This page covers planning your ceremony itself.

You can find answers to questions about arrival, departure and time spent at the Town Hall (apart from during the ceremony) by visiting this page.

Photo credit: Joasis Photography

Please find below our most frequently asked questions about Room 99 and Canonbury Suite Saturday standard ceremonies

If you have a question which is not on this list, please email and we will try our best to answer it.

Standard ceremonies in Room 99 and the Canonbury Suite are shorter, simple ceremony timeslots, offered for couples who would prefer this kind of ceremony.

There is no facility to conduct separate interviews in these rooms as standard, and if you do not wish to see each other prior to the ceremony, or if you want to fully personalise your ceremony, you will need to book one of our other rooms.

Alternatively, it may be possible for you to pay an additional fee to extend your ceremony on a Friday or Saturday to include full personalisation including separate interviews, depending on the ceremonies booked after yours. The additional fee will be the cost of another ceremony slot on the date you have chosen. If you are interested in this option, please email to enquire about making an enhanced ceremony booking, or amending your existing booking to an enhanced ceremony. Friday and Saturday enhanced ceremonies can only be booked by email request, not online.

We are not able to offer ceremony co-ordination meetings for any standard ceremonies in Room 99 or the Canonbury Suite.

You can see the ceremony scripts we will use by clicking on the links below, but please note that some registrars may amend the script slightly:

You can choose to add the following personalisation to your ceremony:

  • a partner entrance
  • a non-religious reading or personal vows in addition to the legal vows

No coordination meeting with the registrar, extra readings, live music or other personalisation can be accommodated, other than the exchange of rings.

You will be emailed a link to a page with a form to fill in at least a month before your ceremony, which will go through the details for your specific date, and you can list the choices you have made.

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.

You will be emailed a link to a page with a form to fill in at least a month before your ceremony, which will go through the details for your specific date, and you can list the choice you have made.

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.

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.

If you wish to ‘make an entrance’ please note that you both need to be seen together for interview just before your marriage/civil partnership. After the interview you will be accompanied to the room ready for your entrance.

The size of the door of Room 99 and the Canonbury Suite do 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 the registrar know on the day who that person is, so that they can remain outside the room ready for your entrance.

You are able to add pre-recorded music to your ceremony.

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 staff will help you connect the device to our sound system.

You are not able to invite live musicians to a simple Saturday Room 99 or Canonbury Suite ceremony; only an enhanced ceremony.

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.

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 email 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.

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 the reading if we think it is unsuitable.

It’s fine to have a funny or irreverent reading or poem, but we will decline readings containing adult language and/or topics.

If you have a reading that you think is a bit close to the line, please email it to us and we will check whether it is acceptable, or whether it is more suitable for your reception.

You may wish to incorporate your own personal and heartfelt words into your ceremony. This is your opportunity to write a few sentences that encompass your feelings for each other, or make promises to each other in addition to the legal promises.

You can choose to memorise them or have them written down. Your sentiments must not have any religious connotation, or be taken from any religious ceremony.

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.

Although these may seem like standard traditional marriage vows, they are, in fact, part of the Church of England marriage vows, and so we 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’.

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.

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.