Marriage and civil partnerships venue licence

The Novotel

To license a premise as a venue for the legal celebration of civil marriage and civil partnership registration the local authority may issue a licence to suitable venues under the Marriage Act 1994 and the Civil Partnership Act 2004

Eligibility criteria

  • The proprietor or trustee of the premises must make the application
  • The premises must be a permanent immovable structure
  • The premises must be a seemly and dignified venue for the proceedings
  • The premises must not be religious premises
  • The premises must be regularly available to the public for use for the above proceedings
  • The approved premises must be made available at all reasonable times for inspection by the local authority
  • Public access to any proceedings in approved premises must be permitted without charge

Apply for a licence

To apply for a licence, please email

Renewal: A holder of an approval may apply for a renewal of a licence at any time during the last twelve months of the approval. The renewal will run from the expiry date of the current approval.


The fee is £1,500.00 with no restriction on the number of ceremony rooms included in the original or renewal application. Fees are reviewed annually and may be varied at the local authorities discretion.

Application forms should be submitted along with the relevant fee together with:

  • A plan of the premises clearly identifying the location and the room(s) to be licensed.
  • A current fire risk assessment
  • A copy of the public liability insurance document
  • Copies of any relevant licences eg. under the licensing Act 2003

Approval of an application will be subject to the outcome of consultations, inspections of premises and either non-receipt or non-acceptance of objections following public advertisement.

Application evaluation process

As part of its evaluation of the application the local authority must:

  • Ensure that public notice of the application is given by advertisement in a local newspaper to seek any objections during a statutory period of 21 days from the date of publication of the newspaper in which the advertisement appears
  • Make the application available for public inspection at the register office during normal opening hours until such time as the application has been determined (or withdrawn).
    arrange for the premises to be inspected

The authority will also consider:

  • Recommendations made as a result of consultation with the appropriate fire authority, council’s Health and Safety Officer, Licensing and Insurance departments
  • That a Responsible Person has been appointed for the venue to ensure compliance with the licence requirements
  • That suitable notice of the licence is to be displayed and a notice placed at each public entrance to the premises for one hour prior to and throughout the proceedings including the directions to the room in which proceedings take place
  • That the relevant measures will be in place to prevent food or drink being sold or consumed in the room in which proceedings are to take place for one hour prior to or during those proceedings.
  • That the room in which proceedings are to take place will be separate from any other activity on the premises at the time of the proceedings and must be in a room specified on the licence
  • That the arrangements for and content of each ceremony must meet with the prior approval of Southampton Registration Services
  • Any additional licence conditions to be attached to the licence approval and make these available to the applicant prior to the licence being issued

Will tacit consent apply?

Yes. This means that you will be able to act as though your application is granted if you have not heard from the local authority by the end of the target completion period of three months from date of receipt of the correctly completed application form, supporting documentation and relevant fees.

Failed application redress

If an application is refused the applicant will be notified as soon as practicable with reasons for reaching that decision.

An applicant may seek a review by the local authority of a decision to refuse to grant an approval (licence) or renew an approval.

Such reviews would be arranged by the Proper Officer with responsibility for registration within the City Council.

Please contact your local authority in the first instance.


A holder of an approval may terminate a licence by giving the local authority notice in writing. The authority may revoke an approval if the use or structure of the premises has changed/ the holder has failed to comply, so that any of the standards or local requirements cannot be met. The Registrar General may direct the authority to revoke an approval if there have been any breaches of law relating to marriage or civil partnership on the premises. A direction by the Registrar General to revoke an approval is not subject to review by the local authority.

If you need more information contact

Southampton Registration Services
The Register Office
6A Bugle Street
SO14 2LX

Telephone: 023 8091 5327