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.

Last updated 15/06/2021

Questions & answers relevant to COVID-19/lockdown restrictions

Are we able to have our wedding ceremony if we are in a National Lockdown?

Unfortunately, not, unless in exceptional circumstances for example urgent marriages where one of those getting married is seriously ill and not expected to recover, or due to undergo debilitating treatment or life-changing surgery.

 

What ceremony dates and times are available? 

We are taking new bookings as usual. Click 'Book Now' to see all dates and secure your slot any time until December 31st 2022.

 

How do I rearrange a ceremony cancelled due to the restrictions? 

Please use this form or email us using the contact form to the right if you have any further questions.

 

What are your terms and conditions for cancelling/changing my ceremony?

Our policy regarding amendment/cancellation of ceremonies as a result of the coronavirus is as follows: For changes made to bookings by 31st August 2021, we will not charge for re-scheduling your ceremony. You will get a refund of any difference in fees if you opt for a room/date that has a lower fee than the one you originally booked but you will need to pay the difference if you upgrade from a weekday to a Saturday/Sunday/Bank Holiday. You will be charged your original fee for re-scheduling to the next financial year when ceremony fees are higher, however if you cancel your booking and subsequently make a new booking, you will be required to pay the fee in force at the time. You will get a full refund for cancellations (including the deposit). You will still need to pay if new licences for marriage/civil partnership are required due to a change in date and/or location. From 1st September 2021 our normal cancellation and amendment fees will be payable.

 

When my ceremony takes place at The Old Marylebone Town Hall are there any restrictions and what will they be? 

For the time being we are still be encouraging social distancing, mask-wearing and hand washing in the building. While restrictions are in place, your chosen room may no longer have the original seating capacity/layout. You can see previous room layouts in our virtual tours for an example of socially distanced seating plans:

Virtual tour - COVID set up

Virtual tour - NON COVID set up

 

What are the ‘new’ capacities of ceremonies at The Old Marylebone Town Hall, coming out of the national lockdown? 

The general rules allow for the following:

From 17th May - Ceremonies up to 30 people*

From 21st June - Further increased guest allowances

*Westminster room only

The capacities specific to The Old Marylebone Town Hall (due to social distancing measures remaining in place) are:

  • From June 21st until July 19th (the next date restrictions will be reviewed) - 
    • Westminster: 48 plus couple and registrars 
    • Paddington: 8 plus couple and registrars 
    • Marylebone: 10 plus couple and registrars 
    • Soho: 9 plus couple and registrars 
    • Pimlico: 10 plus couple and registrars 
    • Mayfair:  16 plus couple and registrars 
    • Knightsbridge: Remains unavailable for the time being

 

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 we have a photographer at OMTH? 

Yes, you may have a photographer/videographer present – but in all of the rooms apart from the Westminster Room he/she will be included as one of your guests according to the room capacities – not in addition to your guests. In the Westminster room up to 2 photographers/videographers will be allowed and they will NOT be counted as guests, therefore not adding to the number. In all rooms with the exception of the Westminster Room, a photographer 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 are welcome. 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. At this time, we are not permitting parents to leave the ceremony room if the child(ren) are being disruptive. Everybody will have to stay in the room.

 

Can we bring our dog to OMTH? 

Well-behaved dogs are welcome at the Town Hall where we are very dog-friendly. We only ask that parties ensure they are ready to clean up after a dog if necessary and must always maintain control of the dog. Please let us know in advance if you plan to bring any dogs so we can make a note on your booking. 

 

 

Can we stream our wedding? (Use Zoom, FaceTime etc)

Yes, of course! We understand that whilst all of your loved ones may not be there in person, they would still like to be there virtually. We do not have our own in house streaming services but we are quite happy for you to bring your own devices and set them up to make this possible (using a phone, tablet or laptop). We do have WiFi to facilitate this and our 4G connection is also quite strong in all rooms. 

 

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

Unfortunately not whilst strict social distancing measures are in place. Food and drink has to be served seated and we do not have the facilities for that in our ceremony rooms. Official government advice is as follows: “Under Step 3, if the event is taking place at a COVID-secure venue where alcohol is served, all food and drink (including non-alcoholic drink) must be ordered, served and consumed by the customer while seated at a table”. 

 

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 cannot allow enhancements such as the warming of the rings, sand ceremony or stone ceremony (Unconventional script). You can also mix and match 3 of the existing scripts (e.g. Modern, Traditional and Romantic)  and add short personal vows where appropriate. 

 

Can we have a reading or speech? 

Yes, you may include two short readings shared by family or friends in your ceremony. They will need to deliver it from their seat and they can do so with our without a mask.

 

Can we have music 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 music cannot be religious in nature – incidental references to a god or deity is acceptable, but the piece must be essentially non-religious in context. While we are observing COVID19 restrictions, one live musician is permitted in ceremony rooms but they will be counted as a guest except in the Westminster Room where you can have a maximum of 4 live musicians (i.e. a string quartet) present who will be seen as 'working' and therefore do not add to the guest count . Blown instruments are not permitted due to a lack of ventilation in the rooms. 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 we have a singer/singing?

Due to a lack of ventilation, singing is currently prohibited at The Old Marylebone Town Hall. The windows usually remain closed during the main part of the ceremony to reduce any unwanted noise from outside.

 

Can I/we make an entrance into the ceremony room at OMTH?

Yes, you may make an entrance into your chosen ceremony room as a couple or with another person. Unfortunately, a long procession will not be possible at this time but you can add one extra person such as a bridesmaid.  

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/schedule details checked before making the entrance into the 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. 

 

Why do the seating plans in the ceremony rooms still have to be distanced?

While we understand that restrictions have eased, we cater to several ceremonies per day and not every group will feel comfortable with having close proximity to other guests as yet. The seats will be positioned in couples, at least, so that nobody has to sit along. We are not in a position to completely accodomate for personal preferences at this time.

 

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

There are two registrars present at each ceremony and the registrar conducting the ceremony will not be wearing a face covering but will maintain the required two metre distance from those present. We are allowing the registering registrar the decide whether they wish to wear a face covering or not.   

 

Will we, the couple, and our guests need to wear masks? 

From August 8th 2020 onwards, face coverings will be required of guests at weddings and civil partnership ceremonies including those taking place in register offices or other approved venues. A face visor or shield may be worn in addition to a face covering but not instead of one. This is because face visors or shields do not adequately cover the nose and mouth. Face coverings will not have to be worn by the bride, groom or civil partners 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. 

 

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, a member of the team will call you after receipt of the form and discuss options with you.

 

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. 

 

Is the Disabled access route still available at OMTH? 

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).

Giving notice

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

We have reopened for notice of intention appointments. For more information, and to book your appointment, please visit: www.westminster.gov.uk/giving-notice-of-intention 

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

 

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 

The ceremony

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 schedule. 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, family members or strangers 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. Unfortunately it will not be possible to meet with your registrar prior to the day while we are still observing COVID19 regulations. 

 

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.

 

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. At this time, you may include two short readings from guests in your party. They will need to deliver it from their seat they can do so with our without a mask.

 

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.

 

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 music cannot be religious in nature – incidental references to a god or deity is acceptable, but the piece must be essentially non-religious in context. While we are observing COVID19 restrictions, one live musician is permitted in ceremony rooms but they will be counted as a guest except in the Westminster Room where you can have a maximum of 4 live musicians (i.e. a string quartet) present who will be seen as 'working' and therefore do not add to the guest count . Blown instruments are not permitted due to a lack of ventilation in the rooms. 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 we have a singer/singing?

Due to a lack of ventilation, singing is currently prohibited at The Old Marylebone Town Hall. The windows usually remain closed during the main part of the ceremony to reduce any unwanted noise from outside.

Directions/Transport/Parking - The Old Marylebone Town Hall

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

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?

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.

 

Are there any disabled parking bays near the venue?

There are disabled parking bays on Upper Montagu Street, a side street very near to the Town Hall. You can check out the bays here: Blue Badge Bays (arcgis.com) and other parking rules in Westminster here: Where you can park with a disabled badge | Westminster City Council

Venue weddings around Westminster

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 we have a singer/singing?

Yes, as long as the room is well ventilated and it is in line with the policy at your venue.

 

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

Yes, as long as the room is well ventilated (if blown instruments will be used) and it is in line with the policy at your venue.

 

Certificates

When will I receive my marriage certificate? 

Your certificate(s) will be posted to you up to 2 weeks after your ceremony.

 

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

Your certificate(s) will be posted to you up to 2 weeks after your civil partnership.

Arriving for my ceremony at The Old Marylebone Town Hall

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

You should arrive for your ceremony 15 minutes 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 15 minutes in advance and the other 5-10 minutes ahead so we can conduct your interviews separately. Guests are welcome 15 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.

 

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.

Unfortunately this room will be unavailable while we are still observing COVID19 regulations. 

 

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 ceremony rooms at OMTH

How long do we have use of the room for? 

You are granted access to your chosen room 15 minutes prior to your ceremony. The ceremony will normally last approximately 15-20 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 six different rooms with individual layouts to choose from.

 

I have booked the Westminster room. Will all of the chairs be in the room even if my guest number is below 100?

While we understand that 100 seats sounds like a lot, we cater to several ceremonies per day and not every group will have the same number of guests. For this reason, the seats need to remain in the room as we are not in a position to accodomate for personal preferences between each party.

The chairs are layed out in 4 rows on each side so the room won't feel 'empty' even if every seat is not filled. We have done many weddings, with as little as 2 guests and the room is just as lovely! 

 

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? 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.

 

How many weddings take place at the same time?

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.

Beyond the ceremony

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 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 complete this form if you are interested in adding a ‘First Toast’ to your ceremony.

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

*Unfortunately this service will be unavailable while we are still observing COVID19 regulations. 

 

Can we have confetti?

Yes and 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. Please fill out this form if you would like to purchase our in-house biodegradable confetti. It will be ready for you on the day of the ceremony. You are also welcome to bring your own biodegradable confetti.

Further information

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 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 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.

Contact

Please check our FAQs before submitting this form as you may find the answer to your questions.

If you wish to check our availability before booking a ceremony – please click ‘Book now’ and you will be directed to the booking portal.