Ceremony terms and conditions

When a couple ('you or your') book a marriage or civil partnership ceremony with us, acting as the Lincolnshire Registration Service ('we, us, our'), the following terms and conditions apply.

1) Marriage and civil partnership ceremonies

1.1 For the ceremony to take place, no legal impediment to the marriage or civil partnership can exist. All required documentation must have been received by us, and approved by us, prior to the ceremony. This comprises:

  • The legal preliminaries must be completed within the statutory time limits. This is known as 'giving notice' and you have to provide specific information to the Superintendent registrar (or their representative) before the marriage or civil partnership schedule can be issued and the marriage or civil partnership can proceed. Such notice should ideally be given at least three months before the ceremony date.
  • Any foreign divorce or dissolution papers must have been accepted by the registrar general, where applicable.
  • Non-UK passport holders entering the UK to have a marriage or civil partnership ceremony must have the correct visa in place prior to the ceremony.

1.2 You will need to provide two witnesses who are over the age of 16 and fluent in English to witness the marriage or civil partnership. Please note our staff cannot act as witnesses.

1.3 Both parties to the marriage or civil partnership must meet with the registrars at the ceremony venue before the ceremony start time. In the event of late arrival by both or either of the couple, Your ceremony will not be able to extend over the time at which your ceremony booking was scheduled to finish. As a result, the length and content of your ceremony may be reduced.

1.4 It is an offence under section 25(1) of the Immigration Act 1971 to enter into a marriage to help facilitate a stay in the United Kingdom. If your ceremony with us, does not go ahead due to a UK Visa and immigration intervention, we shall not be liable to you or any third party for any losses incurred as a result of such intervention.

1.5 If it is alleged that a legal impediment to a marriage or civil partnership exists, We have a legal duty to investigate before the ceremony can take place. We shall not be liable for any resulting delay, postponement, cancellation of your ceremony and, or any losses that may be incurred. It is a legal requirement that the registrar must stop your ceremony from proceeding if:

  • Either of you appear to be acting under duress;
  • Either of you appear to be unable to understand the nature and purport of the ceremony;
  • Either of you appear to lack the mental capacity to understand the nature and purpose of the ceremony;
  • A lawful objection is made before or during the ceremony.

1.6 We shall not hold liable for any delay, postponement, cancellation of your ceremony, or loss incurred by the late arrival of you or any of your guests. The registrars attending your ceremony have other ceremonies to attend and cannot allow the lateness of one ceremony to impact upon the start time of another. Ceremonies must start at the booked time. Late guests to ceremonies will be admitted as soon as is possible in keeping with the continuity of the ceremony. Late guests will not be able to act as witnesses.

1.7 If either of you do not speak or understand English, you must bring an interpreter who fully understands or is fluent in both the language of the party(ies) to the ceremony and English. Your interpreter(s) will be required to sign as a witness to the ceremony.

1.8 Due to government guidelines and restrictions in force at the time, ceremonies and appointments may be subject to cancellation and rescheduling at short notice. By booking (including a booking that is a rescheduling) you are agreeing that you understand and accept the risk of late notice cancellations and, or rescheduling. If it is mandated that no weddings may take place, then we must abide by that mandate. This could include but is not limited to: periods of lockdown, restrictions on movement of people, or national public events.

1.9 Any gifts, flowers or general goods delivered to, or left at, one of our ceremony rooms at our registration offices in conjunction with a ceremony are not our responsibility and we will not be liable for any loss of or damage to any such gifts, flowers and goods.

1.10 For fire, safety and comfort, the number of guests (which includes all babies and children) must not exceed the capacity of the room. Additional guests over this number will be excluded from the ceremony. Please liaise with your ceremony venue to ensure that the number they are licensed for is not exceeded.

1.11 Without prejudice to any other clause in these terms and conditions, We shall not be liable for:

  • Any matters relating to an approved venue (as defined at clause 3 below) or a third party contractor.
  • Any loss caused following the decision of Registration Staff to move the ceremony inside due to poor weather. (See clause 2.5)
  • Any loss or refund where a ceremony is stopped from proceeding because (a) it would be void if it went ahead, (b) an offence under the Marriage Act 1949 or Civil Partnership Act 2004 would be committed.

1.12 In the event of an emergency, natural disaster, extreme weather conditions or any other event which is outside Our control, We will still endeavour to perform your ceremony on your chosen day. However, We shall not be responsible or liable for any consequences, financial or otherwise, where a ceremony has to be cancelled or delayed as a result of such events.

1.13 It is your responsibility to ensure that you update us in writing (including email) with any changes to relevant contact details, such as phone numbers and email addresses.

1.14 We recommend that you take out suitable ceremony insurance to cover any losses or expenses incurred that may be incurred as a result of the ceremony being cancelled, delayed or postponed.

2) Ceremony arrangements

2.1 Ceremonies may be personalised to include music, readings and additional vows however the law requires that the ceremony remains ‘solemn and dignified’ and must contain no religious content or reference. Any readings in languages other than English must be translated. We reserve the right to make the final decision on any wording used, and will not accept liability for any omissions in ceremony content. Customisation of the ceremony outside the available options may incur an additional charge.

2.3 All ceremonies are exclusively delivered by Our staff to ensure a high degree of solemnity in keeping with the occasion and so that legal requirements are maintained. The ceremony must be conducted by a Lincolnshire registrar.

2.4 We shall allocate staff to attend your ceremony. The attendance of any individual specific registrar cannot be guaranteed. It is not possible to choose which registrar will attend your ceremony. We reserve the right to substitute allocated staff with other experienced and qualified staff in case of sickness or other unforeseen circumstances on the day.

2.5 If you wish to have your ceremony outdoors, you must seek approval from us before making arrangements with the venue. If there is bad weather on the day, it will be up to the registrar to decide whether to hold the ceremony outside. Venues will need to have an alternative plan for an indoor ceremony if this is the case.

2.6 Animals are not permitted within our ceremony rooms in our registration offices, except assistance animals.

2.7 Photography and recording of the ceremony by you and your guests is a popular request at ceremonies. You and your guests are able to take photographs and make video recordings during any part of the proceedings.

2.8 Smoking (including vaping) is not permitted at any point during the ceremony.

2.9 Anyone under the influence of alcohol or other substances or who is abusive, aggressive, violent or shows other threatening behaviour, will be asked to leave the ceremony. Our staff are here to help you, but they have the right to work in a safe environment. We are committed to resolving any problems or queries that you may have but we are also committed to the care and protection of our employees against abusive, aggressive, violent, or otherwise threatening behaviour. If the person does not leave when asked then the ceremony may not be able to proceed or continue.

3) Approved venues

An 'approved venue' is a venue, other than our registration offices, that is licensed by us to hold marriage and civil partnership ceremonies.

3.1 Bookings are taken by us on the understanding that the venue you are electing to have your ceremony at holds approval under the provision of section 46A and 46B of the Marriage Act 1949 or section 36(1) of the Civil Partnership Act 2004. Approval of the venue by us is granted in connection with the provision of civil ceremonies only, for example, not religious.

3.2 It is your responsibility to ensure that the requisite approval is in force on the date of the planned ceremony. If there is no valid approval in force on the day of the ceremony, the ceremony cannot take place and We shall not be liable for any losses incurred as a result of such approval not being in force.

3.3 For ceremonies at approved venues, it is your responsibility to book and pay for that venue. The ceremony fee secures the attendance of the registrars to conduct the ceremony only.

3.4 No food or drink may be sold or consumed in the room in which the proceedings take place, for one hour prior to and during the ceremony.

3.5 If your ceremony is at an approved venue which permits a couple to have animals or wildlife at the ceremony, the venue is entirely responsible for the health and safety of the guests and any housekeeping issues which may arise as a result. We must be informed of these arrangements in writing or email) in advance of the day of the ceremony.

4) Fees and charges

4.1 The balance of the ceremony fee is payable no later than 12 weeks (three months) prior to the date of the ceremony. If the ceremony is due to take place within 12 weeks (three months) of the booking date, payment of the full fee will be required at the time of booking. Your ceremony may be cancelled if the total fees have not been paid on time.

4.2 Fees are published on Our website and are subject to change. Statutory fees are set by the Government and changes can take place at any time. Statutory fees apply to Statutory marriages and Statutory civil partnership ceremonies, notice of marriage or civil partnership fees, and certificates. We reserve the right to pass on any increases in statutory fees, should such fees increase prior to the ceremony date.

4.3 Notice Fees are statutory fees and cannot therefore be refunded once the appointment has taken place.

4.4 A charge of £110 will be applied to short notice cancellations within six weeks of the ceremony date.

5) Cancellations, amendments and refunds

5.1 Ceremonies must be cancelled in writing (which includes by email). Where cancelled by email, the address for valid notification of cancellation is to ceremonies@lincolnshire.gov.uk. An email notifying us of cancellation sent to any other account will not be accepted.

5.2 Ceremonies can only be rescheduled to a different date and, or time subject to availability. If the new ceremony date, venue, or time incurs a higher fee this will be notified at the point of booking.

5.3 Where a ceremony is unable to take place due to legal restrictions identified following the Notice of Marriage or Civil Partnership appointment, a full refund will be made minus the non-refundable deposit.

5.4 In the event of a cancellation of a ceremony, any certificates ordered will be refunded.

5.5 Without prejudice to any other clause in these terms and conditions, a ceremony may be cancelled by us if:

  • The total fees have not been paid on time (12 weeks (three months) before the ceremony)
  • Legal preliminaries have not or cannot be completed on time (See 1.1)

5.6 Refunds will be processed in line with the information shown below:

  • Cancelling more than six weeks before the ceremony - Ceremony Customers may apply for a refund of the ceremony fee and any certificates ordered.
  • Cancelling less than six weeks before the ceremony - Customer may apply for a refund of the ceremony fee and any certificates ordered and paid for, minus a £110 charge for a short notice cancellation.

6) Non-legal and other bookings

(Naming, commitment or renewal of vows)

6.1 Non-legal ceremony bookings are accepted on the following conditions:

  • For commitment or renewal of vows, ceremony bookings are accepted on the condition that proof of prior marriage or civil partnership taking place is provided. The ceremony does not give any legal status or rights.
  • For naming ceremonies, ceremony bookings are accepted on the condition that proof of birth is provided. The ceremony does not give any legal status or rights.
  • All fees due are paid no later than 12 weeks (three months) prior to the date of the ceremony.

6.2 Non-legal ceremonies may only take place in a suitable venue, such as one of Our ceremony rooms, or rooms hired for private functions, e.g. a hotel, or a community venue or village hall. We are unable to facilitate ceremonies at private residences. We reserve

the right to decline a ceremony booking where we deem the venue not to be suitable in Our reasonable opinion.

7) Statutory marriage and civil partnership

A 'statutory ceremony' is a marriage or civil partnership that is limited to you, your partner and two witnesses and is the legal minimum ceremony set by the government.

The following terms and conditions apply only to statutory marriage and civil partnership ceremonies:

7.1 The fee for statutory ceremony must be paid in full at the point of booking. A non-refundable deposit or booking fee is not charged for statutory ceremonies.

7.2 The fee for statutory ceremony is a statutory fee and will be refunded in full if the ceremony is cancelled.

7.3 There are no cancellation fees for Statutory Ceremonies.

7.4 Where a statutory ceremony has been booked, the registrars will deliver a basic ceremony and no additional choices or personalisations are offered.

8) Variation

8.1 We reserve the right to amend these terms and conditions from time to time, as We may require. We shall notify you in writing upon any amendments being made.