Births, deaths and marriages

Safe wedding and civil partnership ceremonies

Weddings and civil partnership ceremonies will be taking place in a COVID-secure environment at our Bootham Office, and at our registered venues, subject to special terms which ensure the safety of couples, their guests and our staff.

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Ceremonies at The Bootham Suite

The maximum number of guests you can have in our Ceremony Room, The Bootham Suite, is 8 - not including the couple. This allows for 2 witnesses and 6 guests, and includes children.

Your witnesses can be relatives or friends, ideally over 18, and must be able to speak and understand English.

No additional guests will be allowed, and any extra guests should not wait outside, due to the need for social distancing space for other appointments.

Ceremony arrival time

To reduce the risk of spreading the virus we need to ensure a clean down can take place after each ceremony.

Therefore the ceremony time that was agreed when you booked is now your arrival time. Please ensure you arrive on time to reduce the risk of mixing with other people attending another ceremony or an appointment.

Health and safety restrictions

You, your witnesses and guests will need to adhere to our health and safety restrictions when you attend your ceremony.

If you or any of your wedding party have shown symptoms of coronavirus, or you live with someone who has symptoms or has tested positive, you must not attend the ceremony and please contact us to re arrange your ceremony.

Symptoms include:

  • high temperature
  • new, continuous cough
  • loss or change to your sense of smell or taste

No person will be permitted to enter the building if they show any symptoms of COVID-19 or are currently quarantining.

2 metre distancing will be maintained at all times in line with government guidelines and health and safety requirements.

Please arrive at the agreed arrival time for your ceremony, please do not arrive too early or too late. See details of the location of York Register Office.

On arrival please head to the back of the Register Office and one of the team will greet you. There’s a covered waiting area for your witnesses and guests in our garden.

Please use the hand gel provided when you enter and leave the building.

A member of our staff will greet you and take you both to the ceremony room for the pre-ceremony interview. Once this has been completed your witnesses and guests will be invited to join you in the ceremony room. It is not possible for the couple to make separate entrances into the ceremony room.

To ensure your health and safety, we will be cleaning the ceremony room between ceremonies, so please ensure that you, your witnesses and guests are on time.

If you’re exchanging rings or gifts, please have them in your possession before the ceremony starts. Only you will pick up your partner’s ring and place it on their finger.

We’ll provide wipes and hand sanitizer stations for your use.

You’re welcome to kiss each other at the end of the ceremony, if you so wish, but for your own safety we advise you not to kiss, hug or shake the hand of any other member of your party unless they are living in your immediate household.

A separate pen will be supplied for you and your witnesses when signing the register. These will be disinfected between each use.

At the end of the ceremony the guests will exit as directed by the registrar. They will be followed by the couple. Please ensure that all personal items are removed from the ceremony room as there will be no opportunity to return to collect them after the ceremony has ended.

The ceremony room will be ventilated throughout the ceremony.

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Face coverings

Guests are legally required to wear a face mask or face covering when attending a ceremony or an appointment.

The couple being married or joined in a partnership are not required to wear face coverings, unless they wish to do so. The registrars conducting the ceremony may wear a face covering.

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Wedding venue capacities

Up to 15 people can attend a marriage or civil partnership, where this can be safely accommodated with social distancing in a COVID-19 secure venue.

This maximum number includes all those at the ceremony, including the couple, witnesses, and guests. However, any staff or officials in attendance are not included as part of the limit on attendees.

To understand the maximum amount of guests allowable for your ceremony, please contact your venue.

View a list of approved venues for marriage ceremonies in York, including contact details for registered venues.

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Readings, poems and music

You can have 1 reading or poem as part of your ceremony. The guest who delivers the reading will need to remain at their seat when delivering your reading of choice.

Music at the Bootham Suite

We'll play suitable music when you are signing the register, however if you would like to bring a device to play your own music you can. Please be aware that our staff will take no responsibility in using your device and you must make suitable arrangements for this with one of your guests beforehand. Please complete the music choice section on your ceremony planner (page 7).

Music at one of our venues

For your music choices please speak to your venue and complete the music choice section on your ceremony planner (page 7), so we have a copy of the music you have chosen.

No music or readings or poems can have any religious connotations, so please send us a copy of any songs or readings when you complete your ceremony planner.

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Ceremony photographs and videos

You can have a photographer or videographer, as long as they are one of your guests

The photographer must remain stationary at the ceremony. Guests can take photographs from their seats. Please do not ask the registrars to take any photos for you.

The videographer must arrive with you at your allocated arrival time and they will be given the opportunity to set up. Please note the video equipment has to remain stationary and will not be moved until the end of the ceremony. Please make the staff aware before the day of your ceremony if you plan on having your ceremony recorded.

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Postponements and cancellations

If you would like to postpone your ceremony please contact us by emailing ceremonies@york.gov.uk and include your names, date, time, venue and a contact number and we will be in touch. Please note we are not able to offer new dates until after Thursday 1 October 2020 onwards but you will be given priority.

We continue to offer couples the chance to postpone their weddings at no extra cost should they wish to in the current circumstances.

Cancelling a ceremony

We've continued to rearrange bookings for those who have been affected by the lockdown and are committed to offering couples the opportunity to get married or enter into a civil partnership. However, if you would like to cancel your ceremony please email ceremonies@york.gov.uk and include:

  • your full names
  • ceremony date and time
  • venue of your ceremony

We'll then action your request.

If you are cancelling your ceremony due to the pandemic you will receive the £50 non-refundable deposit back as a good will gesture during these exceptional times.

Postponement of ceremonies due to coronavirus

Please note that this booking is subject to the Government and General Register Office guidelines, and you will be asked to postpone this ceremony should they instruct that no ceremonies can take place due to Coronavirus.

If this occurs we’ll be in contact with you as soon as we can to discuss your options.

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New ceremony bookings

For completely new bookings please contact us by emailing ceremonies@york.gov.uk and provide a contact number so we can call you back. Please note that due to the high volume of enquiries there may be a delay in our response however we aim to contact will within 10 days from receiving your enquiry.

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Issuing of certificates

Your certificate will be posted first class within 15 working days of your ceremony taking place and will be sent to the address we have on record for you.

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Also see

York Register Office

56 Bootham, York, YO30 7DA

Telephone: 01904 654477