The Canonbury Suite at Islington Town Hall set up for ceremonies, viewed from the witnesses' perspective, with pink walls, peacock blue velvet chairs, wooden floor and large windows

As we approach your special day, we would like to give you some information about how your ceremony will run and take some details about your plans and choices.

PLEASE NOTE: this page is only relevant to couples who have paid for two ceremony slots to have an enhanced ceremony.

Please read all the information on this webpage and complete the form at the end at least a month before your ceremony.

You may want to bookmark this page to refer to again later.

If you are seeing each other before the start of the ceremony, please both arrive with your guests around 15 minutes before the ceremony start time.

If you don’t want to see each other before the start of the ceremony, we would advise that one partner arrives with the guests around 15 minutes before the ceremony start time, and the other partner about 10 minutes before. This way your ceremony should be able to start on time. By arriving at different times you will minimise the risk of accidently running into each other outside the building. Once you enter the building our usher team will take you to a room where you will not see each other.

Consideration needs to be given to the timely start of all events, and if you arrive more than 10 minutes late, unfortunately your ceremony will not be able to take place and you will have to rebook and incur rescheduling fees.

Chauffeured cars, taxis and buses can stop outside the building to drop off couples or guests, but we don’t have general parking available at the Town Hall, so we advise your guests to arrive by public transport.

All ceremony areas in the Town Hall can be accessed by ramps or lifts for step free access. If you or any of your guests have a disability, you will need to click here to complete a Personal Emergency Evacuation Form before the ceremony. Guide dogs and other trained assistance animals are welcomed, but pets are not permitted. Your animal should wear their vest to show that they are a trained assistance animal and not just your pet. We have limited special access parking spaces available on the Town Hall forecourt, and these need to be booked well in advance by emailing

The Canonbury Suite is an intimate room which can only hold:
• You and your partner
• Two adult witnesses
• The registrars
• One professional photographer (optional)

If you choose not to bring a professional photographer, you are not able to bring an additional guest. Children and babies cannot be accommodated in this room, as you can only bring two adult witnesses to your ceremony. Any additional guests will not be able to enter the building.

At the entrance of the building, our team will greet you and confirm the ceremony you are attending. We will show your guests to the Canonbury Suite and show you and your partner to a separate room/s for your pre-ceremony interview, depending on whether you want to see each other before the ceremony or not.

We aim to be able to give you access to the ceremony room 15 minutes before your scheduled ceremony start time. Your photographer will only be able to enter the room when it is ready, which may mean they are not able to enter the room before the guests.

If you choose to bring personal flowers for the table, you can bring them into the Canonbury Suite with you at this point. Our rooms are used for more than one ceremony a day, so we are unable to allow further decorating of the room or changing the layout for your ceremony.

Please see the seating plan below if this is useful to you:

For Saturday ceremonies, your registrars will be allocated a month before the ceremony, so once you have completed the form at the end of this page, please email us if you want to be put in touch with them, so you can arrange a time of mutual convenience to discuss your ceremony by phone.

If your ceremony is on a weekday, it will be conducted by one of our experienced registrars. We are unable to allocate a specific registrar as there are occasions where substitutions need to be made due to unforeseen circumstances on weekdays.

Please note that we do not offer a choice of registrar based on their personal characteristics.

Before the ceremony, you and your partner will need to check the details to go on the marriage or civil partnership certificate. Separately or together, our registrars will ask you the same questions you were asked when you gave notice, for example, your full name and date of birth etc. This is to make sure that the details on the legal record of your marriage/civil partnership are correct and up to date on the day of your ceremony. This takes 10-15 minutes and is why we ask you to arrive a little bit earlier than your ceremony start time.

We will then ask you to visually check the paperwork to make sure it is correct.

You do not need to bring any identification to this interview unless our team have specifically advised you to because of your individual circumstances.

Following the interview, we will bring you and your partner to the Canonbury Suite ready for your entrance. Please choose the entrance that suits you, whether you enter the room together, with your children or however you prefer.

The size of the door of the Canonbury Suite does not allow for two people walking side-by-side, and the distance to the couple’s chairs is very short, so we don’t recommend someone ‘walks you down the aisle’ although you are able to do this if you wish. If you are choosing to walk in with another person, please let our registrar know on the day who that person is, so that they can remain outside the room ready for your entrance.

Our team will ask the guests to stand, ask the guest in charge of the music to play in the entrance music, and open the door ready for your entrance.

Our registrars will welcome you and your guests, and begin the ceremony. The whole ceremony will need to be legally conducted by one of our registrars, though a friend or family member can read poems/readings.

You can have full personalisation of the ceremony (within legal parameters), with a choice of four ceremony scripts (or the option to write your own), up to three readings, personal vows, music and ring words.

Please click on the links below to see the ceremony scripts we use depending on the type of ceremony you have chosen:

If you are interested in writing a personalised ceremony, please see the links below to see the order and structure of a ceremony for you to use as a template:

Please note that the ceremony must contain the legal parts of the ceremony (the wording in bold in our ceremony scripts), and the wording must not be from a religious ceremony, religious texts, or contain religious messages.

We reserve the right to ask you to change the script if we feel it is not suitable for a civil ceremony.

The words you say do not need to be memorised as you will repeat them, a few at a time, after the registrar.

As civil partnership law is different from marriage law, there are no legal words you need to say, so if you would prefer to simply sign the paperwork with your witnesses you can.

The ceremony with no added personalisation takes around 20 minutes to complete, including the signing of the paperwork. If you are adding readings or personal vows, please allow 30-40 minutes for your ceremony.

If you wish to have pre-recorded music, please choose someone from your ceremony party to control the music, and bring a phone or tablet with the music on it. We advise that you download the music onto the device, rather than rely on streaming. The connection to the sound system is via Bluetooth. Our team will help your chosen guest to connect the device to our sound system.

You are not able to bring musicians to your ceremony due to the size of the room.

Unfortunately, we are unable to incorporate religious music (whether words or music) into a civil ceremony, which must be free of all religious connotations. If you would like a song that mentions God or heaven or similar, but you don’t think it is a religious song, you can submit it on the form below and we will check whether it is acceptable. For example, “Angels” by Robbie Williams and “I Say A Little Prayer” by Aretha Franklin are not considered religious songs although they mention angels and prayer.

We will contact you if you need to amend your music choices.

You can choose to include up to three readings which will be read by your guests, and/or personal vows to each other. Your reading/vows need to be kept to a 2000 character limit each to ensure ceremonies do not overrun.

Registrars can only perform civil ceremonies, which must be free of all religious connotations, which means that the “Song of Songs”, or St Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians (“Love is patient, love is kind” etc.) cannot be read at a civil ceremony. If you have a reading that mentions God or heaven or similar, but you don’t think it is a religious reading, you can submit it on the form below and we will check whether it is acceptable.

Similarly, personal vows must not have any religious connotation, or be taken from any religious ceremony. The words ‘to have and to hold, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love, cherish, and to obey, till death us do part’ are part of the Church of England marriage vows, and so you are not able to use them in a civil ceremony. You may like to consider different words for your personal vows with the same meaning, like ‘I promise to love, honour and care for you, to support you through good fortune and adversity, joy and sadness, as long as we both shall live’.

Other than religious content, which can’t be used, civil ceremonies must, by law, be ‘seemly and dignified’. This means that we reserve the right to ask you to change your reading or personal vows if we think they are unsuitable. It’s fine to include humour, but we will decline readings/vows containing adult language and/or topics. We will contact you if you need to replace or amend your reading/vows.

If you would like some more information on writing your own vows, please click here to see an article written by Elle, with advice from Islington Registrars, that may help you.

Even if your reading or personal vows are a secret or surprise, we still need you to submit them on the form below, rather than by any other method.

The exchanging of rings is a traditional part of a ceremony rather than a legal requirement. Some couples choose to exchange only one ring, some choose a different token personal to themselves, and others choose not to include this part of the ceremony at all.

You will need two witnesses who will sign to say they have witnessed the ceremony/signing. Our our staff are not able to act as witnesses.

The witnesses can be friends/family members, as long as they speak good English and are an adult. They do not have to bring any documents to the ceremony.

If either you or your partner requires an interpreter, that person must also act as one of your two witnesses.

At the end you will be announced as husband/wife and husband/wife, or as civil partners, and will sign the marriage or civil partnership schedule, the legal record of your union, with your witnesses.

Your guests will then be invited to congratulate you both as you leave the room together, and then they will follow you. You will then be able to take some photographs inside the Town Hall building if you choose. We don’t limit the amount of time you are able to have pictures, but we do ask that all couples are considerate of other couples who also want to take pictures, and be conscious of later ceremonies.

You can also have some photographs on the beautiful steps outside. We allow eco-friendly options like biodegradable confetti, rose petals, bubbles and sparklers outside the Town Hall, but not inside. Rice is not permitted as it poses health and safety risks with the stairs in inclement weather and attracts pigeons.

You are welcome to have a celebratory glass of champagne outside, just as long as you aren’t impeding the access of other ceremony parties.

While there is no parking on Upper Street outside the Town Hall, your booked transport (for example buses or taxis) will be allowed to stop there long enough for you and your guests to get on.

Ideally your transport should be there waiting for you as you all emerge from the Town Hall ready to whisk you away to your reception.

The details of your ceremony must be entered onto a computer system after the ceremony, so we can’t give you the certificate at the end of the ceremony.

You will be asked on your ceremony day if you want the certificate to be posted to you, or if you would prefer us to call you when it’s ready so you can collect it from our office.

Please allow up to three weeks to receive your marriage/civil partnership certificate after the ceremony.

Once you have read all the above information and made final decisions on your choices, please complete the form below:

Pre-Ceremony Organiser - Canonbury Suite (enhanced ceremony)

  • Your details

  • :

  • Who will be the two witnesses?

    The Canonbury Suite risk assessment states that it can accommodate a maximum of 2 guests who will be your witnesses.

  • Your choices

  • Please ignore this question if you have chosen a marriage; to be legally married you will need to have a ceremony.
  • If you want to combine several scripts or add some of your own wording to a script, please upload the full script as a Word document below

  • Max. file size: 24 MB.

  • Readings

    You can choose up to three readings for your ceremony, which will be read by one of your guests.

    If you do not wish to include readings in your marriage/civil partnership, please leave this section blank.

  • This reading will take place after the registrar's welcome
  • Please keep the length of your reading to a 2000 character limit.
  • This reading will take place in between the couple's two vows
  • Please keep the length of your reading to a 2000 character limit.
  • This reading will take place after the couple's vows
  • Please keep the length of your reading to a 2000 character limit.
  • Personal vows

    You can choose to add some personal vows to your ceremony in addition to the standard vows.

    If you do not wish to include personal vows in your marriage/civil partnership, please leave this section blank.

  • Music

    If you do not wish to include music in your marriage/civil partnership, please leave this section blank.

  • Approximately 15 minutes of music is ideal.
  • Approximately 1 minute of music is ideal.
  • Approximately 5 minutes of music is ideal.
  • Approximately 2 minutes of music is ideal.
  • They will be shown how to connect a phone or tablet to our music system.

  • How would you like to be declared at the end of the ceremony?

    Would you prefer the registrar to announce you to your guests as, for example 'Mr and Mr Smith' or 'John and Jane'?

  • Parents' details

    Up to four parents' details can be added to all marriage/civil partnership certificates unless you would prefer not to include these details. Please leave this section blank if this is the case.

    You can include biological, adoptive or step-parents.

    Partner 1's parents

  • Partner 2’s parents

  • Couples' confirmations

    We confirm:

    • We have read all of the information on this page before completing this form
    • We will not invite more than 2 guests and one photographer. We understand this is the maximum number of people allowed under the fire and health and safety risk assessment for this room. We understand there will be no exceptions to this rule for babies, children, extra photographers, translators or extra guests to enter the building under any circumstances
    • We will arrive 15 minutes before our marriage/civil partnership start time. We understand that if we arrive more than 10 minutes late, our ceremony will not take place and we will have to rebook and incur rescheduling fees
    • We have chosen music, readings and personal vows that are not religious in nature, such as hymns or readings from the Bible
    • We have listed all readings, music and personal vows we want to include (and have not written 'TBC' or similar)
    • We understand that we cannot make changes to the details on this form after submission for any reason other than sickness
    • We are submitting this form at least one month before our ceremony
    • We will comply with any other changes or procedures as required by registration staff, or government regulations to ensure safety

    Please tick these boxes to confirm you have read these points and you agree to them:

  • By entering your email address below you consent to Say I Do Islington storing your data given in this form in order to process your request and for us to contact you as required via email. Say I Do Islington will continue to hold and process your data in line with our privacy policy available here.