Registering a place of worship for marriage ceremonies
A licence is needed by a minister, proprietor or trustee of a place of worship to become a place where marriages can take place.
An application can be made to certify a building as a place of worship according to the provision of the 1855 Places of Worship Registration Act, by applying to the Superintendent Registrar in the district where the venue is situated. This excludes churches or chapels of the Church of England, unless it shares a church building with another religious denomination.
The person who acts as minister, proprietor or trustee at the place of worship must complete two copies of Form 76 which certify a place for religious worship under the Places of Worship Registration Act. The completed forms should be sent to the registration office with:
- A sketch of the floor plan which identifies which rooms will be used for worship and otherwise
- An average weekly timetable of how the building will be used
- A cheque or postal order made payable to London Borough of Tower Hamlets to cover the statutory fee of £28.
Place of marriage
Form 78 requires signatures from 20 separate householders declaring that the building is their usual place of worship, and that they require it to be registered for marriages. A statutory fee of £120 is payable by cheque or postal order made payable to London Borough of Tower Hamlets.
Once the information is received at the Register Office, it is then sent to the General Register Office for authorisation. Once the General Register Office certifies a building for marriage, the Superintendent Registrar is required to advertise the new place of marriage in a local newspaper.
A written confirmation and the certificate stating that the building has been registered as a place for marriage is then sent to the applicant.
If the place of worship is in disuse or another minister or proprietor takes over the place of worship, Form 77 needs to be completed. Form 77 is a notice of disuse of a certified place of worship which should be sent to the Registrar General in accordance with the Places of Worship Registration Act.
If another minister or proprietor takes over the place of worship, then it needs to be re-registered using the process outlined above. Re-registration is not required if the building is demolished and rebuilt.
For all application forms please contact the Register Office.
For free translation of this information phone the Newham translation service:
020 8430 6921 from Monday – Friday 9am to 5pm