Births, deaths and marriages

Working towards larger wedding and civil partnership ceremonies

There will no longer be a maximum number cap for attendees set out in law. Instead, the number of attendees at weddings, civil partnerships and receptions will be determined by how many people the venue or space can safely accommodate. This will be based on the COVID-19 risk assessment of the venue or outdoor space, and the measures put in place to limit the spread of COVID-19.

The Bootham Suite at York Register Office offers a small ceremony with up to 8 guests or a large ceremony with up to 40 guests plus the couple and one professional photographer.

If your ceremony is taking place at one of our venues, your venue wedding coordinator will need to tell you the maximum number of people who will be able to attend as this will be dependent on their own COVID-19 risk assessment.

This guidance has been drafted on the basis of the scientific evidence available and will continue to be updated in line with the changing situation and as more data becomes available on COVID-19.


Ceremonies at our Bootham Office

Arrival time

If you are being seen separately we ask that one of you arrives 20 minutes before the ceremony start time and the other 10 minutes before the ceremony start time.

The guests can arrive 10-15 minutes before the ceremony time. Please do not arrive to earlier as you may be asked to come back. This is to reduce the risk of transmitting Covid-19.

If your ceremony is at one of our venues please speak to them to make your arrangements as they may differ from our office.

We recommend that you and your guests bring umbrellas and coats as the waiting area is currently outside in the garden. We do not have an area in the building large enough to allow guests to wait and maintain social distancing.

Traffic and parking in York

Traffic can be very busy in York and it can be a challenge to find car parking spaces especially as there are public events being held in York throughout the year.

Please bear this in mind and allow time to arrive and park in York. We do not have any parking available at our office.

Pre-interview

We will have a staff member there to meet you and take you into the room for your pre-interview with the Registrars.

If you do not want your ceremony to take place within the restrictions you can contact us to reschedule by emailing ceremonies@york.gov.uk

We apologise for any inconvenience caused.

Read the latest Government information.

Giving away the Bride (or Groom)

We have an aisle so that one of the wedding party can be escorted into the room however please be aware that due to the size of the room and the layout it isn’t possible to maintain social distancing as you make your way to the front. If you would prefer to maintain social distance measures please make the team aware by emailing ceremonies@york.gov.uk and you can enter a different way with no aisle.

No additional guests to attend the premises

Additional guests cannot be invited to congregate outside of the building or in our gardens for the duration of the ceremony or afterwards to congratulate you. This is to prevent people gathering and congregating together and to ensure that the entrance to the building is free for people to enter and exit safely.

Photographers

Photo opportunities will be limited to those taken by guests or a photographer from their seats. We are unable to provide photo opportunities with an additional register. You can have up to 20 minutes in our gardens to take photos if you wish.

Translator

If you require the use of a translator, they are required to sign the register as a witness to the marriage, and must be included in the maximum number of persons who can attend your ceremony.

COVID-19 symptoms

If you become symptomatic or are isolating you must contact us to reschedule your ceremony. If witnesses or guests become symptomatic or are isolating they must not attend the ceremony.

Ceremony planner

Make sure you return your completed ceremony planner at least 14 days before your ceremony so that we can prepare your ceremony. You can email your ceremony planner to ceremonies@york.gov.uk.

Face masks

To safeguard our team and to respect other visitors who may be more vulnerable, we politely ask you and your guests to wear a face covering when attending a registration office. The couple will not be required to wear a face covering in the ceremony.  Other venues such as a hotel will have their own rules.

Readings and Music

You can choose up to two readings or poems as part of your ceremony. You must include a copy of each reading when you return your ceremony planner.

We will play suitable music when you are signing the register. Speak to your venue about music arrangements if your ceremony is not at our Bootham office.

Like other businesses tackling this issue, we’re following guidelines from the Department for Health. This includes an enhanced cleaning schedule which is one of the best preventative measures to keep everyone safe.

Ceremonies at our other venues (not at our Bootham Office)

  • Arrival time - please ensure you arrange your arrival time with the ceremony coordinator at the venue. We usually arrive approximately 25 minutes before your ceremony is due to start for your pre interview
  • Pre-interview- please ensure you arrange the arrival time with their representative
  • Maximum number of guests - you will need to agree the maximum number of guests with your venue. Please speak to your venue coordinator for advice

General information for all ceremonies

Social distancing

If you are having the large ceremony in our Bootham Office please note that with 40 guests attending there is no space for social distancing between you so bear that in mind if you have someone who needs to social distance.

Ceremony planner

Make sure you return your completed ceremony planner at least 14 days before your ceremony so that we can prepare your ceremony. (You can email your ceremony planner to ceremonies@york.gov.uk.

Only the guests at your ceremony will be allowed to attend our venue and we cannot accommodate additional family or friends, even in our outside spaces. Your ceremony may not be able to go ahead until any additional guests have left the grounds.

We recommend that you and your guests bring umbrellas and coats as the waiting area is currently outside in the garden. We don't have an area in the building large enough to allow guests to wait and maintain 2m social distancing.

Certificates

You can order your copy certificates online by visiting York Register Office Certificates.

Please allow 10 days from the date of your ceremony before placing your order.

Rescheduling or cancelling ceremonies

If you have a ceremony booked with us and want to reschedule or cancel please email ceremonies@york.gov.uk.

You'll need to provide the following information:

  • your full names
  • your contact telephone number and email address
  • current booking details - date, time and venue
  • new preferred booking details (if rescheduling) - date, time and venue
  • confirmation you want to cancel your booking (if cancelling)

We'll contact you to confirm arrangements as soon as we can. Due to the high volume of enquiries there may be a delay in our response, however we aim to contact you within 10 days from receiving your enquiry.

We sincerely apologise for any inconvenience this may cause you.

Also see

York Register Office

56 Bootham, York, YO30 7DA

Telephone: 01904 654477