A Reminder

Please note: you are booking the registrars’ attendance, and not the venue itself. Once you’ve chosen and booked your venue and you’re ready to book a registrar to attend your ceremony, click below.

FAQs

I’m having my ceremony in the Richmond Room, what can I expect?

Because the Richmond Room faces onto a residential street, it is subject to strict licensing restrictions. You cannot have any live amplified music played at any time during your occupation of the room, and all recorded music will have a maximum volume set. Acoustic instruments such as harps, violins or guitars are permitted, as long as they are not connected to an amplifier. The other restriction is that all the windows must be kept closed at all times in order to stop any noise from being heard by residents. Any breach of the above will result in the ceremony being stopped until the restrictions are met.

If you have any questions about these restrictions, please contact the office to discuss.

Can we have more than one witness each?

Yes, you can, if you are having a marriage ceremony. It is usual to just have one witness each, but if you want to have two each then you need to advise the registrar before the marriage.

Civil partnership law is different: it is only possible to have a maximum of two witnesses, so if you have chosen to have a civil partnership, you only need to choose two witnesses in total.

Do we have to bring ID with us on the day?

No. Just bring yourselves, your guests and your witnesses!

Do we have to exchange rings?

Not at all. The exchanging of rings is a traditional part of a ceremony rather than a legal requirement. Some couples choose to exchange a token more personal to themselves, others not at all.

Can we meet the person who is conducting our ceremony?

For weekend ceremonies, a registrar will be allocated a month before. If your ceremony is on a weekday it will be conducted by one of our experienced registrars. We are unable to allocate a specific registrar. There are however occasions where substitutions need to be made due to unforeseen circumstances. Please get in touch if you would like a meeting and we will try to arrange this wherever possible.

Can we get more than one certificate?

 

The fee you pay for the ceremony includes one certificate, but you are welcome to order as many as you need online on our website after the ceremony.

You may find you need additional certificates if you are travelling, changing names, or registering your ceremonies with your Embassy or Consulate if you are foreign nationals.

Do I have to change my name?

There is no legal requirement in this country to change your name after your ceremony. This is a personal choice and not everyone wishes to do so. Your certificate is evidence of the name change and no further legal processes need to be followed.

If you are nationals of another country, then we suggest you contact your consulate or embassy to find out if that is a legal requirement in your country.

How long will the ceremony take?

The average civil ceremony will take about 20 minutes. If you are adding readings, then it will last about 30 minutes depending on the length and number of the readings.

What happens if we are late?

It is important that you and your guests arrive in plenty of time so your ceremony can start on time. We do understand that sometimes things don’t always go to plan, and if you are late then we will try to accommodate your party. There is a possibility that your ceremony will need to be rescheduled, depending on availability and registrar flexibility, to a later time or another day.

Can we have a nerve-steadying drink beforehand?

It is best to avoid drinking alcohol before your ceremony. If the registrar believes that if either you or your witnesses are intoxicated and unable to comprehend what you are doing, then the ceremony will be stopped from going ahead.

How will it work if we don’t want to see each other before the ceremony starts?

By both arriving at different times we are able to minimise the risk of you accidently running into each other before the ceremony begins. At the Town Hall we have our own ushers to assist us, and each venue should also have someone there to help. Your registrar can advise you further in this regard.

What if our guest numbers increase beyond the capacity of our booked room?

Each room has a maximum number of people that can be safely accommodated. If your guests exceed the number allowed in each room then some of them will be asked to remain outside. If availability permits you will be given the option to upgrade to a larger room. The difference in cost will be payable before the ceremony can commence.

What happens if the information we gave when we gave notice has now changed?

There are some details that are expected to change such as age, address and occupation. If these details change before the day of your wedding, there is nothing you need to do. You do not need to bring any documents to support those changes; you just need to confirm them with the registrar at the pre-ceremony interview. If anything else changes, you must contact the register office as soon as possible.

Can we say the ‘old-fashioned’ traditional vows?

Of course. You just need to select them when you are personalising your ceremony.

What if I don’t want to say too much - are there simple words I can say?

Of course. We have given you a few different versions of the legal vows, so when you are personalising your ceremony just choose the ones you feel most comfortable saying.

Can our pet be a ring bearer?

While this could be a fun thought, the only pets permitted in the Town Hall are guide dogs, hearing dogs, and other assistance animals.

Can our photographer take a group photo from the balcony in the council chamber?

Unless you have booked and paid for the use of the balcony, your photographer will not be able to get up there. The balcony is accessed from outside the Town Hall and security staff are required to accompany your photographer up there.

What should we do if we notice a mistake in the register?

We know it’s all a bit overwhelming by the time you come to actually sign the register but it is extremely important that all the information recorded in the entry is correct. Your registrar will direct you to check everything before you put pen to paper, and please use those moments to double check your details. It is your responsibility to make sure all is right before you sign. If you spot anything that is wrong tell the registrar straight away and they can amend it for you. It is very difficult to correct the registration after the event.

What name should I sign in when we sign the register?

You should always sign the registration in the name you are using at the time. If you are planning to change your name once you are married or a civil partner, you could consider this to be the last time you sign in your old name.

Can my name be changed in my passport before the ceremony?

You can change your passport into your new name up to three months before the ceremony. You will need to take the application form to the register office for it to be signed before submitting it to the Passport Office. Your passport will not be valid until the proposed date of the ceremony. You can download the form from GOV.UK.

Will we run into other ceremony parties when we are in the Town Hall?

We make every effort to limit the possibility of parties running into each other. Ceremonies are booked at staggered times and we have ushers and porters to help out as well. However, there may be unavoidable instances where parties could cross paths and we aim to deal with this as quickly as possible. To facilitate this, we ask that couples and guests arrive on time, and photographers be respectful of other ceremonies by not blocking up the main stairs taking multiple group photos.

We have booked transport to pick us all up afterwards. Can they park at the front of the Town Hall?

The old Routemasters are a common sight outside the Town Hall picking up ceremony parties. It is usual that the transport provider will ask you for a time to collect you all, and while there is no parking on Upper Street outside the Town Hall, your booked transport will be allowed to stop there long enough for you and your guests to get on.

What time should our transport arrive to pick us up?

Most ceremonies take 30 minutes from start to finish, plus photographs. Ideally your transport should be there waiting for you as you all emerge from the Town Hall ready to whisk you all away to your celebrations. Your registrar can advise you on an estimated time your ceremony will conclude once they know more about your requirements.

Someone in our party needs special access. What facilities are there at Town Hall?

We have limited special access parking spaces available on the Town Hall forecourt, and these need to be booked well in advance. There is also a ramp into the Town Hall, and lifts to all levels.

Who will manage the recorded music?

If you are having your ceremony in a venue other than the Town Hall, then you will need to confirm with them if they will be in charge of the music or if you need to allocate that job to one of your guests. At the Town Hall it is requested that the person in charge of playing the music is one of your guests. They will be shown where the connections are, and all cues for when to play the music will be given by the registrar.

Can we have a glass of champagne in the room to celebrate after?

You are welcome to celebrate with a glass of champagne after your ceremony if you are getting married in an approved venue. No alcohol will be permitted, or consumed in, the room before or during the ceremony however.

If your wedding is taking place in the Town Hall, there is no alcohol permitted at any time, in any of the rooms. You are welcome to have that celebratory glass of champagne outside on the front stairs instead, just as long as you aren’t impeding the access of other wedding parties.

Is it ok to have champagne for our party delivered to the Town Hall?

There is no storage space at the Town Hall, so having deliveries made to the Town Hall in advance of your ceremony is not advised.

Can we bring our own flower arrangements?

We have flower arrangements in each ceremony room so there is no need to bring your own. You are welcome to bring your own personal flowers with you, but you won’t be able to take them into the room beforehand. You will also need to remember to take them with you at the end of the ceremony.

Should we decorate the room?

It is up to you if you wish to provide decoration for the ceremony room at your venue and this is something you should discuss with that venue in advance of the day. If your ceremony is taking place here in the Town Hall, there is no need to decorate as we have flower arrangements in each ceremony room.

Do we need a rehearsal before the ceremony?

In our experience we have found that once you have discussed the details of your ceremony with your registrar, there is no requirement for a rehearsal. We do not offer rehearsals at Islington and London City.

Is there somewhere in the Town Hall where we can celebrate after?

Although there is no facility for holding any kind of reception within the Town Hall, the Islington Assembly Hall next door to the Town Hall can be hired for ceremonies and receptions. For availability and costs you will need to contact them directly at assemblyhall@islington.gov.uk

Can we choose a reading from the Bible or other religious text?

Registrars can only perform civil ceremonies, which must be free of all religious connotations, so unfortunately not. This means that the “Song of Songs”, or St Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians (“Love is patient, love is kind. etc) cannot be read at a civil ceremony.

If you have a reading that mentions God or heaven or similar, but you don’t think it is a religious reading, please submit it to us and we will check whether it is acceptable. For example, the poem “Aedh Wishes for the Cloths of Heaven” by William Butler Yeats would be acceptable as it is not religious in content.

Some other examples which would be acceptable although they have reference to God would be “How Do I Love Thee” by Elizabeth Barrett Browning (“Sonnets from the Portuguese”) and “Howard’s End” by E M Forster. The extract on marriage from “The Prophet” by Khalil Gibran (a philosophical / spiritual work but perhaps not specifically a religious one) is acceptable, but other passages may not be.

Can we play hymns or religious music?

Unfortunately, we are unable to incorporate religious music (whether words or music) into a civil ceremony, which must be free of all religious connotations.

If you would like a song that mentions God or heaven or similar, but you don’t think it is a religious song, please email us and ask. For example, “Angels” by Robbie Williams and “I Say A Little Prayer” by Aretha Franklin are not considered religious songs although they mention angels and prayer. There are also some popular pieces of music such as Wagner’s “The Wedding March” from Lohengrin (more popularly referred to as “Here Comes the Bride”) which was written for an opera and would be acceptable, as would be Mendelssohn’s “Wedding March”.

The music for Schubert’s “Ave Maria” (without the words) is acceptable as the music was not written for the Latin prayer.

Can we include a ‘hand-fasting’ ritual into our ceremony?

Unfortunately, this ceremony has its roots in the pagan religion, so we are unable to incorporate it into a civil ceremony, which must be free of all religious connotations.

Can we use the words ‘to have and to hold, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love, cherish, and to obey, till death us do part’?

Although these may seem like standard traditional marriage vows, they are in fact, part of the Church of England Book of Common Prayer, and so we are not able to use them in a civil ceremony.

You may like to consider different words with the same meaning, like ‘I promise to love, honour and care for you, to support you through good fortune and adversity, joy and sadness, as long as we both shall live.’

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