Before the ceremony
On the day of the ceremony, we ask that you and your guests arrive 15 minutes before the start of the ceremony so we can ensure, wherever possible, that it will start on time.
You and your guests should enter via the side entrance of the Registrars department at Chelsea Old Town Hall, on Chelsea Manor Street. You will be greeted at the door of Chelsea Old Town Hall and asked to go straight upstairs into the ceremony waiting area.
Your registrars will need to do a short and easy interview with you before the start of your ceremony and this will take place in your designated ceremony room. You do not need to bring any documents with you to this interview – except in the rare circumstance that you’ve officially changed your name after giving notice but before getting married. You can do this interview together or separately. This ceremony will be done in private and shouldn’t last more than 5 minutes per person.
This pre-ceremony interview is a legal requirement. The registrar is ensuring that all your details are correct before they go into the marriage or civil partnership register and that you are still happy to proceed with the ceremony. After the pre-ceremony is completed, your guests will then join you in the ceremony room.
During the ceremony
Two registrars will be with you throughout your ceremony: one to conduct the ceremony; and the other to enter the details into the register, assist you and your two witnesses with the signing, and to issue you with your marriage or civil partnership certificate at the end of the ceremony.
The registrar conducting the ceremony will welcome your guests again, quickly introduce themselves, and start with the ceremony.
Each of our registrars gives a slightly different but equally professional and heartfelt ceremony, almost identical to the example ceremony provided in the Frequently Asked
Questions section. They all follow a similar format which includes:
- Welcoming and introduction
- Reading the ceremony proper
- Asking you both to repeat the declaratory and contracting vows
- Guiding you through the exchange of rings (optional)
- Declaring you as legally married / civil partnered at the end of the ceremony
- Inviting you and your two witnesses to sign the register
- Presenting you with your certificate at the end of the ceremony and guiding you out of the room.
You do not need to memorise any words for your ceremony – the registrar will ask you to repeat the legally required vows after them. Your registrar will say the words clearly, in short parts, so that they’re easy to understand and repeat. Your registrar will guide you through every part of the ceremony.
Music is optional and can be played at the following parts of the ceremony:
- Music is optional and can be played during the signing of the register.
Once you and your partner have exchanged vows, exchanged rings, the register has been signed, and photographs taken, the registrar will congratulate you.
After the ceremony
After your ceremony has finished, you will exit the room and your guests will line the famous stone steps at the front of Chelsea Old Town Hall, whilst you wait at the top. Your registrars will assist you with this. Once everyone is ready, you will walk down the steps as your guests throw confetti on you (which is optional). Your marriage or civil partnership certificate(s) will be posted to your address.
After you’ve got married or had your civil partnership
- Await for your marriage or civil partnership certificate(s) that you’ve ordered to arrive in the post;
- If you are changing your name, update your passport using your marriage certificate, and then use your passport in your new name with all other official bodies e.g. driving licence, employer, banks, financial, mortgage, legal, insurance, etc.
- Apply for Marriage Allowance