There are many different types of venue within the county, from intimate country retreats to stately homes, the criteria being that a venue must be a permanent structure, providing seemly and dignified surroundings in which the ceremony can take place. Any number of rooms can be covered under the approval at no extra charge – even permanent structures outside such as gazebos may be considered for approval, providing there is a room of similar capacity inside available in case of our English weather! Venues do not ‘have’ to provide reception facilities as well, although this can be an attraction as many couples like the idea of having both ceremony and reception in the same place.
The approval lasts for three years, and can be renewed at the end of the second year of approval.
The current fee is £1600 for the initial application and £1300 for each consecutive three year period. An informal inspection of the premises can be arranged prior to initial application for a fee of £100.
Should you require further information, please contact the Approvals Inspector on 0300 123 4045 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The certification and registration of places of worship is carried out by the Registrar General.
There is no legal requirement for premises to be certified as a place of worship. However, changing a building into a place of worship is likely to require planning permission as it involves change of use.
Building work may also may also require planning permission and or compliance with building regulations. The appropriate authority for planning matters is the District or Borough Council.
If the officers of the place of worship wish to have marriages conducted there, and marriage registers held there, then the building must first be certified for worship.
Premises that are certified as a place of worship may be entitled to a reduction in or exemption from council tax.
How to Apply for Certification
Please contact your nearest Register Office and ask to speak to the Superintendent Registrar.
You will be sent form 76. This has to be completed with details of the layout of building together with a weekly timetable of the religious and any other activities that take place in the building. This is to enable the Registrar General to be satisfied that the building is primarily used for religious worship.
The application has to be accompanied by a fee and you will be advised as to the correct amount.
Registration for the Solemnisation of marriages
To apply for this the building must also be certified as a place of worship. However if the building is not already certified the two applications can be made at the same time.
You require form 78 and this is available from The Superintendent Registrar at your nearest Register Office who will also advise on the fee payable.
The form must be signed by twenty householders who regard the building as their usual place of worship and countersigned by a trustee or the proprietor of the actual building.
Finally what to do if...
- you stop using the building
- you demolish the building but rebuild on the same foundations.
- the building is demolished and rebuilt on different foundations.
- you make structural alterations to the building
- you wish to change any of the recorded details of the building.
- you need a further copy of the worship certificate.
In all these cases please contact your Register Office. They will advise you on the correct procedure and supply any necessary forms.