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Becoming a ceremony venue

In England and Wales civil marriage and civil partnership ceremonies can only take place in register offices or venues which have been granted an ‘approved premises’ licence.

Applying for an approved premises licence is simple and straightforward. Once approved, your venue will be listed on our website and included in our promotional material, as well as being added to a national database which lists all licensed venues in England and Wales.

Apply and pay online

You can apply for or change an approval of a secular premises for civil marriage and on the Gov.UK website.

Alternatively complete and return an application form to us along with your payment.

Applications must be made by the owner or manager of the premises. We recommend that you include all the rooms which may possibly be used for ceremonies on your application. Although you can add extra rooms at a later date, an additional fee will be charged.

Renewing an existing licence

We contact existing approved premises licence holders six months before their licence is due to expire to invite them to renew their licence.

Licence holders are welcome to submit renewal applications anytime during the last year of the current licence, preferably at least six months before the existing licence expires. The process for renewing a licence and the fee is the same as a applying for the first time.

Licence fees to 31 March 2017

General enquiries

Regulation summary

Application evaluation process

Your premises will be inspected. Your application and plan will be made available to the public for inspection and a public notice of the application must be placed by you in a local newspaper as part of a public consultation process.

To be granted, your application must be in the correct format and your premises deemed suitable. Conditions may be imposed to your approval. The Registrar General has issued guidance to local authorities to assist them in making their decision.

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.

Target completion

Within one month.

Failed application redress

Please contact Cheshire West and Chester Council in the first instance. You have the right to seek a review of the local authority's refusal to grant your application. You should deliver your request for review to the Lifetime Services Manager, The Forum, Chester, CH1 9SA.

Licence holder redress

Please contact Cheshire West and Chester Council in the first instance.

You have the right to seek a review of the local authority's refusal to grant your application. You should deliver your request for review to the Lifetime Services Manager, First Floor, HQ, Nicholas Street, Chester, CH1 2NP.

Consumer complaint

We would always advise that in the event of a complaint the first contact is made with the trader by you - preferably in the form a letter (with proof of delivery). If that has not worked contact the below. 

Other redress

Objections to an application for premises approval may be given to the Lifetime Services Manager, First Floor, HQ, Nicholas Street, Chester, CH1 2NP within 21 days of the notice of application appearing in the local newspaper.

Public register or database

A full list of approved ceremony venues is available on this website.