Weddings

Find out how to book & plan your Northumberland wedding

Fantastic news: from December 2014 you will be able to convert a civil partnership into a same sex marriage. Find out more here.

Wedding Brochure

How to book your Northumberland wedding

We know there are lots of different things to think about when you are planning your wedding so we have outlined everything you need to do in the six steps below.

Please don’t hesitate to contact us at any time, if you are looking for advice or have any queries. We have experienced thousands of weddings between us, and have a wealth of ideas and advice so we can reassure you at each point of your planning.

We are always happy to help!

Have a look at our fantastic range of venues from magnificent castles to grand country homes, register offices to cosy hotels - each with something different to offer.

Our search venues tool is a really useful way to narrow your search. You can choose the different features you are looking for in a venue (eg capacity, location, type of venue) and we will show you your different options.

It’s also worth checking to see if there are any wedding fairs coming up which you could come along to and don’t forget to look at our wedding brochure.

Once you have chosen your venue, you need to book your registrar as soon as possible (even if it is a few years in advance of your ceremony).

To book your registrar you need to call our wedding co-ordination team on 01665 602870 with your preferred date and time to check availability.

It helps if you have some alternative dates that your venue may have provided, so we can look at the different options if your first choice isn’t available.

If you have decided to have a combined naming and wedding ceremony, please let the registrar know at this point.

Fees

When you book the registrar, you will need to pay a non-refundable booking fee.

Check all fees here:

Please note: if you change the date, time or venue of your wedding, you will need to pay a new booking fee known as an amendment fee (this will be charged at the current rate).

When you have made your booking with us, we will advise on what you need to do next and when.

Giving notice is a legal requirement.  By giving notice, partners are legally declaring that they intend to marry.

Both partners must give notice individually in the registration district where they live (usually the local authority area) and they must have lived there for at least the past nine consecutive days.

So if you live in Northumberland you will need to give notice at one of our four main register offices in Morpeth, Berwick, Alnwick and Hexham.

If you live outside Northumberland, please contact your local authority to make an appointment to give notice there.

How to give notice

The notice of marriage can be done a maximum of 12 months before the ceremony. We would recommend that you do your notice of marriage as soon as you can within this 12 month period – please don’t leave it to the last minute!

You can call us on 01665 602 870 to make an appointment to give notice.

The appointment will last about half an hour for each person and we will ask you questions including your name, age, occupation and the venue where you intend to marry. We will also ask you to bring some documents to prove your identity.

The fee to give notice is £35 per person.

What you need to bring with you:

The documents required in Northumberland are:

  • full birth certificate (showing parents details) or adoption certificate
  • a valid passport (if you have one)
  • proof of address (eg bank statement, utility bill, council tax bill) issued within the last three months
  • decree absolute or death certificate for any previous marriage, or a dissolution certificate for a previous civil partnership
  • a name change document if you have legally changed your name since birth
  • the payment of the fee (£35 per person)

What happens next?

A notice of marriage will be displayed in the Morpeth register office for 15 full days and if there has been no objection received, then a certificate of marriage will be produced on the 16th day.

The certificate of marriage must be given to the registrar in the district where you are getting married. Without it, the marriage ceremony cannot take place.

Therefore, if you are getting married in Northumberland, but live outside the county, please collect your certificate of marriage from the register office where you gave notice and send it to our wedding co-ordination team.

After your appointment, we will send you out a ceremony arrangements pack to help you plan your day.

Planning your day

Your wedding day is your day and there are lots of ways you can personalise it to make it extra special for you both, as well as your friends and family.

Have a look at our personal touches page to see just some of the things that we offer to personalise your service, including candle lighting, rose and sand ceremonies.

Our wedding brochure showcases the range of excellent local suppliers we have who can take care of all you needs. We have fantastic photographers, musicians, florists and caterers all locally based.

The internet is also a great resource for readings, ceremony ideas and music suggestions so have fun looking at all your options.

Planning your ceremony (the information below does not apply for register office weddings)

We will send you a ceremony arrangements pack after your notice of marriage appointment.

The pack will:

  • help you understand what happens on the day
  • show you the structure of the ceremony and the wording used
  • allow you to choose your legal words (we provide you with options)
  • give you ideas for the wording to use when you exchange rings (if you would like to say something)
  • suggest ideas for personal promises you could make to each other
  • advise on how to personalise your service eg readings, candle ceremonies
  • give you tips of what you need to do before the ceremony
  • include a ceremony arrangements form to be completed with your decisions at least six weeks before the ceremony

Return your completed ceremony form to our wedding co-ordination team at least six weeks before the service

Make sure you include copies of readings, promises and anything else that your conducting registrar needs for your ceremony.

Crucial to all your choices is that you remember that yours is a civil ceremony and there should be no religious content.

At least six weeks before the wedding, you need to return your ceremony form to us (if applicable) and pay the balance for your wedding.

Return your completed ceremony form to us at the address below - make sure you include copies of readings, promises and anything else that your conducting registrar needs for your ceremony.

Fees

Check all the ceremony fees below:

You can pay your fees by:

  • phone: 01665 602870 (you will need your credit or debit card)
  • post: you can send a cheque made payable to ‘Northumberland County Council’ to The Ceremony Co-ordination Team, The Register Office, 27 Fenkle Street, Alnwick, NE66 1HW

At this point, it would also be really useful for us to know if you would like extra copies of your marriage certificate. If so, please let us know on the bottom of your ceremony form.

You will not need any paperwork with you on the day and all monies owed to the registrar will have been paid, so you can relax and enjoy your ceremony!

What happens on the day:

  • Two registrars will attend your ceremony; they will arrive approximately 30 minutes prior to the ceremony start time. They will speak to both partners before the ceremony. The conducting registrar will also ask to see all those having a special part to play in your ceremony; this is just to ensure everything runs as smoothly as possible.
  • Your best man can also act as your witness and we normally ask that an adult sign alongside any witness who is under 16 years of age.
  • We will have a chat with your photographer/videographer to confirm we are happy for them to discreetly capture the entire ceremony apart from the actual signing of the register, but we will set up a pretend signing immediately afterwards.

Please remember:

  • It is important that your ceremony starts promptly as our registrars should be able to travel calmly and safely to their next wedding. We reserve the right to leave your wedding should we feel that the following ceremony will be compromised. This decision will not be taken lightly and without consultation with your venue and yourselves. It is a situation that our registrars dread and we trust that you will be more than happy to give us your co-operation and start your wedding on time.
  • Please remember to bring any of your own promises and readings with you on the day. You might like to mount them on card, and then you can keep them as a memento of your day.
  • Any music CD/iPod should be given direct to the venue.

Copies of your wedding certificate

  • You will receive one copy of your marriage certificate on the day. If you would like more than one copy, we would appreciate it if you could let your registrar know as soon as possible before your wedding day.
  • If it has been over a month since your marriage please visit our records page for more information on how to order your copy certificate.

Finally

Remember to let us know how it went!

After the wedding, we would really like to hear about how the day went and how you found our service. We would be grateful if you could complete the short survey sent out to you in your ceremony pack, or email us on alnwickreg@northumberland.gov.uk

Religious ceremonies

If you wish to be married by the Church of England, you must contact the Vicar or parish administrator. We would not expect to be involved in your wedding.

If you wish to be married in a church or building of any other religious denomination, you will need to contact the church to see if a registrar is required to register the ceremony.

If a registrar is required, please contact the ceremony co-ordination team on 01665 602 870 to discuss this with us as soon as possible.

Giving notice (legal preliminaries)

In cases where the church has their own ‘appointed person’ to register the ceremony, you will still need to give your notice (legal preliminaries) in the district where you live.

If you live in Northumberland, this can be done at any of our four main register offices in Berwick, Alnwick, Hexham and Morpeth.

Call us on 01665 602 870 to make an appointment.

If you live outside Northumberland, you need to contact your local authority.