Wedding venue licence

Legal services

What you need to know about wedding venue licences

How we can help you obtain licences to host civil marriages and civil partnerships



Weddings, civil marriages and partnerships are big business.

Recent reports suggest total spending in the sector is in the hundreds of millions each year. And the average cost of a ceremony is now rumoured to be around £29k.

Given these figures, it is no surprise that we are helping more and more venue operators obtain the licences they need to get involved in this sector.

Typical venues being used for civil marriages and civil partnerships include hotels, stately homes, castles, sports stadia and general licensed premises, such as pubs.

In fact, any permanently immovable structure can be licensed to allow civil marriage ceremonies to take place. This even includes any boat or other vessel which is permanently moored.

It is important to note the phrase ‘immovable structure’ as this makes many temporary structures unsuitable, including tents, marquees and the ‘open air’.

Licensed premises often apply for a Civil Wedding Licence to the Local Authority or the Registrar for a Licence which will permit marriages or civil partnerships to take place.

Wedding venue licence

Other issues that you need to consider

Like many aspects of licensing, applications to host civil marriages and civil partnerships are not simple.

For example, the local authority or registrar will take many different factors into consideration prior to allowing ceremonies to take place at your venue. These include the venues:

  • primary use
  • situation
  • construction, and
  • state of repair

You will need to be able to confirm that your ceremonies will take place in a room or rooms that are identifiable by description as a distinct part of your venue.

And you will need to satisfy your local authority that the fire assessment in place at the premises is suitable for the intended purpose. The authority will also want to be content that no planning permission is necessary.

Just like when you apply for a premises licence, your application to host civil marriages and civil partnerships can attract objections.

And a venue can have its approvals / licences revoked if the operator fails to comply with one or more conditions of the approval.

Wedding venue licence

Let us do the hard work for you

With our experience of applying for and obtaining licences for a wide variety of clients, our licensing solicitors can help you negotiate the process, whilst at the same time advising you on any related strategic requirements. For example licensing or planning implications and accompanying documents such as a fire risk assessment and the need for public liability insurance.