Last updated: 23 July 2021
Ceremony information following 19 July 2021 SHOW
The recent Government announcement confirmed that ceremonies will no longer be subject to restrictions applied during the lockdown and the first 3 steps. However, safety will still be the top priority to keep staff and customers safe, therefore some safety measures will still be in place:
- Please only arrive 10 minutes prior to your ceremony time along with your guests. If you arrive too early you will be asked to wait off site
- We will ask that you and your guests download the NHS COVID-19 mobile app ready to scan the QR code when you all arrive at any of our venues. For information on the app please visit the NHS COVID-19 app information
- The Government guidelines state that everyone over the age of 11 should take a rapid lateral flow test twice a week (every 3 or 4 days). We would encourage you and your guests to follow this advice before attending the ceremony. Information on where to collect tests can be found on our symptom-free testing page. Please remember that if anyone is showing symptoms of COVID-19 they should not use the lateral flow test kits. In this case a PCR test is necessary. For more information please visit the GOV.UK website
- Usual COVID-19 restrictions apply – anyone in any households showing signs of COVID-19 in the last 10 days should not be attending
- If you (the couple) or any of your guests have flown into the UK from abroad within 10 days of the ceremony you are likely to be subject to the latest quarantine ruling. You must follow current Government guidelines and quarantine in line with the legislation, even if this means that the ceremony will be postponed. if you are concerned please contact us
- The Government still recommends and expects people to wear face coverings in indoor settings. We thank you and your guests for your thoughtful consideration and welcome face coverings. It is important to note that the registration staff are likely to continue wearing face coverings as good practice
- Photographs and filming will be allowed during the ceremony and you may pose for photographs outside afterwards. Please be mindful that the next ceremony will be arriving shortly, and once you have had your photographs the staff will ask you to make your way to your reception, to allow space for the next couple
- There is space for just one ceremony car at Southampton Register Office. If your ceremony is at Westgate Hall you may park one ceremony car there, but your chauffeur must stay with the car throughout the ceremony. Please advise your guests they need to find alternative parking in the city
- There will be no certificate issued on the day. Your certificates will be posted to you as soon as possible
- No food or drink is allowed on premises
- At Westgate Hall, the lift facility will be restricted and we cannot guarantee its availability on the day
Any restrictions on guest numbers have now been lifted. The limits are:
- Statutory Office: The couple + 2 adult witnesses
- The Magnolia Room: The couple + 8 guests (includes 2 adult witnesses, all babies /children AND any photographer)
- The Golden Jubilee Room: The couple + 55 guests (includes 2 adult witnesses, all babies /children AND any photographer)
- Westgate Hall: The couple + 74 guests (includes 2 adult witnesses, all babies /children AND any photographer)
Please remember that the numbers could be reduced if the infection rate increases significantly.
Disclaimer (temporary amendment during COVID-19)
Please be aware that because of COVID-19 the Council has had to cancel a number of ceremonies due to the restrictions on social events imposed by Central Government.
Please be aware that if you are re-booking you have agreed to do so at your own risk. We cannot guarantee that ceremonies booked will be able to proceed as they will be subject to any further restrictions that Central Government imposes. If ceremonies have to be cancelled due to pandemic or other reasons in line with the terms then the Council cannot be held responsible and is not liable for any ceremony that has to be cancelled. If however we cannot deliver a ceremony because of COVID-19 or other health pandemics Southampton City Council will allow you to postpone or cancel your date.
If ceremonies are not able to proceed on the booked dates because of COVID-19 or other health pandemics then the Council will try to accommodate an alternative booking but this may be subject to an administration fee, and you may have to join a waiting list.
Any re-bookings are not guaranteed to be in the same year. We recommend that you check your insurance policy. The Council reserves the right to charge an admin fee to any changes that you make to your booking. Any ceremonies that you have agreed to proceed with during this time, will be subject to restrictions imposed by Central Government and Southampton City Council.
Please note that any change to your ceremony date may mean that you will need to give fresh notices which carry a statutory fee and any immigration referral fees will also need to be paid again. This will apply to any new notice appointments booked and notices given since 4 July 2020 as you have agreed to proceed at your own risk.
Download our full terms and conditions.
New ceremony bookings SHOW
We are now accepting new ceremony bookings, subject to availability. All new bookings are taken providing that the couple are free to marry and are able to proceed with their ceremony as per our terms and conditions. We are still being cautious as the restrictions are lifted, and we ask that you read the information above carefully before making your booking. Please contact us to discuss ceremony availability.
Notices of marriage and civil partnerships SHOW
Notice of marriage and civil partnership appointments will be prioritised for those that are time critical for ceremonies due to take place in the next 3 months.
Please note that any change to your ceremony date may mean that you will need to give fresh notices which carry a statutory fee and any immigration referral fees will also need to be paid again.
Registering a birth
There have been recent changes to the Government IT system used to register births, deaths, marriage and civil partnerships which have introduced system instability. This means that your appointment may take longer than usual, or the registrar may need to complete a manual registration. Unfortunately, in some cases we may not be able to issue a certificate at the time of registration. You may also have to wait longer than usual for an appointment, as appointments have been extended to cope with the IT instability.
We are currently prioritising the older birth registrations. We have restricted access to booking an appointment to register your baby by their date of birth. These appointments are very limited and at present we can only register those babies born in Southampton within the dates specified on the appointment system.
We are sorry for any inconvenience or distress that this may cause. The General Register Office is currently unable to provide a timescale for when the system will be restored to a reliable and stable state.
In order to manage the backlog of births from 2020 and early 2021, we have limited the appointments to older births only. These appointments are limited to 2 days per week due to other services taking priority. Appointments for the older births are given priority and can be booked online, when there is availability. If there are no appointments showing, this means they have all been booked. We will keep monitoring the situation and release appointments for the following weeks, but not too far in advance to prevent appointments being forgotten and missed. We will keep monitoring the situation and release appointments for the following weeks, but not too far in advance to prevent appointments being forgotten and missed.
Due to current staff isolation, we are struggling with demand and unfortunately there is a delay.
If you have entered your babies date of birth and your message reads ‘We are currently only registering babies born before…’ you will not be able to book your appointment until a later date. We will update the website when the date restriction has been brought forward.
Currently you can still claim child benefit before registration and the 6 week deadline is a little more ‘relaxed’ so please do not worry.
Parents requiring a translator appointment to register baby
You cannot book a birth appointment online if you need help/support with your English. You will need to get a friend or relative to interpret for you. Please provide the interpreters phone number in an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Please include your details and date and place of birth for baby. The same rules apply regarding the older births with translators taking priority. If you have an urgent request, please email us and this will be looked at on a case by case basis if we have availability.
Re-registration of baby after natural parents have married or formed a civil partnership with each other
We have currently suspended this service due to the backlog. Providing the natural father is listed on the original entry, he has parental responsibility for the child. We will update the webpage once this service can resume.
Re-registration of baby to add the natural father
These are still being provided for, albeit with a limited availability. As soon as the natural father is on the registration, he gains parental responsibility for the baby/child. Please email the completed re-registration form to email@example.com. And we will advise regarding availability of appointments.
Registering a death
All death registrations are continuing to be completed over the telephone between a registrar and a qualified informant. The death must be registered within 5 days (unless the coroner is involved) and the registrar cannot delay the registration to another time.
The registrar may call you at any time in the day to arrange a telephone appointment with you. Please be aware that you will need to be in a quiet area to take the appointment, as you will need to listen to the registrar read the information back to you, so you can be sure the information recorded is correct.
Please remember to ensure the hospital or GP surgery has electronically sent us the medical certificate or the Coroner has confirmed they have sent us the documentation. Please ensure that a valid contact number is included.
All certificate applications are completed and paid for online. The £11 standard certificate online ordering service is the only service currently available. We apologise for any inconvenience this may cause.
If you are experiencing trouble with the online form, please ask family or friends to assist you. Please visit Certificates, then select 'order a certificate' from the left hand menu.
We are processing certificates as quickly as possible, depending on the staff we have available each day and the other demands to our service. There are days whereby the certificate desk is closed and your order could be delayed.
Certificate delivery times are taking much longer than usual. You must allow extra time for your certificate to arrive, before you try to contact us. Once the certificates leave this office, we cannot be held responsible for the time it takes to reach your address. For up-to-date information visit the Royal Mail website.
For UK addresses - If your certificate has not arrived after 1 month (from the date we have issued it), please contact us. We are unable to treat your certificate as “lost” until 1 month has passed
For addresses abroad – If your certificate has not arrived after 6 weeks (from the date we have issued it) please contact us. We are unable to treat your certificate as “lost” until 6 weeks have passed.
Citizenship ceremonies SHOW
We are now beginning the recovery of citizenship ceremonies and will contact all new British citizens as soon as their naturalisation certificate arrives at Southampton Register Office. If you have received your letter from the Home Office please contact us:
We will be pleased to check if your naturalisation certificate has arrived. We cannot book your ceremony for you until we have received your naturalisation certificate.
Please note that if we are allowed to proceed with citizenship ceremonies under the latest lockdown we will only be offering a simple ceremony to fall in line with our health and safety obligations. However, we are currently offering virtual citizenship ceremonies subject to staff availability. If are interested in a virtual ceremony please contact us.
European Settlement verification and scanning service SHOW
This service is temporarily suspended. Please see full guidance on how to scan your documents from home using your own device.
Contacting us SHOW
If you have any queries please use our contact form. Please do not telephone the office as we need to keep the telephone lines clear for death registrations enquiries.