​Changes in service due to Coronavirus

Our services, including births, deaths, weddings and civil partnerships are affected by the coronavirus pandemic.

Please check the latest information:

See current changes to the Registration Service


​We are delighted that you are planning to hold your ceremony in Northamptonshire.

Everyone’s ceremony is special and we will help to make your day a very happy occasion for you, your family and friends.

In Northamptonshire we have over 80 approved venues providing charming and memorable settings for all our ceremonies. Many approved venues will also arrange your reception. This website also contains details of the facilities at our registration offices for your special day.

All non-religious marriage ceremonies in the county are conducted by Northamptonshire County Council’s Registration Service ceremony team. Our staff are dedicated to making your day in Northamptonshire memorable.

Ceremonies taking place from 4 May 2021

The Civil Partnerships, Marriages and Deaths Act successfully completed its passage through Parliament on 15 March 2019 and attained Royal Assent on 26 March 2019.

The Act provides for the modernisation of marriage registration for the first time since 1837. It removes the need for paper based registers and introduces a marriage schedule system and electronic register.

The electronic register will also allow for the names of the parents of the couple (mother / father / parent) to be included in the marriage entry and on marriage certificates, instead of only their fathers' names, as is currently the case.

The main changes couples will see:

Anyone getting married in England or Wales on or after 4 May 2021 will need a marriage schedule instead of authorities to marry. These will be printed by the Register Office in the district where the marriage is taking place, or, for certain weddings, be provided by the Church of England.

  • The Register Office or Clergy will ask the couple to check the schedule carefully before performing the ceremony
  • The schedule will allow for mothers' or other parents' details to be included on the day
  • The signed marriage schedule must be returned as soon as possible after the wedding to the Register Office in the district the marriage took place for the details to be entered into the electronic register
  • No marriage certificate will be received on the day, though you may receive a commemorative certificate, which is not a legal document
  • All marriage certificates will need to be ordered and issued by the register office in the district where the marriage took place.
  • Regulations to confirm this were laid in Parliament on 22 February 2021 and will come into force on 4 May 2021.

Designated office appointments / weddings for foreign nationals

Unfortunately we are unable to offer designated office appointments until 1 July 2021. If you require an appointment earlier then other local registration services may be able to accomodate this.

Immigration law changes from 1 July 2021

Guidance on GOV.UK - Marriages and civil partnerships in England and Wales - GOV.UK has been updated with regards to immigration changes relating to EU Exit which take effect from 1 July 2021.

What is the difference between a marriage and a civil partnership?


Marriage, according to the law of this country, is the union of two people of the same or opposite sex voluntarily entered into for life to the exclusion of all others.

This is made by a verbal contract between two people and is currently recorded in a marriage register. The contract is made by the couple saying declaratory and contracting words.

A ceremony is required. You cannot currently convert a marriage to a civil partnership.

Civil partnership 

A civil partnership is a written contract formed by declaration between two people giving the partners similar legal rights as married couples. The declaration can be said out loud or read by the partners before signing. No ceremony is required although one can be held after the declaration has been made.

From 31 December 2019 same and opposite sex partners can form a civil partnership. Same sex partners can currently convert a civil partnership to a marriage.

We recommend you seek independent advice if you are not sure whether a marriage or a civil partnership best suits your wishes. There is a more information on the GOV.UK website describing the difference between a marriage and a civil partnership.

You can choose to have a Civil partnership Registration that takes place in the registrar’s office with two adult witnesses or choose to have a ceremony in one of our venues.

​We offer two different options to suit your requirements and budget:

  • A marriage or civil partnership registration

    ​A registration is a basic legal marriage. This is suitable for you where budget could be a major consideration or if you would like a more intimate ceremony just for yourselves and two adult witnesses but no additional guests.

    The registration is delivered with the same high degree of solemnity and dignity as with all of our services and is focused on the legal requirements of a marriage.

    The marriage registration takes place in a small registration room, where computers and files are in situ. Guests will be limited to two witnesses only.

    Registrations are only available on weekdays and last up to 30 minutes.

    Make an enquiry
  • A marriage or civil partnership ceremony

    ​A ceremony is designed for you when the celebratory requirements outweigh all other considerations. A ceremony is ideal if you want a more bespoke and glamorous celebration for yourselves, family members and your guests.

    The ceremony includes:

    • An extensive choice of registration office ceremony rooms or any of the approved venues across the county
    • Personalised ceremony content
    • Ceremony planning facility
    • Choices of readings and additional promises
    • Music, either from our standard collection or from your own playlist of meaningful and memorable music
    • Rings handed to the registrar during the ceremony by the ring bearer
    • Your event will last up to 60 minutes

    There is a wide choice of ceremony availability for marriages and civil partnerships covering weekdays, weekends, locations and times.

    Make an enquiry

Following the introduction of the Marriages (Same Sex Couples) Act 2013, we have summarised reference to marriage and/or civil partnerships to marriages alone. There are significant differences between marriage and civil partnership in law.