What happens on the day

To help your big day run as smoothly as possible, we’ve put together a quick run through of everything that happens on the day of your ceremony, so you’ll know what to expect.

It depends on the type of ceremony

If you have a register office ceremony (at Wigan Life Centre)

To make sure everything runs on time on the day, please arrive at the register office on the day of your ceremony 15 minutes before your start time.

The registrar is responsible for ensuring all the information on the marriage schedule is correct on the day, so that it's ready to be entered into the electronic register. We will see you and your partner in private to check the details and will be happy to answer any last minute questions you may have about the ceremony or any of the other arrangements.

If you have a ceremony at a Council venue or approved premises

Ceremonies at a Council venue or approved premises will follow a similar format to that of a register office ceremony, but with the option of enhancements like music, personal vows and readings.

It's important that you and your guests arrive at your ceremony at the allocated times. Partner 1 and guests arrive 30 minutes before your ceremony start time and Partner 2 arrives 15 minutes before your ceremony start time. Alternatively, if you both wish to arrive together, please be at your venue 30 minutes before your ceremony start time.

If you have bridesmaids, attendants and if either of you will be walking into the ceremony room with someone special, the registrars will co-ordinate and talk you through this, so everyone will know where they need to stand / be seated.

Before your ceremony - what you will be asked

You will each be asked:

  • Your full name, age, marital status, occupation and the address of your residence on the day of your marriage or civil partnership
  • The full name and occupation of your father and mother, and whether he/she is retired or deceased. You can also include these details for your step parents if applicable
  • To confirm the information is correct, as this will be the information recorded on the electronic register.


It is your responsibility to bring two witnesses with you. You will need to ask two people, who may be friends or relatives, if they will witness your marriage or civil partnership.

Your witnesses must be old enough to understand the ceremony and their role in it, preferably over the age of 18. All they will have to do is watch and listen to the ceremony and sign the register.

During your ceremony

During your ceremony the most important words that you will say to one another are the declaratory and contractual words. These are the legal vows that you will say in turn, and repeat after the registrar. Our registrar will prompt you to repeat the words after them.

  • First declaration - I do solemnly declare that I know not of any lawful impediment, why I (name) may not be joined in matrimony to (name).
  • Second declaration - I call upon these persons here present to witness that I (name) do take thee (name) to be my wedded wife/husband.

Checking and signing the schedule

Once the marriage or civil partnership vows have been exchanged, the registrar will ask you to check that your details are correct on the marriage schedule (previously known as a marriage register). Please check this carefully, as any mistakes made and not highlighted before the registrar's have signed can be corrected at a later date but will incur a correction fee.

If you're sure that everything is correct you will both be asked to sign the register. Both parties should sign in the name and surname by which they were known immediately prior to the marriage. Your witnesses will then be asked to sign.

Marriage certificates

Marriage certificates are no longer signed and presented to you on your ceremony day. You will instead, along with your witnesses, sign your marriage schedule. This will then be returned to the Registration Office by your Registrar and your marriage will be registered within 7 days of your ceremony taking place.

This provides a more secure system for keeping marriage records and allows you to add more than just your father's name to your registration. These changes apply to marriages only and not civil partnerships.

How to order your marriage certificate

You can order your marriage certificate after your ceremony.

Need to know more?

For more information, take a look at our ceremonies frequently asked questions.

© Wigan Council