1. Home
  2. Births, deaths, marriages and citizenship
  3. Marriage venue licensing
  4. How to become a Licensed Venue for Civil Marriage and Civil Partnership

How to become a Licensed Venue for Civil Marriage and Civil Partnership

Legally recognised outdoor ceremonies are temporarily permitted in some circumstances until 5 April 2022.

Outdoor ceremonies guide.


5. Licence requirements

All applications must meet the following licence requirements:

Statutory requirements

The following approval requirements, as set out in Schedule 1 of The Marriages and Civil Partnerships (Approved Premises) Regulations 2005, will apply to all licences for “Approved Premises” in East Sussex. They may be amended from time to time on the instructions of the Registrar General:

  1. Having regard to their primary use, situation, construction and state of repair, the premises must, in the opinion of the authority, be a seemly and dignified venue for the proceedings.
  2. The premises must be regularly available to the public for use for:
    (a) the solemnization of marriages; or
    (b) the formation of civil partnerships.
  3. The premises must have the benefit of such fire precautions as may reasonably be required by the authority, having consulted with the fire authority [or, in England, fire and rescue authority], and such other reasonable provision for the health and safety of persons employed in or visiting the premises as the Authority considers appropriate.
  4. The premises must not be:
    (a) religious premises as defined by Section 6(2) of the Civil Partnership Act 2004
    (b) a register office, but this paragraph does not apply to premises in which a register office is situated, provided that the room which is subject to approval is not the same room as the room which is the register office.
  5. The room or rooms in which the proceedings are to take place, if approval is granted, must be identifiable by description as a distinct part of the premises.

Additional Licence Requirements set by ESCC

The following additional licence requirements have been agreed by ESCC and will apply to all licences issued for Approved Premises. They may be amended from time to time by ESCC.
The Licence Holder must:

  1. Ensure that the premises are covered by an appropriate public liability insurance policy.
  2. Ensure that the licensed premises comply with all legislative requirements relating to health and safety. It is the licensee’s responsibility to ensure such compliance. It is the licensee’s responsibility to ensure the health and safety of Registration Staff and ceremony guests at all times.
  3. Where possible (depending on the age and construction of the building) provide facilities accessible for those with disabilities. Where this is not possible due to the age and construction of the building, this must be clearly communicated to couples intending to hold their ceremony on the premises.
  4. Where possible, (depending on the age and construction of the building), provide a separate room to be used for legally required pre-ceremony questioning of the couple by the Registrar and in the event of objections during the ceremony. The room should be accessible without having to enter the ceremony room itself. ESCC does not consider hotel bedrooms to be appropriate for this confidential interview.
  5. Where parking is available, provide two free and reserved car parking spaces for the use of the registration staff. As staff may have to travel to a number of different venues in one day, spaces should be as near as possible to the main entrance and allow ease of exit so that staff may leave the venue quickly once the ceremony is over. Parking for the bridal or partners car and for any guests is at the discretion of the licence holder and/or their representative(s).
  6. Provide clean and accessible toilet facilities for the use of registration staff, the couple and any guests attending the ceremony.

Apply to license a venue

Registration services logo