Marriage arrangements and ceremony
Congratulations! You have now made a decision to marry.
We will help make your day special. Not only are we here to guide you through the legal requirements ensuring that your wedding is carried out within the law, we also aim to make your ceremony personal to you.
From the simple dignity of Lambeth Register Office to the futuristic, breathtaking experience of being married on the London Eye - the choice is yours.
Making a booking
You must first contact the district or venue where you wish to get married and make a provisional booking for your chosen date.
After this you should then give a notice of your intention to marry in the district in which you live.
A notice of marriage is valid for one year, but it is advisable to make a booking for your marriage as soon as you can, particularly if you intend to be married in one of our approved premises.
Legal preliminaries to marriage
You may marry at any Register Office or Approved Premises of your choice in England and Wales.
Legal notice of marriage
To give your notice of intention to marry, you must have lived in the Lambeth district for seven full days before the notice is given. The notice can only be given on the eighth day. If one or both of you live elsewhere, you will need to give notice in person at the Register Office in the district where you live.
For example, if you have just moved in to a property or arrived into the country on Wednesday 1 June, your seven days only starts on Thursday 2 June. Your seven days will be complete on 8 June and you will give your notice on 9 June. If you live in Lambeth and you are not subject to immigration control, you will be giving your notice here.
You must have decided on the venue for your wedding before you attend to give your notice.
If one or both of you are non-EU citizens then you will each need to give notice to the Superintendent Registrar of a designated Register Office.
After giving your notice
You have now had your interview with the Superintendent Registrar and given your notice. Your notice will be displayed for 15 clear days in a folder where members of the general public can view. This is a legal requirement.
After 15 clear days have elapsed, Lambeth Register Office will issue certificates of authority which are required for a legal marriage. You will need one certificate for the bride and one certificate for the groom. For example, if you both give notice on 9 June, the earliest date you can get married is 25 June.
Make an appointment
You will need to make an appointment to give notice of your intention to marry.
We offer appointments Monday to Friday, from 9am to 3.30pm. Please note that the Register Office is closed on the first Wednesday of every month until 1pm.
Please call us on 020 7926 9420 to make an appointment.
The statutory fee for giving notice of marriage is £35.00 per person which is payable on the day the notice is given.
Documents you need to show us
Please bring with you:
- evidence of nationality (a passport is ideal)
- proof of your address
- evidence of the termination of your previous marriage if you have been married before.
Proof of identity and nationality
When giving notice you will need to provide proof of your identity and nationality.
Passports are ideal for proving your identity, but if you do not have a current valid passport we will advise you as to what other forms of identity are acceptable.
It would also be helpful if you could bring with you proof of your present address.
Because of changes to immigration laws, those parties subject to immigration control wishing to give notice to marry or form a civil partnership must do so at a specially designated register office, such as Lambeth Register Office.
Persons under immigration control can go to any designated register office but they must attend with their partner.
A person is subject to immigration control if he/she requires leave to enter or remain in the UK. Effectively this applies to all nationals of a foreign country i.e. a non-European Economic Area country.
EEA countries are those listed below. Nationals from these countries are NOT subject to immigration control.
Austria, Belgium, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Irish Republic, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovak Republic, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland*, United Kingdom
*Switzerland is NOT an EEA country but Swiss nationals have the same free movement as EEA nationals
From Monday 9 May 2011 for anyone subject to immigration control, the situation has now changed.
- You will both need to attend a designated register office if one or both of you are subject to immigration control.
- You will need documents that prove your nationality and identity - valid passports ideally but it is your responsibility to provide sufficient evidence.
- If you are a foreign national and do not have a valid passport you may have a National ID card or a Home Office travel document.
- You will need to provide proof of residence - if it is a utility bill it will need to be recently dated.
Lambeth is a designated office.
If you have been married before and divorced you will need to show a decree absolute of divorce bearing the court's original stamp.
If your husband or wife died we will need to see a certified copy of their death certificate.
Change of name
If you have ever changed your name by Deed Poll, Change of Name Deed or by Statutory Declaration, the documents will need to be shown.
If either of you is under eighteen, we will need your parents or guardians consent to the marriage.
If your parents are divorced we may need to see court orders. The Superintendent Registrar will advise you.
Personalising your ceremony
Once you have given your notice of marriage, we can give you a copy of the marriage notice.
Now is the chance for you to make this the perfect ceremony for you both!
We can offer you a choice of vows and readings or you may wish to add some of your own. If you do so we will need to approve them in advance.
Any readings will be by a guest, the bride or groom and we can advise you as to their place within the ceremony.
Please remember, any readings, music or vows must not have any religious connotation.
Lambeth's Register Office
The Register Office ceremony
Marriage ceremonies are held here from Monday to Saturday, mornings and afternoons.
Background music is played whilst your guests are assembling and during the signing of the register. If you wish to choose your own music, you may bring your own CD.
You may wish to say extra vows to one another or ask a guest to give a reading.
It is important that any music, readings or vows do not have any religious connotation. These must be approved by the Superintendent Registrar before the wedding.
Lambeth is fortunate with its central location on the South Bank of the River Thames to have such a wide variety of premises for you to choose from, including the London Eye and The Kia Oval.
Go to the Marriage and civil partnerships approved premises page for more details.
Getting married in a church or other religious building
If you are planning a church wedding you must first have the permission of the minister or governing body before you can make any other arrangements.
Church of England
If you wish to be married in the Church of England generally you will only be able to do so if you or your partner live in the parish. You should first speak to the Vicar.
If he is able to marry you, he will arrange for Banns to be called on three Sundays before the day of your ceremony or for a common licence to be issued and there is normally no need to involve the Superintendent Registrar.
Other church or religious building
If you are getting married in any other church or religious building you will need to give a notice of marriage to the Superintendent Registrar of the district in which you reside.
Some churches, but not the Church of England, require the attendance of a Registrar at a wedding whereas some others have their own Registrar (an Authorised Person). If you need a Registrar from this office to attend your wedding you should book this with us as far in advance as possible.
Who to contact
Any member of the Register Office team will be happy to help you.
Lambeth Town Hall
Phone: 020 7926 9420