How many guests am I allowed?
The Golden Jubilee Room has a capacity of 55 guests, and can accommodate 10 more standing. The Magnolia Room holds just 10 guests. There is no facility for guests to stand in the Magnolia Room, as we must comply with our fire, health and safety regulations. The number restriction must include photographers and musicians.
What happens if I arrive late?
There is likely to be more than one ceremony on that day. It is important that you are on time as The Superintendent Registrar will start the ceremony at the time you have booked. If you arrive late, the Superintendent Registrar will not be able to delay the ceremony, therefore you and your guests should allow extra time to travel into the city and find appropriate parking.
I know we have to be interviewed before the ceremony but we do not want to see each other until we enter the ceremony room. What time do we need to arrive?
The groom (or party one) should arrive 20 minutes before the ceremony. The Registrar will then take them into the private interview room to check that the personal details are correct ready for the ceremony. This also gives you the opportunity to ask any last minute questions about the ceremony. The first party will then be escorted to the ceremony room. The bride (or party two) should arrive 10 minutes before the ceremony. While the Registrar is checking the personal details in the private interview room, the Superintendent Registrar will be seating the guests.
However, many couples do not wish to be kept apart before the ceremony and often arrive together. In this case, please arrive 20 minutes before hand, and the Registrar will interview you together.
How does the parking work?
Guests attending ceremonies at Southampton Register Office are kindly asked not to park in our car park as spaces are very limited. Parking is available for one ceremony car only, and must be parked in a marked bay (larger cars and limousines will need to park outside on Bugle Street). We ask that you make your guests aware of alternative parking nearby.
There is one disabled bay inside the Register Office gates and one just outside on the street. If they are both taken, you will need to find alternative parking.
Is there disabled access?
Both the Golden Jubilee Room and the Magnolia Room are on ground floor, with easy access for guests.
Can I bring anything to decorate the ceremony room?
The rooms are already decorated for you with flower arrangements around the room. As there will be more than one ceremony that day we do not have time for personal decorations to be installed and removed for each ceremony. For fire, health and safety reasons we cannot allow a carpet to be put down or for any candles to be lit.
How does the music work? Do I need to bring a device?
It is usual to have three pieces of music for your ceremony. This would mean something played for the big entrance, for the signing of the paperwork, and for the exit of the happy couple. The music should be suitable for a ceremony and have no religious meaning or references.
If you would like to provide a CD or USB stick with your choices on, the Registrar will play the music for you. The CD or USB stick is brought with you on the day of the ceremony, as we don’t have the facility to store this for you in advance. If you would like to use a phone or MP3 player, then one of your guests should take responsibility for playing the music through our system. Phones are usually attached to the music system ready to play.
I would like to hire a harpist. Can the harp get to the ceremony room easily?
Harps vary in size, but can usually fit in the Golden Jubilee Room. There is not enough space to fit a musician in the Magnolia Room. Southampton Registration Services cannot accept any liability for damages to musical equipment whilst on the premises.
Can we take photographs or make a video recording of the ceremony?
Taking photographs is encouraged during the ceremony, providing that it does not disrupt the ceremony or distract the Registrar. Your guests will not be allowed to take photographs of the signing of the legal paperwork, but we will set up a mock signing at the end for you to continue with your pictures. You are welcome to film or record the ceremony, but you must gain the permission of the staff before the ceremony, making it very clear where the recording equipment is positioned. Afterwards, ceremony parties usually enjoy photographs in the old courtyard under the arches which provide a beautiful backdrop for you.
Why can't I have anything religious in my ceremony?
As the ceremony is a civil ceremony we are not allowed to have any words, music or actions that are religious. This means that we cannot include words from the Book of Common Prayer, the Bible or other religious books, and we cannot allow the playing of a hymn or any lighting of candles during the ceremony. You are, of course, allowed to have civil readings and music to enhance your ceremony. There are plenty of options for you to choose available online, and as long as they are suitable for the ceremony, they really do make your ceremony more individual.
Can I have a religious blessing as part of the ceremony?
Unfortunately, we cannot have any religious content in the ceremony. Many couples who would like a religious blessing, decide to arrange for their minister of religion to conduct a religious blessing at their church or temple afterwards. This is a lovely way to continue the celebrations once you have left the Westgate Hall, and would give you real flexibility. A religious blessing cannot take place before a civil ceremony.
What traditions can I have as part of my ceremony?
You are welcome to add any detail into your ceremony as long as it doesn’t compromise the dignity of the occasion or have religious meaning. You may wish to be given away by someone, add your own vows, exchange rings or share a kiss once you have been declared married or in a civil partnership with each other. A pre-ceremony consultation appointment will help you with your final questions and details.
Who can be my witnesses?
You need two witnesses to sign the marriage paperwork and they can be friends or family members. Although there is no legal upper or lower age limit, they need to understand the nature of marriage and understand English. If you have used a translator during your ceremony they must sign as one of the witnesses.
Can we throw confetti or rice?
Confetti is a lovely tradition and looks stunning in your photographs. The confetti should be natural dried flower petals or biodegradable confetti. This is to ensure that the local area and environment are unaffected. Foil/plastic confetti, fabric petal or rice are not permitted to be thrown.
Can my flower girl scatter petals down the aisle?
Unfortunately the room will need to be ready for the next ceremony, therefore natural petals can only be thrown outside, at the end of the walkway.
Can I bring my pet?
Southampton Register Office is a council building and therefore does not permit any pets or animals. This does not apply to assistance dogs.
Cheers! I would like to toast our future with a bottle of bubbly. Is this ok?
Unfortunately there is no food or drink permitted on the premises or surrounding area of Southampton Register Office. You will need to save your toast for the reception.
Your certificate is your way of proving that you are married or now in a civil partnership. The ceremony fee you pay includes two certificates, which may be sent to you in the post at a later date. You can always order additional certificates afterwards.
And finally …
If you are worried about the ceremony and would like to discuss it in more detail you are welcome to book a pre-ceremony consultation with one of our experienced registrars. Many couples feel reassured by discussing the details that are important to them before the day.