Marriages and civil partnerships | Oxfordshire County Council
Skip to main content Home News Sitemap Search Website help Complaints Terms and conditions Website feedback
Listen to this page

Marriages and civil partnerships

a bride and groom

What is a marriage?

A marriage is a public agreement between two people that joins their lives:

  • legally and
  • emotionally.

In the UK a couple are allowed to get married if they are:

  • both 16 years old or over
  • single
  • widowed
  • divorced or if they were in a civil partnership which has ended
  • not closely related.
two men in wedding suits

What is a civil partnership?

A civil partnership offers similar rights to couples of the same sex as those enjoyed by married couples.

A couple who want to form a civil partnership in the UK must:

  • be of the same sex
  • not already be in a civil partnership or marriage
  • be aged 16 years or over
  • not be closely related.

We can provide you with lots of information about forming a civil partnership, your rights as well as the waiting period required by law.

a registration office

Getting married or forming a civil partnership in a registration office

For ceremonies that are not religious you can get married in a registration office. These are called civil marriages and civil partnerships.

Although these ceremonies are not religious you can make your day personal to you by adding readings and music that you like.

We can tell you:

  • where the registration offices are in the county
  • how much each ceremony will cost. This will include the costs for certificates, registrars and attending the registration office
  • about the things you will have to do by law and the paperwork you will need to provide
  • what you will need to arrange for each ceremony
  • what to expect on your special day.
the Randolph hotel

Getting married or forming a civil partnership in an approved venue

We offer over 90 licensed places for civil ceremonies across Oxfordshire. These are not religious ceremonies and are places that you can get married outside of a registration office. One registrar will attend.

You can choose a variety of venues such as:

  • a rustic barn
  • riverside hotel or
  • historic ancestral home.

To find the costs for hiring each venue you will have to contact them directly.

We can tell you:

  • where the accepted venues are in the county
  • how much each ceremony will cost. This will include the cost for registrars and certificates
  • what you will need do to arrange for your ceremony
  • about the things you will have to do by law and the paperwork you will need to provide
  • what to expect on your special day.
a church and a mosque

Getting married in a church or other religious building

If you want a religious marriage ceremony in the UK you will need to get married in a church or any other religious building. The church or religious building must normally be near to where you or your partner lives or where you usually worship.

The ceremony will be arranged by a minister or other religious leader.  If a registrar needs to be there at the wedding your minister will tell you. 

You can contact us to find out the costs of marriage certificates and the attendance of registrars at the wedding.

a bride and groom on the beach

Getting married abroad

If you are both born in Britain and wish to get married abroad you may still need to inform the district where you live. You may need a certificate which you can get from a registrar.

The certificate will be available 28 days after you produce your paperwork so people have the right to disagree with the marriage.

someone writing a plan

Planning your special day

We know how important your marriage or civil partnership is to you. This is why we have created a month-by-month plan to help keep things organised.

 three passports

Information for people that are foreign nationals

In marriage a foreign national describes someone who is not a European citizen.

There are certain rules about getting married or forming a civil partnership in the UK if you are a foreign national.

If you would like a response, enter your preferred method of contact.