Places of worship or religious buildings which are not churches and chapels of the Church of England need to be licensed to enable marriages to take place there.
A list of all places certified for religious worship is held by the General Register Office.
You can apply to register your building to enable marriages to take place.
Registering and certifying a building to hold marriages
If you want to get a building certified to enable marriages to take place, you’ll need to complete 2 steps:
Place of worship
Firstly you’ll need to apply for the building to be certified as a place of worship, if this hasn’t already been done
The minister, proprietor or trustee of the building will need to apply to the superintendent registrar and provide:
- 2 copies of the completed application form (form 76)
- a floor plan showing which rooms will be used for worship
- an average weekly timetable of how the building will be used. This is to satisfy the GRO that the building is mainly for religious worship
- the statutory registration fee
Registering to hold marriages
Secondly you’ll need to provide:
- 2 copies of the completed application form (form 78). This form must be signed by 20 separate householders who regard the building as their usual place of worship and countersigned by the minister, proprietor or trustee of the building
- the statutory registration fee (which covers the cost of the legal requirement of public notice in a local newspaper and the London Gazette)
- If you’re applying for a building to be certified as a place of worship and registered for marriages at the same time, then you can submit all the information together. The forms for registration of the building for marriages must not be dated prior to the form for certification as a place of worship
What happens after registering a building?
Once we’ve received your information we’ll send it to the General Register Office to be authorised.
Once a building has been certified for worship it will be recorded in the list of places for religious worship held by the GRO and one of the completed forms will be returned to you
When a building is registered for marriages, the superintendent registrar will send a certificate of registration to the person who countersigned the application. Public notice of the registration must also be given in a local newspaper and the London Gazette
Buildings no longer in use as a place of worship
If a building stops being used as a place of worship we must legally inform the GRO. You’ll need to complete a form (form 77) which can be signed by any person who can represent the congregation
If a building is demolished and rebuilt on the same foundations within a year and will be used by the same congregation, then the certification and registration will not be affected
You can find out more information and advice on the gov.uk website.