Arranging your wedding

Firstly you need to decide what kind of marriage ceremony you would like to have. In England and Wales you can choose to have either a religious ceremony or a civil ceremony.  There are many different places you can choose to get married. 

You can get married in the UK if you’re:

  • 16 or over (parental consent is required if you’re under 18)
  • legally free to marry
  • not closely related to the person you intend to marry

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 weddings due to take place between Thursday 5 November and Wednesday 2 December 2020 will now be unable to take place. This affects all weddings 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

Small weddings and civil partnership ceremonies can take place until Wednesday 4 November with some restrictions. These include 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 8 August new government guidance was introduced about wearing a face covering in public buildings. This means that everyone who is attending a ceremony at the Town Hall, except the couple getting married, must wear a face covering.

From Monday 28 September weddings, civil partnerships and receptions are limited to a maximum number of 15 people. This does not include the registrars, photographer or anyone working at the venue.

The reduction in numbers won't affect any wedding and civil partnership ceremonies booked in the Town Hall, as the venue only has the capacity to take 16 people safely. 

It does affect wedding and civil partnership ceremonies, and receptions, that are booked in approved premises. Our registrars' service is contacting people who have ceremonies booked in approved premises between now and the end of March 2021.

We can support you to make a decision about whether you want your wedding to go ahead. 

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 

Approved premises

If you're getting married in approved premises, such as a hotel or museum, you'll also need to contact the venue, for advice about their restrictions and any limits on the number of people who can attend your ceremony. 

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

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

How to book your ceremony

You can use our online form to book a ceremony from 1 October onwards, but this may be subject to change following government advice about COVID-19.

To arrange your wedding you'll need to:

  • decide on the type of ceremony you want - civil or religious
  • choose and book your venue
  • book a registrar if required
  • give notice of marriage at your local register office (unless you're marrying in the Church of England)
  • pay for your ceremony
  • have your ceremony at least 29 days after giving notice

You can use the online form below to book a registrar to attend your wedding at an approved venue, or to book the Town Hall.

You'll need to read the information below about choosing a venue and arranging a wedding before you make your booking.

Please note that this booking is only the first step to getting married and doesn't guarantee that your ceremony will take place. Your ceremony can only take place once you've both given notice of marriage in the district where you live, at least 29 days before your ceremony date.

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.

Attending your appointment

Due to COVID-19 restrictions and to allow for social distancing, you'll need to wait outside the Town Hall reception until you're called in for your appointment. The entrance is at the side of the building, next to the fountains. Please don't arrive too early, as we won't be able to let you inside the building. There's a strict one way system in place for your safety and to minimise any contact with other customers and staff. 

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.

Religious ceremony in the Church of England

You should contact your local church and once the vicar has agreed to marry you they will deal with all the legal formalities involved and arrange for banns to be called, or for a common licence to be issued. You don’t usually need to give notice with the register office if you’re getting married in an Anglican church; the official performing the ceremony will register your marriage.

Religious ceremony in other churches or religious buildings

Places of worship and religious buildings which are not churches or chapels of the Church of England need to be licensed to enable marriages to take place there. You can find a list of all licensed places on the GRO website.

If you’re intending to hold your ceremony in a religious building or church of another denomination, it must normally be situated in the district where you or your partner live, unless either of you normally worship in that building. In this case it's advisable to provide a letter of evidence from the minister of the church that it is your usual place of worship, when you give notice of marriage.

Some religious buildings require a registrar to be present at the ceremony and others have their own authorised person. If you need a registrar to attend you'll need to contact us to book this and pay a non-refundable booking fee plus the cost of the registrar. See our registration charges page for these fees. You can book a registrar up to three years in advance of your ceremony.

You’ll also need to give notice of marriage in the district where you live.

Civil ceremony at the Town Hall

We have two rooms available for weddings at the Town Hall which are both fully accessible to those with limited mobility.

The Register Office is suitable for small simple ceremonies with no music, for up to six people (the couple and up to four guests). Ceremonies are held on Thursday mornings at 10am, 10.30am, 11am and 11.30am.

The Ceremony Suite is suitable for larger ceremonies of up to 70 people. The suite has traditional decor, silk flower arrangements and music can be played. 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've 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 marriage certificate. You can also get additional certificates if you need them but there is a charge for these. See our registration charges page for these fees. 

You must also give notice of marriage 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

Civil ceremony at an approved venue

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 wedding ceremonies. See our list of approved ceremony premises to find out which venues in Barnsley are licensed to hold wedding ceremonies. If the venue's not on the list, you won't be able to hold your ceremony there.

You’ll also need to contact us 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 marriage certificate. You can also get additional certificates if you need them but there is a charge for these. 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.

If your wedding will take place in another location outside of Barnsley, you’ll need to contact the local register office of the town or city where you want to be married.

We understand that you will be keen to make your ceremony as meaningful to yourselves as possible and you may have your own ideas for content. Please contact us no later than eight weeks before your wedding date so that we can make arrangements to discuss your ceremony content.

You must also give notice of marriage 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 certificate
  • registrar's attendance fee for approved venues or religious buildings, plus one certificate
  • cost of any additional certificates you've ordered

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

See our registration charges page for details of the fees.

Non-European Nationals

If either of you are not UK or European nationals, different rules apply to arranging your wedding and you're advised to read the marriage information on GOV.UK.

You must give notice of marriage at a designated Register Office. You must have both lived in England or Wales for at least seven consecutive days before you can give notice.

After you've both given your notice of marriage you must wait at least 29 days before your ceremony can take place.

It’s advisable to allow plenty of time to give notice of marriage and to make sure all immigration clearance is obtained if required, before your ceremony.

Ceremonies outside England and Wales

If you’re getting married 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 get married, 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 marriage. 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 marriage 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 have any children with your partner

If you and your partner have any children together you should make arrangements to re-register their birth(s) following your marriage. You can make an appointment to re-register births in Barnsley. If your children weren’t originally registered in Barnsley you should contact the Register Office where the registration originally took place.

British Sign Language - BSL

It's important that a trained BSL interpreter is present at your ceremony if you have a hearing impairment. BSL sign language is strongly recommended to avoid any miscommunication through the ceremony.

You will need to provide your own sign language interpreter who will also be a witness to the ceremony.