Preparing for the Big Day

Late arrival

Although it may be traditional for the bride to be late, it is important that your ceremony starts promptly as the Registrar may be attending other ceremonies after yours. Late arrival may result in your ceremony not going ahead.


You do not need to bring any identification with you on the day.

Photographs and video

We ask that your guests refrain from taking photos during the ceremony, however, a nominated photographer may take photos of the entrance of the bride and on the exchange of rings. For reasons of data protection, photographs cannot be taken of the actual signing of the marriage schedule. There will be plenty of opportunity for photos afterwards with a blank schedule.

Music and readings

Many couples choose to have music when the bride makes her entrance, while they sign the marriage schedule and as they exit the room together. If you would like to enhance your ceremony and make it more personal, you may wish to include readings, poems or choose your own music. You should provide copies of any readings, poems or titles of music choices to the ceremony coordinator at before the ceremony. This is so we can ensure your choices are suitable and comply with the requirement that there is no religious content at a civil ceremony.


The marriage ceremony will take approximately 20 minutes. Herefordshire registration service policy states that witnesses should be aged 18 or over and capable of understanding the events which have taken place. The minimum requirement is for two adults to witness the ceremony and sign the marriage schedule. If an interpreter is required they must sign as a witness.

Religious blessing after a ceremony

Marriages in approved premises may be followed by a religious blessing provided the Registrars have left the building. There must be a clear break between the civil ceremony and the religious proceedings. The blessing should not take place before the civil marriage ceremony.

Marriage certificates

Marriage records in England and Wales are held on an electronic register.

What this means for you

You may need to make arrangements to order your marriage certificate depending on where your ceremony is taking place.

At your ceremony, you and your partner will sign a schedule or marriage document instead of the register on the day. You can each include up to four parents on the form (for example, mothers, fathers or step-parents).

After the ceremony this document is sent to the local register office, where the details are added to the register. After that you can get your marriage or civil partnership certificate. You can order further copies of the marriage or civil partnership certificate.

In Herefordshire, if your ceremony is at:

The Register Office or one of our approved venues

  • You will sign a marriage schedule and your marriage certificate will be posted to you after the details have been entered onto the electronic register

A religious building, but not Church of England

  • The schedule will be issued by the Register Office in the district where your ceremony will take place – and after the ceremony the signed schedule must be returned to that Register Office within 21 days
  • Details will be entered onto the register within the following seven days, after which marriage or civil partnership certificates can then be issued
  • Certificates will be available from the registration service in the district where your ceremony took place

A Church of England building

  • You will sign a marriage document instead of the register during the ceremony
  • The minister or their representative will be expected to return the marriage document to the local Register Office within 21 days after the ceremony
  • Details of the marriage will be entered onto the register within the following seven days and a marriage certificate can then be issued
  • Certificates will be available from the Register Office and you can order the marriage certificate online