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Commitment ceremonies

A formal ceremony that celebrates a couple's love for and commitment to each other.

Is a commitment ceremony right for you?

The ceremony is designed for people from all walks of life and is available to any adult, including same sex couples. You do not have to live in Oxfordshire to be able to hold your ceremony in the county. It is an opportunity to acknowledge and celebrate your relationship with family and friends.

Where and when can they be held?

We offer commitment ceremonies in all the registration offices and approved premises in the county. They may be celebrated on any day of the week except Christmas Day. Ceremonies on Good Friday, Easter Sunday, Boxing Day or New Year's Day will be subject to staffing availability.

Ceremonies cannot be held in a church or a religious building. If you would like to use a different venue, for example a village hall or a marquee in the grounds of a hotel, this would need to be discussed beforehand.

Can we personalise our own ceremony?

Yes you can. Each ceremony is unique to you and your partner. You will both have the chance to work closely with a professional celebrant to select from the options available, and tailor a ceremony that is special for you both. Every ceremony is different, so you can create something unique for you to remember and treasure.

What happens in the ceremony?

The ceremony may be as simple or as grand as you like - we provide the framework for you to build upon. Each ceremony is divided into the following sections. They give you the chance to create something personal to you both:

  • introduction and welcome readings or music can be included at various points
  • pledges to each other
  • exchange of rings and/or gifts and personal vows
  • signing of register and certificate
  • presentation of certificate
  • concluding words.

You do not need to include every section in your ceremony, and each part of the ceremony can be as simple or as complex as you wish.

How long does a ceremony last?

That depends on the type of ceremony and the different options you choose. We suggest you allow 30 minutes for your ceremony.

How much will the ceremony cost?

The fee will vary depending on the day, time and venue that you choose. You will need to contact the specific venue of your choice regarding their availability and their own venue room hire charges.

Once you have decided to proceed with your ceremony, contact the Registration Service with details of your venue and preferred date.  We will check our diary and arrange for a celebrant to contact you. They will discuss your ceremony with you, and from that discussion, devise a ceremony that's unique and special to you both.

Please note that commitment ceremonies are non-statutory and therefore the ceremony itself and the issue of any certificates carry no legal status.

Booking and paying for a ceremony

To book your ceremony please contact the Registration Service.

Full payment for all ceremony bookings will be taken at the time of booking. Please read Oxfordshire Registration Service ceremony booking terms and conditions (pdf format, 104Kb)