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Licencing of approved premises

To operate as a venue for civil marriages and civil partnerships a venue must be issued with a licence approved by the Proper Officer for Registration and Head of Service. Licences are issued in pursuance of Section 26(1)(bb) of the Marriage Act 1949 and as a venue for civil partnerships in pursuance of section 6 (3A)(a) of the Civil Partnership Act 2004.

How much does a civil ceremony licence cost?

  • £1,500.00 (£200.00 charge for additional rooms after renewal)

A civil ceremony licence is valid for 3 years.

Before applying

The fee payable is non-refundable and so you are advised to contact us to arrange a suitable time to visit the premises before application to ensure suitability. We aim to respond to all enquiries within 7 days.

You will need to check the requirements and conditions to be attached for the grant of approval of premises that are not religious premises.

Your application will also need the following documents:

  • A completed PDF DocumentH&S Checklist 16 (165 KB) - see PDF DocumentHealth and Safety Guidance (26 KB)
  • Evidence of a suitable and sufficient Fire Risk Assessment for the premises - see PDF Documentfire risk assessment guidance (330 KB)
  • Evidence of valid Public Liability Insurance (Min £2,000,000 cover)
  • A plan of the premises (highlighting the areas to be licenced)
  • Evidence of Local Authority planning consent

What do I do if my approval has expired?

If an approval expires before any application to renew is made but an application is made within one month of the expiry, the approval will be reinstated. The reinstated approval will then continue until the application for renewal is finally dealt with.

Authorities and approval holders are strongly recommended to have a reminder system to warn, at least a month before it is due to expire, as no proceedings can take place after the expiry date. The reminder system should also alert all officers in the authority who take notices and receive notices taken outside the authority so that any couples who may be affected can be warned. An approval can be extended or reinstated but if an application for renewal is made a month or more after expiry, the full application procedure has to be followed prior to any further approval being granted. Any proceedings arranged at the venue within that time must be postponed or moved to another venue after fresh notices have been given. 

How to apply

The easiest way is to apply and pay online.

Any documentation in support of your application can be forwarded electronically.

Alternatively you can print out the PDF Documentapplication form (31 KB) and return your completed application by post to:

Registration Services
Staffordshire County Council
2 Staffordshire Place
Stafford
ST16 2DH

You can also request an application form by contacting us.

You can make payment by debit or credit card or by direct bank transfer (please contact us to request bank details). Cheques are made payable to Staffordshire County Council.

What happens after I apply?

Once your application and fee has been received, a Public Notice will be displayed on our website for a period of 28 days to allow for any objections to be made. Your application and supporting documentation will then be forwarded to our Health and Safety Duty Officer and Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service for review. In some cases a visit will be needed before approval.

Once satisfactory responses have been received the licence will be issued and forwarded to you for your retention. This licence is required to be on public display.

Further information

Access to public registers

You can search for approved venues for marriages and civil partnerships. You can make a freedom of information request for licence applications by contacting us by email.

Contact Us

Tel: 0300 111 8001
Email: approvedvenue@staffordshire.gov.uk

Staffordshire Registration Service also operates an out of hours emergency duty phone. If your venue has a planned ceremony and the Registrar has not arrived 30 minutes prior to the ceremony please call 07815 827848. 

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