Any venue used for carrying out of civil marriages and the registration of civil partnerships must be approved by Lambeth Council.

Any venue used for carrying out of civil marriages and the registration of civil partnerships must be approved by Lambeth Council.

Sections in this guide (click title to view)

1. Requirements

Only permanent enclosed structures of at least one room, or vessels which are permanently moored, can be approved as venues for marriage and civil partnership ceremonies.

The criteria on the following list must apply to your venue for you to be able to host marriage and civil partnership ceremonies:

  • the premises must be a seemly and dignified venue for the proceedings
  • the premises must be regularly available for use for marriage and civil partnership ceremonies
  • the premises must have the benefit of such fire precautions as may reasonably be required, and such other reasonable provision for the health and safety of persons employed in or visiting the premises
  • the premises must have no recent or continuing connection with any religion or religious practice that would be incompatible with its use as a venue for civil marriage and civil partnership proceedings
  • the room or rooms in which the proceedings are to take place must not be approved already as part of a register office
  • the room or rooms in which the proceedings are to take place must be identifiable by description as a distinct part of the premises.
    We will also expect venues seeking approval to offer suitable toilets, as well as facilities to assist disabled persons to access the premises.

Approved venues do not need to be able to offer facilities for receptions - some venues concentrate solely on ceremonies. Any venue that does wish to host receptions may need to be licensed to provide entertainment and supply alcohol.

See our alcohol, entertainment and late night refreshment guide for further details.

The Register Office will provide the officials to conduct and register a marriage or civil partnership - the approved premises will be responsible for providing hosts and catering staff as appropriate.

2. Application process and fees

All applications must be accompanied by a plan of the premises marked with all of the rooms where proceedings may occur, and payment of the application fee.

Fees

Our fees for marriage/civil partnership venues, are:

  • Application for approval of venue £978.
  • Renewal of approval of venue £978.
  • Review of committee decision £134.

3. Venue inspection

Once we receive your application, our licensing officers will arrange to inspect your venue. This inspection will include checks of the fire precautions and safety provisions, and any associated paperwork (inspection certificates, test logs etc).

You will also be required to advertise your application, by placing a public notice in a local newspaper or similar publication. A template for this notice is included with the application form.

Objections to an application for approval of a venue may be made by any person within 21 days of publication of the public notice in a newspaper.

4. Reviewing applications

Approval will be granted if the venue satisfies the requirements set out above and after considering any objections received and any other issues raised during the application process.

Conditions are usually imposed on approval. These will include a number of standard conditions, as well as any other conditions necessary to ensure that the premises remain suitable.

Approvals are valid for three years, and an application to renew an approval can be made up to 12 months before it expires. The process to renew an approval is similar to that for a new approval.

5. Review a refused application

If you are unhappy with our decision to refuse an application for approval, or to attach non-standard conditions to an approval, or to revoke an existing approval, you can request a review of that decision.

A written request must be sent to us to begin this process, accompanied by the appropriate fee. No fee is payable if the approval is revoked. A second hearing will then be arranged to review the previous decision.

No ceremonies can take place before an application has been approved.

6. Responsible person

Once a venue is approved, you must nominate someone as a responsible person. This individual should hold a position at the premises that will allow them to ensure that any conditions on the approval are being followed.

The licensing authority must be notified if the individual in this role changes.

7. Approved premises register

A register detailing all of the premises approved for marriage and civil partnership ceremonies in Lambeth is available for inspection via appointment:

Licensing Section
Ivor House
1-9 Acre Lane
London
SW2 5TB

and can be inspected from 9am to 5pm.