The Introduction of the Marriage Schedule System

The Marriages, Civil Partnerships, Marriages and Deaths (Registration Etc.) Act 2019

The Act will modernise how marriages are registered for the first time since 1837, through the issue of a marriage schedule system and registration in an electronic register. It will move away from the current paper register creating a more secure system for keeping marriage records, that is also more efficient and far simpler to administer and amend, if necessary, in the future.

The electronic register will also allow for the names of parents of the couple (mother / father / parent) to be included in the marriage entry and on marriage certificates, instead of only their fathers’ names as is currently the case.

This will be implemented from 4 May 2021.

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Why Choose a Civil Ceremony?

A Civil Ceremony is a non-religious ceremony that can take place in any licensed venue or Register Office. Two registrars will attend, one to conduct the ceremony and a second to register the marriage as it takes place. All you need to do is ask two adults to witness your marriage. Then, leave the rest to our experts and take in the beauty of your surroundings and the joy of the occasion.

The personal touch

We want your perfect day to run smoothly, so our dedicated Ceremony Co-ordination team will be on hand to take your booking, explain the legalities and to help you to decide on the little touches that will make the day your own. From readings and music, to personal promises and much more, getting married in a licensed venue in Northumberland allows you to personalise your ceremony.

As well as being able to legally marry you, we pride ourselves on the unique service that we can offer to every couple who chooses Northumberland as the location for their big day.

Find out more

If you want an unforgettable day in an unforgettable location simply get in touch with our friendly Ceremony Co-ordination team who’ll be happy to help. Below we’ve outlined everything you need to know to help plan and prep for the day:


Planning your marriage ceremony


1.Choose your venue

Whether you celebrate in style at one the county’s stunning stately homes, hotels or castles, or opt for a more intimate gathering at a Register Office, you’re sure to find a magical location for your special day in Northumberland. Why not browse our full collection of venues here?  Once you have chosen your venue, book your registrar as soon as possible, even if it is a few years in advance of your ceremony.


2.Book the registrar

Contact our wedding co-ordination team  book your registrar. If you have decided to have a combined naming and wedding ceremony, please let the registrar know at this point.

When you book, you will need to pay a non-refundable booking fee. View the current financial year price list here:

ceremony fees 2021-22

If you change the date, time or venue of your ceremony, you will need to pay an amendment fee charged at the current rate.


3.Give your notice of marriage (legal preliminaries)
Giving notice is a legal requirement. By giving notice, partners are legally declaring they intend to marry. Both partners must do this in the registration district where they live. They must have lived there for at least the past nine consecutive days. The notice can be given a maximum of 12 months before the ceremony but we recommend you do it as soon as possible.

If you live in Northumberland, you will need to give notice at one of our register offices. Please contact us to make an appointment. If you live outside Northumberland, please contact your local authority. The appointment will last about 30 minutes for each person and we will need the following:

-a valid passport or full birth certificate (showing parents’ details) accompanied by a parents birth certificate in some circumstances.
-proof of address (a bank statement dated within one month, a utility bill dated within three months or a council tax bill dated within 12 months)
-if applicable, a decree absolute or death certificate for any previous marriage (if a divorce was obtained outside of the British Isles, a fee of up to £75 is payable for it to be considered).
-for a previous civil partnership, we require a dissolution document  (if the dissolution was obtained outside of the British Isles, a fee of up to £75 is payable for it to be considered).
-any name change document if you have legally changed your name.

You may also need previous marriage certificates/civil partnership certificate to show any previous name.

Please discuss the documents you will require when booking your appointment.

The fee to give notice is £35 per person. A notice of marriage will be displayed in the Morpeth register office for 28 full days. If we don’t receive an objection, then a certificate of marriage will be produced on the 29th day.


4.Plan your day
We will send you a ceremony arrangement pack after your notice of marriage appointment which will show you the structure of your ceremony and give details on how to make it personal. Please remember that yours is a civil ceremony and there should be no religious content.


5.Pay your fees and return your ceremony form

Return your completed ceremony form to us at least six weeks before your wedding. Please include any outstanding fees and anything that your conducting registrar will need for the ceremony, such as readings. At this point, it is useful for us to know if you would like extra copies of your marriage certificate. If so, please let us know on the bottom of your ceremony form.

You can return your completed ceremony forms either by:


Or post to

The Ceremony Co-ordination Team
The Register Office
27 Fenkle Street
NE66 1HW


You can pay your fees by:

phone: 01665 602870, using credit or debit card

post: send a cheque made payable to ‘Northumberland County Council’ to the above address.


What happens on the day of your marriage?

You will not need any paperwork and all fees will have been paid, leaving you to enjoy your day!

The registrars will arrive approximately 30 minutes before the start of the ceremony. They will check last minute arrangements and will speak to anyone playing a part in the ceremony, to ensure everything runs smoothly.

We will speak to your photographer/videographer to confirm we are happy for them to discreetly capture the entire ceremony. The only exception will be the actual signing of the schedule, but we will set up a pretend signing immediately after for photographs.

Things to remember:

  • Bring any of your own promises and readings with you on the day – you could mount them on card and keep them as a memento. Any music (CD/iPod) should be given directly to the venue
  • After the ceremony is finished you will be asked to check and sign the schedule. It is important that you check the schedule carefully before signing it. If a mistake is found at a later date and you require a correction to be made, a fee of up to £90 is payable
  • Your ceremony should start promptly to ensure our registrars can travel safely to their next wedding
  • We reserve the right to leave your ceremony if we feel the following ceremony will be compromised – this decision will not be taken lightly and we will always consult with you and the venue first

Copies of your wedding certificate

You will receive your marriage certificate after your marriage is recorded. This is done the next working day after your ceremony and the certificate will be posted out to you. You will receive one copy of your marriage certificate in the post following your day. If you would like further copies, please visit our copy certificate page, after your ceremony, for more information on how to order or contact Customer Services on 0345 600 6400.

After the wedding, we would really like to hear how your day went and how you found our service. Please complete the short survey sent to you in your ceremony pack, or email us at:

Religious ceremonies
If you wish to be married by the Church of England, you must contact the vicar or parish administrator. We would not expect to be involved in your wedding.

If you wish to be married in a church or building of any other religious denomination, you will need to contact the church to see if a registrar is required to register the ceremony.  If so, please contact the ceremony co-ordination team on 01665 602 870 to discuss this with us as soon as possible.

In cases where the church has their own ‘appointed person’ to register the ceremony, you will still need to give your notice (legal preliminaries) in the district where you live. If you live in Northumberland, this can be done at any of our register offices. Contact us to make an appointment. If you live outside Northumberland, you need to contact your local authority.