Approved premises - your questions answered
Please note that the COVID-19 (coronavirus) Pandemic means that ceremonies are currently suspended indefinitely by the Government.
Before ceremonies can resume venues will need to demonstrate that their venues are COVID-19 Secure and that it is safe for all those at the venue.
When service does resume it is highly likely that only the couple and their two witnesses will be allowed in the ceremony room and areas where registrars are present. Other restrictions will also be in effect.
To date the Government has not published specific advice relating to marriages and civil partnerships, but an indication of timelines can be found by reading, Our plan to rebuild: The UK Government's COVID-19 recovery strategy on GOV.UK (external link).
Venues will be asked to submit plans for how they will manage arrangements to ensure safety, social distancing and compliance with local and national rules/laws including COVID-19 Secure. Venues will be asked for their plans once more details are available. If you have any questions at this time please call 020 8489 1775.
The questions and answers below will tell you about making an application for marriages and civil partnerships to take place on your premises.
- How much does a license cost and how long is it valid for?
- Is my venue suitable as an approved premises?
- Who can make an approved premises application?
- Can religious content be incorporated into ceremonies on my premises?
- Who will conduct ceremonies on my premises?
- Do I need a room for the Register Office staff?
- Do I need to offer catering facilities?
- Can a ceremony take place anywhere on my premises?
- Can I license a private house for weddings or civil partnerships?
- What other ceremonies may be conducted if I get a license?
- Can I refuse to allow civil partnerships to take place in my venue?
- What is the procedure for making an approved premises application?
- Does Haringey Council guarantee that ceremonies will take place if I get my premises approved?
- Can my application by turned down or withdrawn and how can I appeal?
- Where can I make my application?
- What is the application process once my application is received?
- Where can I get further advice, information or guidance?
First applications cost £308.50. Licenses typically last for five years. The application fee includes placing notices on our website, advice, support and a site inspection.
Please note that the application fee is not refundable if your application is not successful. The application fee does not include the cost of adapting your premises or fire/other risk assessments.
A wide variety of venues are suitable for conducting marriages and civil partnerships, but new rules on social distancing could make some venues and rooms more suitable than others. Both small and large premises can make the perfect environment for making a couples special day a memorable occasion. Please note that religious venues cannot be designated approved premises but may be able to be licensed separately for marriage or worship. See registering a place of worship for more details.
Venues with separate ceremony and bar / catering areas tend to work best as no food or drink may be served or consumed prior to and during a ceremony in the ceremony room. Open plan venues may wish to consider screening off the area where the ceremony is to take place to allow them to offer pre ceremony hospitality such as champagne receptions in the rest of the premises. We are happy to discuss and assess a venue's suitability on request.
The proprietor or trustee of a premises may apply for it to be licensed for marriage and civil partnerships.
We are only able to conduct civil ceremonies. No religious content or music may be incorporated into a ceremony being conducted by or in the presence of the Register Office team.
A religious ceremony may take place on your premises provided that there is a clear break (normally at least one hour) before or after a civil ceremony has taken place. Alternatively a religious ceremony may take place in a separate room away from where the civil ceremony has or is to take place.
At least two members of staff will attend to conduct the ceremony. A registrar will record marriages in one of our marriage registers. Civil Partnerships are registered by Schedule.
A private area, normally a small room needs to be available so that Register Office staff can complete pre wedding or civil partnership checking. This room must be large enough to enable required social distancing.
There is no need to offer catering facilities although venues that do, find having catering facilities an excellent way to attract customers. Please contact the Licensing Team should you require a licence to serve alcohol.
Marriages and civil partnerships can only take place in rooms listed on the premises license. When an application is made the application must be submitted with clear plans outlining which room or rooms ceremonies are going to take place in. The cost of a license is the same whether one or a hundred rooms are being licensed. Additional rooms can only be added later by making a new application.
Ceremonies can also take place within certain outside structures such as some gazebos and summer houses. A ceremony can also take place in an outside garden if the contracting and declaratory words are completed in a licensed room within the premises.
Private houses cannot be licensed. A venue must be widely accessible to the public in order to be considered as an approved premise.
Only marriage or civil partnership ceremonies can take place.
No, it is a requirement to allow both marriage and civil partnerships to take place in approved premises.
The process is straight forward and we will support you throughout the process. Please visit the applying for approved premises page to begin making your application.
We cannot guarantee that people will book ceremonies at your venue. Venues that have actively marketed themselves have achieved considerable success in gaining wedding and civil partnership business.
We will place basic details of your venue on our website and work with you to raise the profile of your venue. Premium promotion such as distribution of your marketing materials in the Register Office may attract a fee. You will be encouraged to produce marketing material to help promote your business.
Please note that we will endeavour to always supply Register Office staff to attend your premises to conduct ceremonies. As soon as a provisional booking has been taken the celebrating couple should contact the Register Office as soon as possible to confirm Register Office staff are available to attend.
Your application will be subject to a 21 day consultation period during which people may object to your application. If objections are received the outcome of your application will be determined within 56 days.
When a license is granted conditions will be attached to it. Should a license holder be found to be in breach of these conditions the council will take action which could include withdrawing the license for conducting marriages and civil partnerships.
Where a decision is made to not grant or withdraw a license or you are unhappy with conditions attached to the license you have a right to seek a review with the council.
You can make your application via Business Link. To access this service please visit the applying for approved premises page which also contains further guidance on making your application.
Please see the what happens to my approved premises application process page for more information.
Please call 020 8489 1775 or email email@example.com
Page last updated:
Tell us what you think about the website
We are currently running a short survey about our Covid-19 response and information. You can take the Covid-19 survey here.
Contact us about our services
Please note if you have a service problem or complaint you need help with then please visit our contact pages.
Give us feedback about this page
Please use this space to tell us how we can improve the website.
Overall, how easy was it to get the help you wanted today?
* = response required
We are open Monday to Friday from 9.30am to 4.30pm. The office is closed from 1pm on the first Thursday of the month, every month for training purposes.