Planning your Wedding

As civil marriages grow in popularity, this means even more weddings in Cornwall.  Couples choosing a civil wedding can marry in a Registration Office, or an approved venue like a castle or a hotel.  The key word now is choice, and choice is not just restricted to the type of venue.  You can choose the type of ceremony you want. 

Here in Cornwall, the ceremonies team make it their business to help you create your own special occasion - to design your ceremony around all that is important to you.  So make it a civil wedding, there is much more on offer, and Cornwall Registration Service, with its wealth of experience, knows just how to make your perfect day.

Please note: as the law currently stands, you cannot marry in the open air, eg, in a garden or on the beach

The Registration Office 

You can start to think about booking your wedding with the Registration Office up to one year in advance.  It is a legal requirement that a Notice of Marriage is given before the marriage can take place. Please see Notice of Marriage.  You need to provide two people to act as witnesses, these can be relatives or friends.  Video cameras can be used during the ceremony with the approval of the Superintendent Registrar. Photographs can be taken in the marriage room but guests are normally requested to wait until the ceremony is completed.

Registration Offices have music systems with a suitable selection of music. You can, however, provide your own by prior agreement with the Superintendent Registrar.

Cornwall has 11 Registration Offices around the county, and the majority of them have facilities for the disabled, eg, ramps, hearing loops, disabled toilets. Please check the venue is suitable for disabled users.

Venues with a Civil Licence

Civil marriages can take place in other buildings which have been approved by the Council. Cornwall can offer town and country hotels, stately homes, castles, a Napoleonic fort and even a cavern! The list of approved venues in Cornwall is regularly updated, just contact Cornwall Registration Service, Dalvenie House, County Hall, Truro on 0300 1234 181 , or email: or visit

You can have a full traditional white wedding with the bride being given 'away', bridesmaids, music and readings, or a simple, intimate ceremony with just two witnesses.

For music and readings the law requires that there is no religious content in the civil ceremony, so the advice of the ceremonies team should be sought on the items chosen.

You can marry at any approved venue regardless of where you live. So you can get married, have your reception and honeymoon all in the same place!

First contact the venue to make a provisional arrangement, then contact the ceremonies team of the district in which the premises are located to ensure the Registrar can attend on the date of your choice.  The ceremonies team will provisionally book the wedding date and a provisional booking can be made at any time. A Notice of Marriage must be given before the marriage can take place and can be given up to one year before the marriage date. You can book your wedding up to one year in advance.

The ceremony can be tailored to meet your needs and the ceremonies team will be happy to discuss this.  Approved venues have been licensed by the Council, but not all venues have facilities for disabled users. Check with venue providers whether the venue is suitable for yourselves or your guests.  There is a separate list of fees for ceremonies at approved venues.

Religious Ceremonies

If you are getting married in any religious building, apart from a church belonging to the Church of England it is necessary to give formal Notice of Marriage to the ceremonies team of the district(s) where you live. Unlike civil marriage, you can usually only marry in the district where one or both of you live.

You can, however, marry in a church outside your district of residence if either of you usually go to worship in that building, or if there is no building of your religion in the district where you or the person you are marrying lives. Contact us for more information.  The religious building will generally have an appointed person who will register your marriage. If this is not the case, a Registrar from the district covering the building must be present at the wedding by prior arrangement. If you are getting married in a church of the Church of England, banns will usually be called by the vicar, but if they are not called, it is necessary to give Notice of Marriage at your local Register Office in lieu of banns.