Arranging your civil partnership

A civil partnership is a legal relationship which can be registered by two people. It gives your relationship legal recognition and added legal rights and responsibilities.

You can have your civil partnership in any register office or at any venue that has been approved to register civil partnerships. Anywhere that has been approved for weddings will automatically have approval to register civil partnerships. You can also have a civil partnership at religious premises.

You don't need to have a ceremony, although most couples will want a ceremony at the same time as you form your partnership.

Changes due to COVID-19 (coronavirus)

New national restrictions from Thursday 5 November 2020

Due to the new national restrictions announced by the government on Saturday 31 October, any civil partnership ceremony due to take place between Thursday 5 November and Wednesday 2 December 2020 will now be unable to take place. This affects all civil partnership ceremonies at both the Town Hall and at any approved premises.

We're contacting all couples affected to discuss the next steps and options available.

The end of the national restrictions will see a return to the tier system from 2 December. The Government will be publishing some more information about the tier system on 26 November. We'll update this webpage to let you know what this means for wedding and civil partnership ceremonies.

Changes effective until Wednesday 4 November 2020

The government has announced that small weddings and civil partnership ceremonies can take place from 4 July 2020. There will be restrictions in place including a limit on the number of people who can attend the ceremony and social distancing measures will apply.

We recommend that you read the government guidance for small marriages and civil partnerships, it explains all of the restrictions and measures.

From Monday 28 September weddings, civil partnerships and receptions will be limited to a maximum number of 15 people. If your ceremony is at an approved venue this does not include the registrars, photographer or anyone working at the venue.

In addition to the government guidance, there are some local restrictions that apply to ceremonies at the Town Hall, due to the size of the venues. The maximum capacity includes the couple, 2 registrars, photographer and guests:

  • The Ceremony Suite (Monday to Friday bookings) - maximum of 12 people
  • The Ceremony Suite (Saturday bookings) - maximum of 16 people 
  • The Register Office - maximum of 8 people

In line with government advice, the following restrictions also apply:

  • the bride may not be walked down the aisle by the father, or any other person
  • no music can be played at the ceremony
  • hands must be washed or sanitised before rings are exchanged
  • photos of the couple signing the register are not permitted
  • all ceremony guests must wear a face covering whilst inside the Town Hall 

You can use our online form to book a ceremony but this may be subject to change following government advice about COVID-19.

Read more about the changes we've made to our registration services due to COVID-19.

You'll have 30 minutes to fill in and submit the online form to book your appointment. If you don't complete your booking within this time you'll lose your chosen appointment slot.

Please make sure you arrive for your appointment on time - if you're more than five minutes late we won't be able to see you and you'll need to book a new appointment slot.

Who can form a civil partnership?

You can form a civil partnership in the UK if you’re:

  • 16 or over (parental consent is required if you’re under 18)
  • not already married or in a civil partnership
  • not closely related

What you need to do

To form a civil partnership you’ll need to:

  • decide if you want to have a ceremony or not
  • choose and book a venue if you do want a ceremony
  • book a registrar if required
  • give notice of your intention to form a civil partnership at your local Register Office
  • pay for the registrar or your ceremony if you’re having one
  • register the civil partnership at least 29 days after giving notice

If you choose not to have a ceremony

You’ll have to give notice of your intention to form a civil partnership. You’ll need to book an appointment to do this and you’ll have to pay a non-refundable booking fee and the cost of the registrar. See our registration charges page for these fees. Once you’ve given notice you’ll then need to wait at least 29 days before your registration can take place.

On the day of registration of your partnership you’ll sign the partnership schedule in the presence of a registrar and two witnesses. A civil partnership schedule can be signed at any register office or other approved ceremony premises in England or Wales.                  

There is no requirement for any words to be said as part of the legal process of forming the civil partnership.

Ceremonies at the Town Hall

We have two rooms available for civil partnership ceremonies at the Town Hall, both of which are fully accessible to those with limited mobility.

The Register Office is suitable for small, simple ceremonies for up to six people (couple and up to four guests). Unfortunately there’s no facility to play music in this room. Ceremonies are held on Thursday mornings at 10am, 10.30am, 11am and 11.30am.

The Ceremony Suite is suitable for larger ceremonies. It has traditional decor, silk flower arrangements and the facility to play music. Monday to Friday it can seat up to 40 people and up to 70 people on Saturdays.

Ceremonies can be held in this room on the following days and times

  • 10am to 3.30pm Monday to Thursday
  • 10am to 3pm Friday
  • 10am to 3.30pm Saturday (May to September)
  • 10am to 11.30am Saturday (October to April)

You can book your ceremony for any date (apart from Christmas Day) but if the date you have chosen falls on a bank holiday the cost will be the same as a ceremony held on a Sunday.

If you want to have your ceremony in the Town Hall you’ll need to book the room you want, which includes the registrar to conduct the ceremony. You can book up to 12 months in advance of your ceremony. You’ll have to pay a non-refundable booking fee, plus the cost of the room and the registrar. This includes one copy of your civil partnership certificate. See our registration charges page for these fees. 

You must also give notice of your intention to form a civil partnership at least 29 days before the date of your ceremony. The notice is valid for 12 months, so you can’t give notice more than 12 months before the date of your ceremony.

You might also like to read our useful information for ceremonies at the Town Hall

Ceremonies in approved venues

If you want to have your ceremony at an approved venue you’ll first need to make provisional arrangements at the venue. It’s your responsibility to make sure that the venue you choose is registered or approved for ceremonies. See our list of approved ceremony premises to find out which venues in Barnsley are licensed to hold ceremonies. If the venue's not on the list, you won't be able to hold your ceremony there.

You’ll also need to to book a registrar to conduct your ceremony. You’ll have to pay a non-refundable booking fee, plus the cost of the registrar to attend. The fee includes one copy of your civil partnership certificate. See our registration charges page for these fees.

You can book your ceremony for any date (apart from Christmas Day) but if the date you have chosen falls on a bank holiday the cost will be the same as a ceremony held on a Sunday.

You can book a registrar up to three years in advance of your ceremony.

You must also give notice of your intention to form a civil partnership at least 29 days before the date of your ceremony. The notice is valid for 12 months, so you can’t give notice more than 12 months before the date of your ceremony.

You might also like to read our useful information for ceremonies at approved venues.

Paying for your ceremony

You’ll pay a non-refundable booking fee when you make your booking and you must pay your outstanding balance in one instalment at least three months before the date of your ceremony. Your balance will consist of:

  • room and registrar for Town Hall ceremonies, plus one copy of your civil partnership certificate
  • registrars attendance fee for approved venues, plus one civil partnership certificate

If we don’t receive full payment, your booking will be cancelled.

See our registration charges page for these fees.

Ceremonies outside England and Wales

If you’re forming your civil partnership outside England or Wales, different rules apply depending on the country you choose. 

You should always consult with the authorities in the country where you’re planning to form your partnership to ensure you have all the legal paperwork you need and you may also need to complete legal paperwork once you get to that country. 

You may need to provide a ‘certificate of no impediment’ which confirms there are no objections to your proposed civil partnership. If you live in Barnsley the Register Office can sometimes provide this document, however they cannot be issued for all countries due to various legislation. You’ll need to contact us to make an appointment to do this.

You should also check the GOV.UK website for further information on ceremonies outside England and Wales, and to find out if a certificate of no impediment is required.

Different regulations apply in Scotland and these can be found on the National Records of Scotland website.

Your overseas civil partnership will be recognised in the UK if you follow the correct process according to local law - you won’t have to register it in the UK.

If you’re unsure whether to have a civil partnership or marriage, the GOV.UK website gives a comparison of civil partnerships and marriages to help you to make an informed choice.

Whether you choose to form a civil partnership at Barnsley Register Office, the Ceremony Suite, an approved venue or elsewhere, we're here to help create the perfect ceremony for you.