Flowers at Searcys

This page covers information that may help you decide if a ceremony at a licenced venue is right for you.

After booking your ceremony, we will send you a confirmation email with a link to give you specific information to help you plan your day.

A licenced venue is a venue that has applied for, and been granted, a licence to hold civil marriages and civil partnerships on its premises, for example, a hotel, museum or livery hall.

At a licenced venue, you book the venue to hold your ceremony, and then book the local registrars to come and conduct the ceremony. We are the local registrars for any venue in the borough of Islington of the City of London (the ‘square mile’)

You can see a list of the licenced venues in Islington and City of London by clicking here.

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.

If you are seeing each other before the start of the ceremony, please both arrive/ be ready for interview at least 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 around 20 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.

It is important that you are on time, as the registrars may have other ceremonies to attend after yours.

It will be up to your venue whether they permit pets. Our staff are happy to conduct ceremonies where well-behaved pets are present.

Ceremonies at licenced venues can add the following personalisation:

  • A choice of ceremony scripts or the choice to write your own script (meeting legal criteria)
  • Up to three readings
  • Personal vows in addition to the legal vows
  • Personal ring words
  • Separate entrances to the ceremony room
  • Separate interviews before the ceremony (so you don’t need to see your partner before the ceremony starts)
  • Music at certain points of the ceremony
  • The opportunity to speak to your own registrar by phone a month before the ceremony (weekend ceremonies only)

You will be emailed a link to a page with a form to fill in at least a month before your ceremony, where you can list the choices you have made.

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

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.

On the form we send you at least a month before the ceremony, you can let us know whether you would prefer a ceremony or a signing.

The whole ceremony will need to be legally conducted by one of our registrars, though your friends and family can read poems etc.

Marriage and civil partnership law states that you can’t have drinks in the room until the ceremony has finished and the registrars have left, so if the venue has a licence and permits it, they can serve drinks once the registrars have left.

In our experience, there is no need for a rehearsal, and we do not offer rehearsals at Islington and London City.