

Can I have my own music or hire a musician for the ceremony at OMTH?

Yes, you are welcome to bring your own music or organise a live performer (without amps). However, please ensure that any recorded music is downloaded to a smart device i.e. phone or tablet, as we no longer have the facility to play CDs or music via a USB stick. We recommend playing music in three places: entrance, document signing & exit. Please be aware that any music or readings cannot be religious in nature – incidental references to a god or deity is acceptable, but the piece must be essentially non-religious in context.

Can my musician / singer / bagpipes come and warm up in the room before the start of the ceremony?

Yes, of course. Access to the ceremony room is permitted up to 25 minutes prior to the start of the ceremony. Unfortunately, the use of bagpipes is prohibited. Another option is having a recorded playlist playing at this time.

How many weddings take place at the same time at OMTH?

Our ceremonies have staggered start times, so there is only ever one ceremony due to start at any one time. It is still important to bear in mind that no one has exclusive use of the building.

How long do we have use of the room for?

You are granted access to your chosen room 25 minutes prior to your ceremony. The ceremony will normally last approximately 20-25 minutes and we factor in 5+ minutes departure time at the end.

Can we change the layout of the room/decorate the marriage rooms at OMTH?

Each ceremony room has a fixed layout. Unfortunately, we cannot remove chairs from the rooms. There are seven different rooms with individual layouts to choose from.

Can we change to a large room if we need to?

Yes, but please be aware that it will depend on room availability and an amendment fee may be applicable.

Are there flowers in the rooms at OMTH? Can we bring our own?

There are always floral arrangements that are replenished on a quarterly basis and the colours are seasonal. Additional flower arrangements can be brought and added to the permanent arrangements in the room as long as they are easy to put up and can be removed directly afterwards by the wedding party. Please let us know in advance if you plan to do this.

 

Can we have confetti?

Yes, please fill out this form if you would like to purchase our in-house biodegradable confetti: www.westminster.gov.uk/pre-order-wedding-confetti  It will be ready for you on the day of the ceremony. You are also welcome to bring your own biodegradable confetti. It can only be thrown on the front steps of the building. Unfortunately, we cannot permit rice, metallic or plastic confetti in the interest of the environment.

Can our dog attend the ceremony?

We are dog friendly at the Town Hall. Please let us know in advance if you plan to bring any dogs so we can make a note on your booking.

Is there a loop system?

No, there is no loop system in the building.

Can we bring helium balloons?

Unfortunately not, as our ceilings at OMTH are very high and stray balloons are difficult to retrieve!

Can we use areas in the Town Hall to take photos before and after our ceremony?

You are welcome to use other areas of the Town Hall, such as the corridor, front steps and the landing, which are all good points for photos. You will only be able to take photos in other ceremony rooms if no other ceremonies are taking place within the building at that time.

Can we have candles?

Naked flames are not permissible, for health and safety reasons. You can bring your own faux candles – just let us know in advance.

Where should my guests leave pushchairs/luggage?

They are to be left in the foyer, to save space in the ceremony rooms. These areas are open and we will not accept responsibility for the items.

Can we have a drinks reception at OMTH?

We offer a ‘First Toast’ service from Sunday-Thursday for ceremonies in the Pimlico, Soho, Marylebone & Paddington rooms. On some occasions, we may also be able to offer this in the Mayfair & Knightsbridge rooms. There is a fee of £90 for this service. Drinks are served immediately after the close of the ceremony – one glass per person - and you can spend up to 30 minutes in the room enjoying your celebration and taking photos. Alcoholic drinks need to be light coloured (i.e. sparking white wine, prosecco, champagne etc.) and delivered to OMTH at least 24 hours prior to the day of the ceremony. The same applies to soft drinks. 
 

Please fill out this form if you are interested in adding a ‘First Toast’ to your ceremony: www.westminster.gov.uk/toast-the-happy-couple

A longer drinks reception is subject to availability and requires booking an additional ceremony slot. Please contact us if you are interested in this.

 

Can I get ready at the Town Hall?

There is a powder room located next to the ladies’ bathroom for quick touch-ups before the ceremony begins. However, we ask that you arrive fully dressed.

Contact