Forming your Civil Partnership
Civil partnerships are a legally recognised union formed by the signing of the civil partnership schedule in the presence of two witnesses and a civil partnership registrar.
For information on the legal differences between marriage and civil partnership visit GOV.UK. We cannot advise you on your choice.
Civil partnerships were introduced in 2005 to allow same sex couples to enter a legally recognised union and acquire legal rights and responsibilities. From 31 December 2019 civil partnerships were extended to opposite sex couples.
To arrange a civil partnership
Decide where the civil partnership will take place
Civil ceremonies and simple signings may take place in York House, a Grade II listed Georgian building set within a quarter of an acre of mature, secluded gardens. The booking fee includes the use of the room for the duration of the ceremony, and the attendance of the registrars.
Alternatively, there is a choice of many licensed venues in the borough that have been approved as civil ceremony venues. A fee will need to be paid for the attendance of the registration officer, in addition to any fees that the venue will have charged for the hire of the licensed room.
Decide when the civil partnership will take place
A registration officer needs to be available to attend the ceremony, which can be booked up to a year in advance. Bookings are taken on a strictly first come, first served basis.
The legal preliminaries referred to as 'Giving Notice' can be completed up to one year in advance, but no later than 29 days before the formation.
|Ceremony in The Loggia Room, York House
An hour appointment will be booked.
You and your guests must arrive no later than 15 minutes before the start of the ceremony.
This will allow time for photographs and for you to have your pre-ceremony interview with the registrar. You can be interviewed separately if you would prefer to maintain tradition.
(For example, if you would like your ceremony to start at 3pm, book 3 to 4pm. Partner 1 and your guests will need to arrive at 2.45pm. If being interviewed separately, Partner 2 will need to arrive at 2:50pm.)
|Ceremony at an approved venue||
The registrar will arrive at the start of your booking time, and your pre-ceremony interviews will take place in the first half hour. You can be seen separately, and the staff at your venue will organise this.
Your ceremony will begin half an hour after the start of your booking.
(For example, if you would like your ceremony to start at 3pm, book 2.30pm to 4.30pm. Partner 1 and your guests will need to arrive at 2.30pm. If being interviewed separately, Partner 2 will need to arrive at 2.45pm.)
|Simple ceremony, York House (room subject to availability)||
A 30-minute appointment will be booked.
You and your two witnesses must arrive no later than 15 minutes before the start of the ceremony. This will allow time for your pre-ceremony interview with the registrar. You will be interviewed together.
Attendance is strictly limited to the couple and two witnesses only. The ceremony will include the signing of the civil partnership schedule. Enhancements are not permitted.
Decide how the civil partnership will take place
When the booking is made, a decision needs to be made between having a ceremony or ‘signing only.'
A civil partnership is a completely secular (non-religious) ceremony that is conducted by a registrar. The ceremony cannot have any religious content, but individual touches can be added such as music, readings and personal vows.
During a 'signing only,' the couple can simply sign the legal schedule in the presence of witnesses and the registration officer, and you are not required to say any words or vows: the choice is yours.
The service fees to be paid will depend on the venue and day of the week of the ceremony.
Please read our terms and conditions before booking a ceremony.
The ceremonies guide provides further information that may be needed to prepare for the ceremony.
Updated: 15 January 2020