Plan your ceremony

We’re delighted to be part of your special day and want to make sure your ceremony is not only a memorable celebration, but unique and personal to you both.

To make sure everything goes ahead on time and without any hitches, there are a number steps to consider when planning your big day.

Types of Ceremony

Civil ceremonies

A civil ceremony can take place in any of our licensed venues across the borough.

Your tailor-made ceremony will include all the required legal elements as well as any personal choices of music, vows and readings all on the one day in the presence of Registrars from Wigan and Leigh Registration Service.

Along with our licenced venues, outdoor civil weddings and partnership ceremonies have now been legalised, offering even more options for couples.

Religious ceremonies

If you’re planning a religious ceremony, you would need to contact your vicar, priest or religious minister to book your service.

Most churches, chapels and religious buildings appoint their own registrars “appointed persons” who would be present at your religious ceremony. If the religious building does not have their own “appointed person” then they will advise you of this and you will need to book a registrar from the Registration Office.

Book your ceremony

Once you have chosen your venue, you will need to provisionally book the date and time of your ceremony.

If you have chosen a Council Venue (Wigan Life Centre, Wigan, or Leigh Town Halls and Mesnes Park) you are booking for the use of the ceremony room and the Registrars attendance.

If you have chosen one of our approved premises (all other venues) you are booking for the Registrars attendance only. You will need to speak with your chosen approved venue to confirm your ceremony room hire before you make your online booking for the Registrars attendances.

Bookings can be made up to 3 years in advance and no later than three months prior to your ceremony date. There is a non-refundable booking fee payable. The booking fee confirms the date, time, and place of your ceremony.

Give notice of marriage

By law, you need to give notice of your intention to marry. Your ceremony can not take place unless you have given notice of your intention to marry. Once you have chosen your venue booked your ceremony, you will need to book your notice of marriage appointment. You will not be able to book your notice of marriage appointment until you have booked your ceremony.

Pay for your ceremony

All fees are payable no later than 3 months before your ceremony date. Any bookings made within 3 months or less of the ceremony date must be paid in full at the time of booking. If your ceremony fee is not paid by the due date, a late payment fee will be added to your booking.

Please be aware that fees are subject to change on 1st April each year. To avoid any increase in fees you may pay for your ceremony before the 1st April.

What happens next

Once you have booked your ceremony, you will be required to give legal notice of marriage.  29 days after you have given notice of marriage your legal paperwork will be produced.

You will receive an email to confirm your legal paperwork has been produced along with a link to your ceremony planner, where you will need to submit your personal choices and final arrangements no later than 8 weeks before the date of your ceremony.

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.

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 or document on your ceremony day. The marriage schedule or document 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. 

You can order your marriage certificate before or after your ceremony.

Cancelling your ceremony

If you need to cancel your ceremony with us for any reason, we have a detailed cancellation policy which will determine whether you are entitled to a refund of all or part of your fee.

© Wigan Council