There are many ways to make your Southampton ceremony more personal to your and your partner

Music and readings

Choosing your own music or including readings which can be read by a guest or the Superintendent Registrar can make your ceremony more personal to you.

If you wish us to play your choice of music for the ceremony, please bring this in at least one month before your ceremony. Alternatively, you can arrange for one of your guests to play music using an MP3 player, which we offer the facility for.

Any readings and music for the ceremony must be received by us at least one month before the ceremony date so we can ensure that they are suitable.

Please be aware that there must be no religious ceremony words and phrases, or music with a religious connection within the civil marriage ceremony.

Legal vows

During your marriage, you are required to say the words of declaration, confirming that you are free to marry, and the contracting words which state that you are marrying each other.

You are able to choose which vows you say, but you must choose the same words as your partner.

There are three options for both declaratory and contractual vows, and they are all available to read online.

The Superintended Registrar will guide you through everything you need to do or say, so there is no need to learn or write down your vows.

You must indicate your choice of vows on your Notes for Ceremony form.

Exchange of rings

There is no legal requirement to exchange rings. choose some additional vows to say to each other from the following options.

Should you wish to exchange rings, you may also wish to say a few extra words to each other about the promises you are making. There are 10 vow options for exchanging rings, and all can be read online.

Alternatively, you may wish to say a few words that you have written yourselves. They cannot contain any religious reference or link to any religious ceremony. These will need to be checked by the registrar at least one month prior to the ceremony.


You are required to bring two people with you to be witness to your marriage.

The witnesses will need to be present throughout the ceremony.

A witness can be a friend or a relative; however, they must be old enough to understand the legal capacity of the ceremony and must be able to understand English.

Should either of the couple have difficult understanding English, then the couple will need to provide a competent translator. The translator will need to sign the register as a witness to the ceremony.

When you have made your decisions, please complete a Notes for Ceremony form at least one month before your ceremony date.
Please do not complete this form if your ceremony is in the small Register Office Room as these ceremonies are pre-set.

The Registrar will use your completed form to plan and organise your ceremony.

Complete your Notes for Ceremony form

A guide to completing your Notes for Ceremony form is also available.