Please find below our most frequently asked questions about ceremonies at the moment, taking into account government advice, public health advice, registration law, and Islington Council policies.

This information was updated on 21 June 2021, but may change later, due to the uncertain circumstances. We will be reviewing all safety measures over time.

The questions are divided into the following categories:

  • Covid-19 information
  • Giving notice
  • Holding your ceremony outdoors
  • The Marriage Schedule System
  • Planning the day
  • On the day
  • The ceremony
  • After the ceremony
  • Further information

If you have a question that is not on this list, please email registrars@islington.gov.uk and we will try our best to answer it. Please note that our emails are much busier than usual, so we appreciate your patience in awaiting a response.

Covid-19 information

In Step 3, couples and guests will be asked to:

  • Postpone the ceremony if you or your guests have any of the symptoms of coronavirus (please visit the NHS website by clicking here to check). You will be asked to reschedule your ceremony if you or your guests appear to be unwell.
  • Postpone your ceremony if you or your guests have recently returned from abroad and not quarantined in line with government guidance. Please click here to visit the government website with the current requirements
  • Limit guest numbers to the maximum number of people allowed under the Covid-secure risk assessment for the room/venue you have chosen . We apologise, but there will be no exceptions to this rule for babies, children, extra photographers, extra musicians, translators or extra guests to enter the venue under any circumstances
  • Arrive 15 minutes before your marriage/civil partnership start time. Consideration needs to be given to the cleaning of ceremony rooms between events. Should you arrive more than 10 minutes late, your ceremony will not take place and you will have to rebook and may incur rescheduling fees
  • Check into the building on arrival with the NHS track and trace app
  • Inform guests that face coverings are required to be worn at all times by all guests whilst inside the building. Guests will not be able to enter the Town Hall without a face covering unless they have a medical exemption, or are under 11 years old. Please see the government’s advice on face coverings and exemptions by clicking here
  • Wear face coverings whilst moving around the venue, unless you have a medical exemption, but couples are not are not required to wear them during the ceremony
  • Maintain 2m social distance from our staff and anyone outside your marriage/civil partnership party
  • Limit photography time inside the building to ten minutes after the ceremony. Registrars will not be able to take pictures using your phones or cameras to avoid virus transfer
  • Not make changes to the guest list or other details for any reason other than sickness or quarantine requirements
  • Comply with any other changes or procedures as required by our office, or government regulations to ensure safety

At this time we don’t know what the government will advise for ceremonies in Step 4 or beyond, as they haven’t yet published this information.

Further information will be sent regarding your specific ceremony a few weeks before the date, or as soon as we we have the latest safety recommendations.

  • Our ceremony times are staggered and the number of ceremonies held have been reduced
  • Occupancy limits for staff and visitors have been implemented, including restricting access to only essential visitors, such as people attending ceremonies or registering births

This will ensure less contact between parties and lower numbers of people within the Town Hall itself.

In addition to this:

  • The ceremony rooms will be cleaned in between ceremonies
  • There will be floor markers and guidance within the Town Hall to aid social distancing
  • The registrars will provide hand sanitiser to be used by you and your witnesses when signing the paperwork

The government has said: ‘Face coverings will be required in places of worship. This applies to guests at weddings 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.’

The ceremony couple must wear face coverings whilst moving around the venue, unless they have a medical exemption, but are not required to wear them during the ceremony.

Guests must wear face coverings at all times whilst inside the building, including during the ceremony.

You can see the government’s advice on face coverings and exemptions by clicking here.

Please advise your guests of this, as they will not be able to enter the Town Hall or any other ceremony venue without a face covering unless they have a medical exemption, or are under 11 years old, effective from 8th August 2020 until further notice.

The government have stated:

‘At Step 3, the guidance on meeting friends and family will change, with a greater emphasis on personal responsibility. Instead of instructing people to stay 2 metres apart away from anyone they do not live with, people will be encouraged to exercise caution and consider the guidance on risks associated with COVID-19 and actions to take to help keep friends and family safe.

You should always make space for other people to keep their distance if they want to.’

At our ceremonies, we ask you to ensure your party maintains 2m social distance from our staff and other users of the venue.

In line with government advice, it is now no longer a requirement to maintain 2m social distance to others in your ceremony party, but instead you are asked to take personal responsibility for your party’s safety during your celebrations.

In the Town Hall, guests will now be able to choose where they sit in the ceremony rooms, and with whom. As recommended by government guidance, our seating still provides you with the ability to maintain social distance from other households or bubbles if you choose.

If your ceremony is at any other venue, please consult with them about their Covid-safe risk assessment and how many guests may be possible.

The government have stated: ‘From 21 June the maximum number of attendees at a wedding, civil partnership ceremony, reception or celebration held in a COVID-secure venue… will be determined by how many people (including children) a venue can safely accommodate with social distancing measures in place…. As part of the duty on venue managers and organisers to limit health and safety risks, a safe capacity for the venue should be established. This number should enable members of staff, anyone conducting or supporting the event, and customers or guests (including children) to be socially distanced within the venue. Space in communal areas like waiting areas and corridors should be considered when setting the safe maximum number of attendees.’

Following this advice, and the risk assessments we have undertaken, the numbers of guests that can safely be invited to ceremonies at the Town Hall are:

Step 3 (between 21 June and 18 July at the earliest):

  • Assembly Hall- 90 guests*
  • The Council Chamber- 42 guests*
  • Room 99- 8 guests*

Step 4:

  • Assembly Hall- 90 guests*
  • The Council Chamber- 50 guests*
  • Room 99- 10 guests*

* This number includes the witnesses/guests of any age, including children and babies and musicians. The couple, registrars, and one professional photographer do not count toward this number.

There are no changes to the capacity of the Statutory Room, which can only hold the couple, two witnesses and two registrars at any time.

For any other venue:

There are no limits on guest numbers from 21 June 2021, although the size of the ceremony room and the venue’s risk assessments will determine the size of the ceremony. Please contact your venue for confirmation of guest numbers.

* This number includes the witnesses/guests of any age, including children and babies. The couple, registrars, or anyone working at the ceremony do not count toward this number.

No, you do not need to include the registrars in this total as the government have stated that people working at the ceremony should not be counted as part of the ‘ceremony party’.

Yes, all babies and children should be counted as guests.

In the Council Chamber, you are able to invite up to 6 live musicians, but they do need to be included in your guest numbers, following the terms of our risk assessment.

Live musicians can’t be accommodated in Room 99, and recorded music is not used in Room 99 on weekdays, as these ceremonies are short and simple.

If your ceremony is at another venue, please speak to the staff there about what is possible under their risk assessment.

The government have stated: ‘From 21 June the maximum number of attendees at a wedding, civil partnership ceremony, reception or celebration held in a COVID-secure venue… will be determined by how many people (including children) a venue can safely accommodate with social distancing measures in place…. As part of the duty on venue managers and organisers to limit health and safety risks, a safe capacity for the venue should be established. This number should enable members of staff, anyone conducting or supporting the event, and customers or guests (including children) to be socially distanced within the venue. Space in communal areas like waiting areas and corridors should be considered when setting the safe maximum number of attendees.’

So, while guests are no longer limited to specific numbers, the number of guests who can be safely accommodated in a particular room will vary, depending on the factors above and the findings of the risk assessment, as per government advice.

As we enter Step 4, we will review the numbers again that can safely use the room, based on updated advice from the government given at that time.

Unfortunately not.

The risk assessments have been completed based on a photographer standing at the front of the room with no chair provided.

This is why you can have a photographer in addition to the maximum number of guests, but you are not able to have an extra guest if you choose not to hire a photographer.

 

Unfortunately, we are not able to conduct an individual risk assessment or seating plan for each ceremony party at the Town Hall, so all ceremonies are asked to keep their guest numbers to the limit for their specific date.

When we enter Step 4, we will increase our room capacities to:

  • The Council Chamber- 50 guests*
  • Room 99- 10 guests*

* This number includes the witnesses/guests of any age, including children and babies and musicians. The couple, registrars, and one professional photographer do not count toward this number.

Once we are in Step 4, we will complete a new risk assessment to see if more guests can be safely accommodated, based on the government recommendations at that time.

At this time we are unable to confirm if and when the guest numbers will be able to increase beyond these numbers again.

The government has stated that no legal guest number restrictions are in place from 21 June 2021, but due to the uses and layout of the Town Hall, Islington Council has its own restrictions on numbers of people able to enter and use the Town Hall until further notice.

Covid-19 will still be present in the population in Step 4, and the safety of our staff, our customers, and our community is our highest priority.

At this time, the Mayor’s Parlour cannot be used due to its size, and the Richmond Room cannot be used as it cannot be accessed in a covid-secure way.

Existing booked ceremonies have been asked to move into a different room.

At this time we do not know when these rooms will be able to be used again, so we are not making new bookings for these rooms.

The government has stated that no legal guest number restrictions are in place from 21 June 2021, but due to the uses and layout of the Town Hall, Islington Council has its own restrictions on numbers of people able to enter and use the Town Hall until further notice.

Like the Richmond Room, the Council Chamber balcony cannot be used until further notice as it cannot be accessed in a covid-secure way.

When we enter Step 4, a new risk assessment will be completed, and if the balcony can be used safely, we will advise couples accordingly.

The government advice is that ‘the number of attendees should ideally be kept to a minimum as far as possible. The lower the number of attendees, the lower the risk of spreading the virus.’

Therefore, we cannot recommend that additional people meet you outside the building.

No, but you will be able to postpone the ceremony to a later date when more guests may be possible again, for the usual rescheduling fee.

Yes, if larger guest numbers are permitted in that room at the time of the ceremony, and we have a larger room available on the date you would like. The fee for the larger room and the usual rescheduling fee would need to be paid, but any payment you have already made for your date will be transferred to the new booking.

If you would like to enquire about moving to a larger room, please email registrars@islington.gov.uk.

Due to extra cleaning between ceremonies, guests, photographers will only be able to enter the room when the room is clean and the ceremony is ready to start.

A member of staff will show the ceremony party into the room at the right time.

The government have stated that from 21 June 2021 ‘It’s advised that ceremonies and services should be concluded in a reasonable time’ so some ceremony personalisation is possible, and couples will be able to choose to add a reading or personal vows (in ceremonies that would have allowed personalisation pre-covid- meaning Council Chamber, Room 99 Saturday ceremonies or other venues).

Please note that we are still unable to offer full personalisation or meeting with the registrar at this time.

 

In line with government advice, it is now no longer a requirement to maintain 2m social distance to others in your ceremony party, but instead you are asked to take personal responsibility for your party’s safety during your celebrations.

You are able to have a friend or family member ‘walk you down the aisle’ in the Council Chamber if you choose, but please note you and your partner will need to be interviewed together before the ceremony, so you can’t be ‘hidden’ before your entrance.

Please make sure the person walking with you makes themselves known to our staff on the day, so we can ensure they are in the right place, ready to walk you in.

Walk-ins are not available in Room 99 ceremonies, due to the shorter timeslots for these ceremonies.

You can see the simple ceremony script we will use by clicking on the links below:

Simple marriage script

Simple civil partnership script

We are unable to confirm which registrar will be conducting ceremonies, as this is subject to change during this busy time.

As our staff are working from home where possible, or conducting ceremonies or appointments, we are currently unable to offer calls to discuss the ceremony or meetings between registrars and couples.

Yes, we are now able to make new bookings. As register offices are extremely busy with increased numbers of notices to be given by couples this summer, please make sure you have booked a notice appointment before you book a ceremony in 2021.

Please click on the ‘Book now’ button at the top of the page.

Please be aware that we have rebooked around 2000 ceremonies in the last year so we may be more limited than usual in our availability. All available dates and times are online, and we aren’t able to make any more available.

Giving notice

After you have booked your ceremony, you are both legally required to give a Notice of Marriage or Civil Partnership, in person, at a Register Office.

This means making an appointment to see a registrar to show them proof of your identity, address and that you are free to marry/form a civil partnership, and fill out some paperwork. This can be done up to a year in advance, but must be done at least one month before the ceremony.

The information will be placed on a noticeboard at the Register Office for 28 clear days for anyone to make any legal objections. If there are none, the legal paperwork will be issued to the Register Office who will be conducting your ceremony.

It is very important that you give the correct notice for the type of ceremony you are planning, as legally this cannot be changed at a later date. For example; if a couple gives notice for a marriage but then decides they would prefer a civil partnership, they would need to pay to give a new notice; provide their documents again, and wait another month.

If you are both British or Irish nationals, or have pre-settled or settled status, or a pending application for pre-settled or settled status made before 30 June 2021,  you will do this in the Register Office for the council area each of you live in, even if that is not the one you are having your ceremony in.

If either if you are not any of the above, you will do this together in the Register Office for the council area at least one of you lives in, even if that is not the one you are having your ceremony in.

Only residents of the London Borough of Islington on the City of London (the ‘square mile’) should come to Islington Register Office for their notice.

Please see our notice booking page for full details on giving notice, and book an appointment if you live in the London Borough of Islington on the City of London (the ‘square mile’).

Most people need to bring passports and recent proof of address like a bank statement or utility bill.

If you have been married or in a civil partnership before, you will need to show proof that that union has ended. This could be a death certificate, decree absolute or final dissolution of civil partnership document.

This is a brief outline, so please see our notice booking page for the full details.

Marriage and civil partnership law requires an in-person, face-to-face interview with a registrar to give notice, and so notice cannot be given by proxy, in writing, by video call, online or by any other method.

Register Offices all over the country will be very busy taking notices this spring and summer for couples that were not able to give notice prior to lockdown.

We advise you to make a notice appointment before booking your ceremony, but if you have already booked the ceremony, our advice is to email or call your local office and explain the situation and see if you can be prioritised.

If you live in Islington or City of London, please email registrars@islington.gov.uk, attaching a copy of the booking confirmation for your ceremony and your details and we do our best to arrange for you to give notice as soon as possible.

If you are not able to give notice in time for your ceremony, you will need to unfortunately reschedule your ceremony.

Sadly, no. The notice of marriage or civil partnership is a statutory legal requirement by the General Register Office, which is out of the local authorities’ control. Notices last one year from the date of the appointment at the Register Office.

If your notice of marriage or civil partnership expires before your new date, a new notice will have to be given.

If you live in Islington or City of London (the ‘square mile’), and your original booking for a ceremony date was for a period of national or local lockdown, we will waive the fee if you have already given notice with us once for the same venue.

If you live in a different borough, you will need to check what their policy is on this.

No, unfortunately, the notice that you have given is for your original location and it cannot legally be moved to another location.

A new notice will have to be given.

No, we will only contact you if there is a legal objection or another problem with your notice.

Holding your ceremony outdoors

You may have seen on the news recently that the government will be trialling outdoor ceremonies this summer for licenced venues. This means that from 1 July 2021, until April next year, marriages and civil partnerships could take place fully outdoors or under a partially covered structure within the grounds of approved premises.

However, we do not yet have the full details from the General Register Office on the rules or requirements, or exactly what venues will need to supply for us to approve them for outside weddings, so we are not able to give you any more information on this at this time.

We will update this page as soon as we have more information.

Unfortunately, Islington Town Hall does not have suitable outdoor space for ceremonies to take place in, so we will not be able to offer this option.

The Marriage Schedule System

The government have made legal changes to the way marriages and civil partnerships are recorded, and on 4 May 2021, the Marriage Schedule System legislation was brought in.

The way marriages are recorded has barely been updated since 1837, and the government have changed the legislation to make the recording of marriages a more modern system.

There are also slight changes to the civil partnership process, so that the two systems are more similar.

This means there will be some slight differences to the information you are asked for when you give notice, and slight differences to the process on the ceremony date.

If you are having a marriage, the changes are:

  • Instead of signing a marriage register, you will sign a marriage schedule, an A4 document which records the information about you in a slightly different layout
  • After the ceremony, the details from the schedule will be entered into our national computer system, which means marriage certificates won’t be produced on the day of the ceremony, but will be posted to you or collected at a later date
  • The marriage schedule has space for up to four parents’ details, instead of just one space for the details of your father. You can include biological, adoptive, or step-parents, and their names and occupations can be listed on the schedule in the order you choose. This information is not compulsory, and the details of your parents can be left blank if you prefer

If you are having a civil partnership, the only change is:

  • The updated civil partnership schedule has space for up to four parents’ details, instead of just space for the details of your father and mother. You can include biological, adoptive, or step-parents, and their names and occupations can be listed on the schedule in the order you choose. This information is not compulsory, and the details of your parents can be left blank if you prefer.

When you give notice of marriage or civil partnership, you will be asked to give the names and occupations of up to four parents’ details.

You can include biological, adoptive, or step-parents, and their names and occupations will be listed on the marriage schedule in the order you choose. Even if your parents have passed away or retired, their names and former occupations can be recorded.

This information is not compulsory, and the details of your parents can be left blank if you prefer.

Asking for this information at the point of giving notice will help the registrar on the ceremony day to quickly check your details are correct.

For couples that have already given notice, the information about your parents can be recorded on the date of the ceremony.

We will also ask you for your parents’ details on the pre-ceremony organiser we will ask you to complete a few weeks before the ceremony.

It is a good idea to think now about which parents you would like to record on your marriage schedule.

We will ask their full names, occupation and which order you would like them to appear on the schedule, so please have this information to hand when you give notice or complete your pre-ceremony organiser.

Even if your parents have passed away or retired, their names and former occupations can be recorded.

There are some changes to the civil partnership system that have been brought in under the Marriage Schedule System legislation, to make the two systems as similar as possible:

When you give notice of civil partnership, you will be asked to give the names and occupations of up to four parents’ details, instead of just the details of your father and mother.

You can include biological, adoptive, or step-parents, and their names and occupations will be listed on the civil partnership schedule in the order you choose. Even if your parents have passed away or retired, their names and former occupations can be recorded.

This information is not compulsory, and the details of your parents can be left blank if you prefer.

Asking for this information at the point of giving notice will help the registrar on the ceremony day to quickly check your details are correct.

For couples that have already given notice, the information about your parents can be recorded on the date of the ceremony.

Sadly, no.

The Marriage Schedule System legislation came into effect on 4 May 2021, and only applies to ceremonies conducted on or after this date.

The law cannot be backdated to add extra parents to records prior to 4 May 2021.

Planning the day

At this time, the Town Hall has strict occupancy limits, and is only open for booked appointments to access essential services, like registering a birth, giving notice for a marriage or civil partnership, or for small ceremonies to take place.

This means we are unable to allow any additional people into the building at the moment to view the ceremony rooms. We apologise, but we expect this to be the case until all restrictions are lifted.

 

A marriage in England and Wales can be between same-sex or opposite-sex couples. Marriages can be civil or religious (although most religions don’t offer same-sex marriages). At the Town Hall and our licenced venues, we perform only civil marriages which means no religious content can be incorporated. As marriage is a verbal contract, therefore you must say prescribed words to be legally married. After a marriage ceremony you will be declared to be husband and wife, husband and husband, or wife and wife. Your legal status will be ‘married’.

A civil partnership in England and Wales can also be between same-sex or opposite-sex couples. Again, no religious content can be included. Civil partnership is a written contract, which means you do not have to make legal vows to each other, you can just sign the paperwork with your witnesses if you prefer, although we always offer our couples the choice of a ceremony or a simple signing. After a civil partnership ceremony, you will be declared to be civil partners in law. Your legal status will be ‘civil partner’. A civil partnership between same-sex couples can be converted into a marriage at a later date if the couple choose to do so.

The legal preliminaries to marriage and civil partnership (giving notice) are the same, as are the fees for each ceremony.

Couples are advised to complete further research before booking a ceremony, particularly if either party is a national of another country or you are planning to live abroad, as there may be differences in how a marriage and a civil partnership are recognised in other countries.

If you would like more information on the differences between a marriage and a civil partnership, please visit gov.uk for the government’s advice.

In 2020, the law was expected to change to allow opposite-sex couples to convert their marriage into a civil partnership should they choose to. When we have further information about the implementation of marriage conversions, we will update this page.

‘Civil ceremony’ is a term we use to make it clear that the ceremony has no religious content. The term covers both marriages and civil partnerships.

No! You can choose any licenced building in England or Wales. A licenced venue can be any non-religious building that has applied for and been granted a licence to hold civil ceremonies on its premises, such as a hotel or restaurant.

Please click here to visit the pages for each available room.

If you are having your ceremony at Islington Town Hall, the cost includes the use of the room, the registrars’ attendance and one marriage or civil partnership certificate.

If you are having your ceremony at a licenced ceremony venue, the cost includes the registrars’ attendance and one marriage or civil partnership certificate. You will need to book the ceremony venue directly with their staff.

You can bring a bouquet of flowers, but at this time, we are not able to allow floral displays or any large items to be brought into the Town Hall.

Our rooms all have built-in air conditioning.

There is a ramp to the Town Hall and lifts to all levels, as well as accessible bathrooms.

We have limited special access parking spaces available on the Town Hall forecourt, and these need to be booked well in advance by emailing securitytownhall@islington.gov.uk

If you or any of your guests have a disability, please click here to complete a personal emergency evacuation plan form so we can ensure safety on your ceremony day.

A few weeks before the ceremony, or when the government advice that relates to your date is clear, we will email you with a link to a form we will ask you to complete.

This will give you all the up to date information about the safety restrictions that will apply to your ceremony, as well as asking for information we need for the ceremony, such as whether you are giving rings and your guests’ names.

It is very important that you complete this form by the deadline we give you so that we know you are aware of the safety procedures in place. We are not able to send you the form any earlier than we do because government advice may change before your ceremony date.

On the day

Please both arrive with your guests 15 minutes before the ceremony start time. It is extremely important that you are all on time, as priority must be given to cleaning the room between ceremonies.

We aim to arrive half an hour before the booked ceremony start time. We find that this is early enough to make sure that the ceremony can begin at the booked time.

You will be asked to check into the building using the NHS contact and trace app.

Our staff will show your guests to the ceremony room, and show you and your partner to another room together to check the details to go on the marriage or civil partnership certificate. You do not need to bring any identification to this interview, unless our staff have advised you to bring documents for a specific reason.

You will then enter the ceremony room and the ceremony will begin. The simple ceremony takes around 10-20 minutes to complete, including the signing of the paperwork.

You will then be able to take some photographs inside the Town Hall building (although accessible areas have been limited to ensure ceremony parties do not meet) for 10 minutes, and then you will be able to continue your celebrations elsewhere as planned.

Our experienced and dedicated registrars will help to make sure your day is as much of a special occasion as possible despite the safety measures in place.

You do not need to bring any identification to this interview, unless our staff have advised you to bring documents for a specific reason.

There are some details that could change such as your address and occupation. If these details change before the day of your ceremony, there is nothing you need to do. You do not need to bring any documents to support those changes; you just need to confirm them with the registrar at the pre-ceremony interview.

If anything else changes, like your name, please email us at registrars@islington.gov.uk as soon as possible to discuss what is required.

The simple ceremony will take about 10-20 minutes.

You should always sign the schedule in the name you are using at the time. If you are planning to change your name after the ceremony, you could consider this to be the last time you sign in your old name.

The details of your ceremony must be entered onto a computer system after the ceremony and so the certificate will not be available until the next working day, when it will be posted to you.

The fee you pay for the ceremony includes one certificate, but you are welcome to order as many as you need online on our website after the ceremony.

Please click here to visit the webpage where you can order extra copies of your certificate.

The ceremony

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.

Many couples like to have a ceremony and make promises to each other as a public pledge of their love and commitment, even though it is not a legal requirement. You will need to book a ceremony room and timeslot for the civil partnership paperwork to be done whether you are choosing to have a ceremony or not.

While this could be a fun thought, the only animals permitted in the Town Hall are guide dogs and other assistance animals. Your animal should wear their vest to show that they are a trained assistance animal and not just your pet. If your animal does not have a vest, please bring the paperwork to show that they are a trained assistance animal.

If you are having your ceremony in a licenced premise like a hotel or restaurant, you will need to check with the venue if they permit pets.

That is fine. Although we would encourage you to celebrate both ceremony days in these circumstances, you can choose the most simple options for your ceremony on the form we ask you to complete a few weeks before.

Yes. You will need to bring your own laptop or camera and use your own internet supply, and our staff will show where the cameraperson can stand to film while remaining at a safe distance from the registrars.

We will need to begin the ceremony on time, so please ask your guests to be ready and familiar with their equipment.

You can see the simple ceremony script we will use by clicking on the links below:

Simple marriage script

Simple civil partnership script

 

During the marriage ceremony you will make two legal declarations before your witnesses, guests and the registrars. You will declare your freedom to marry one another, and then accept one another as husband or wife.

For civil partnership couples the words themselves are not legally binding, but will be verbal promises made to each other.

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

Not at all. 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.

If you wish to have recorded music, please choose someone from your ceremony party to control the music from a phone or tablet. Our staff will show them where to plug the device into our sound system.

In the Council Chamber, you are able to invite up to 6 live musicians, but they do need to be included in your guest numbers, following the terms of our risk assessment.

If you wish to have live musicians playing, please note that they will not be able to access the room earlier than your guests.

No singing or instruments that need to be blown will be possible in Step 3.

Live musicians can’t be accommodated in Room 99, and recorded music is not possible in Room 99 on weekdays, where ceremonies are very short and simple.

If your ceremony is at another venue, please speak to the staff there about what is possible under their risk assessment.

Please bring a phone or tablet with the music on it, and our staff will help you plug it into our sound system.

The connection to the sound system is a standard headphone jack, but we do have adapters in the rooms so that Iphones/Ipads can be used as well.

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, please email us and ask. 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.

There are also some popular pieces of music such as Wagner’s “The Wedding March” from Lohengrin (more popularly referred to as “Here Comes the Bride”) which was written for an opera and would be acceptable, as would be Mendelssohn’s “Wedding March”.

The music for Schubert’s “Ave Maria” (without the words) is acceptable as the music was not written for the Latin prayer.

Ceremonies in the Council Chamber, Room 99 (on Saturdays only) or at other venues will be able to add either one reading or personal vows to their ceremony.

Please note that readings and vows must not be from religious texts, or contain religious messages.

Registrars can only perform civil ceremonies, which must be free of all religious connotations, so unfortunately not. This 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, please submit it to us and we will check whether it is acceptable. For example, the poem “Aedh Wishes for the Cloths of Heaven” by William Butler Yeats would be acceptable as it is not religious in content.

Some other examples which would be acceptable although they have reference to God would be “How Do I Love Thee” by Elizabeth Barrett Browning (“Sonnets from the Portuguese”) and “Howard’s End” by E M Forster. The extract on marriage from “The Prophet” by Khalil Gibran (a philosophical / spiritual work but perhaps not specifically a religious one) is acceptable, but other passages may not be.

To reduce contact points, at this time it is only possible to include a maximum of two witnesses per ceremony.

Yes, they can be anyone you like, as long as they speak good English and are an adult.

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

You need to bring your own witnesses as we do not have the staff levels to supply them.

At the end you will be announced as husband/wife and husband/wife, or as civil partners.

Your guests will be invited to stand and congratulate you both as you walk out of the room together, and then they will follow you.

After the ceremony

We know it’s all a bit overwhelming by the time you come to actually sign the marriage or civil partnership schedule, but it is extremely important that all the information recorded in the entry is correct. Your registrar will direct you to check everything before you put pen to paper, and please use those moments to double check your details.

It is your responsibility to make sure all is right before you sign. If you spot anything that is wrong tell the registrar straight away and they can amend it for you. It is very difficult to correct the registration after the event.

Please be aware that any errors in the information given will cost £90.00 to amend after you have signed to say the details are correct.

Yes, you will be able to take some photographs inside the Town Hall building after the ceremony (although accessible areas have been limited to ensure ceremony parties do not meet) for 10 minutes. The ushers and registrars will advise you on the areas you can access during this time, depending on other ceremonies that are taking place.

You can also have some photographs on the steps outside.

We do not permit anything messy, potentially damaging, or on fire! You are welcome to have these things outside of the building, as long as it is legal to do so. If you have something in mind that is unusual but not messy/hazardous/on fire, please ask us beforehand if it will be possible.

Due to Covid-19, we ask you not to blow bubbles while in or around the Town Hall.

We also only permit the use of eco-friendly options like biodegradable confetti at the Town Hall. Rice is not permitted as it poses health and safety risks with the stairs in inclement weather and attracts pigeons.

If you are having your ceremony in a licenced venue, it will be up to the venue whether they permit any of these things.

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

At the moment, most ceremonies will take about 20-30 minutes from start to finish, including photographs.

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.

There is no legal requirement in this country to change your name after your ceremony. This is a personal choice and not everyone wishes to do so.

If you do choose to change your name, your marriage or civil partnership certificate is evidence of the name change and no further legal processes need to be followed- just show your certificate to the bank etc. where you want to change your name.

In England and Wales, your name will appear on the certificate as it was before the marriage/civil partnership. It is not possible to record your married name on the certificate in this country.

If you are nationals of another country, then we suggest you contact your consulate or embassy to find out what the legal requirements are in your country.

If you would like to honeymoon in your new name, your passport can be changed up to three months before the ceremony, as long as you have given notice. Please visit this page to complete the required form and post it to the Town Hall to be signed by the Superintendent Registrar, before submitting it to the Passport Office.

Please note that your new passport will only be valid from the date of the ceremony.

Yes, it is a legal requirement to re-register the birth of your children after you get married or form a civil partnership, if the children were born in England or Wales.

This means that the birth certificate will be updated to show that you are now married or in a civil partnership. The child’s surname can also be changed at this point if you choose.

Please visit the gov.uk website page to download the application form after your ceremony.

If your child was born in Islington or City of London, please visit the council website for information on reregistering.

If your child was born elsewhere, please contact the register office for that area, who will advise you on re-registering the child/ren.

Further information

This website will be updated as things change, but you can find other information about our service provision by visiting:

https://www.islington.gov.uk/birth-death-marriage-and-citizenship/marriage-and-civil-partnerships – for information about notice appointments

www.instagram.com/sayidoislington/ – our ceremonies Instagram