Arranging a Civil Marriage Ceremony

A civil marriage is a completely secular (non-religious) ceremony. It can take place at a register office or venue that has been licensed to hold Civil Ceremonies. The ceremony cannot have any religious content, but some individual touches can be added such as non-religious music and readings.

Who can get married?

You and your partner can get married as long as all the following circumstances apply:

  • You are over the age of 16 (If you are under the age of 18, then you would need consent from both parents or a legal Guardian in order to marry)
  • You are not already married or in a Civil Partnership
  • You are not closely related through blood or marriage

Decide where your Marriage Ceremony will take place

In England and Wales, a Civil Marriage or Civil Partnership can take place at a registry office or at a building approved for Civil Marriages and Civil Partnerships.

There are several buildings Licenced for Marriage in Torfaen.

Torfaen Register Office is located within ‘the old town hall.’ A large Victorian building situated in the heart of Pontypool town centre. There are several rooms licensed for marriage within the building.

  • The Hanbury Suite: A large Ceremonial room which would accommodate up to 70 guests (currently reduced to 26 plus the couple, due to COVID restrictions)
  • The Park Suite: A small intimate ceremony room, which seats up to 12 Guests (currently reduced to 6 plus the couple, due to COVID restrictions)
  • The Register Office: Available for the couple and two witnesses (Mon – Thu only)

A courtyard area to the side of the building is available for photographs. Alternatively, Pontypool Parks Italian Gardens are just opposite, providing the perfect backdrop setting in which to capture your special day.

View photos of the service area and ceremony rooms available

The registration fees include the use of the room as well as the attendance of the registrar.

Alternatively, you can choose from one of our other venues licensed for Marriage within the borough:

A fee will need to be paid for the attendance of the registrars on the day, this will be in addition to any fees that the venue will charge for the hire of their licensed room.

Decide when your Marriage Ceremony will take place

A registration officer will need to be available to attend your ceremony on the day. Bookings are taken on a strictly first come, first served basis, so please book early to avoid disappointment.

A notice needs to be given. You can give this up to a year in advance of the date.

Changes to Marriage Legislation – 4th May, 2021

From the 4th May 2021, new marriage legislation being introduced means that the way a marriage is registered in England and Wales will change.

The changes are that, you will no longer sign a marriage register or be given a Marriage Certificate during your ceremony, instead you will sign a Marriage Schedule. This is a one-page document which contains your details.

The regulations introduced also changes how your parent’s details may be recorded. From this date, each party to the marriage will have the option to include up to 4x parents details in the schedule and subsequently on their marriage certificate I.e., Mother, Father, Step Mother, Step Father.

How you will be able to obtain a Marriage Certificate (after your Ceremony)

A Marriage Certificate can only be issued after your details have been entered on to the electronic marriage register. This means that you will not be able to obtain a Marriage Certificate on the day of your marriage. Your details will be entered onto the electronic registration register within 7 days after you have signed your Marriage Schedule.

After this time, if you require a Certificate, it will be necessary for you to contact Torfaen Registrars on 01495 742132, to apply for and order your Marriage Certificate. The cost is £11.00 per copy and a debit or credit card payment can be taken at this time.

Outdoor Ceremonies

As a result of the COVID 19 pandemic, amendments were recently made to the Marriages and Civil Partnerships (Approved Premises) Regulations, to allow marriages and civil partnerships to take place outdoors. This will only be for celebrations held between 1 July 2021 and April 2022.

During this period, an outdoor legal ceremony can be held in the grounds of any venue approved for civil marriages and civil partnerships. Please note, this change does not currently apply to religious marriages.

Couples can move their ceremony from an indoor venue into the grounds of the venue and thereby enable a larger number of guests to attend than can safely do so indoors.

The number of guests you can invite to an outdoor ceremony will be determined by the venue and superintendent registrar and must in the first instance be discussed with the venue. Guests attending outdoor celebrations must still be able to socially distance and the area must be COVID secure.

Due to the risk of inclement weather, all outdoor ceremonies must have a ceremony room booked as a backup. If the ceremony reverts to the indoor ceremony room, the number of guests that can attend will be reduced in line with the current restrictions at the time of the ceremony.

If you would like to change your existing booking to include an outdoor ceremony or wish to make a new booking for an outdoor ceremony, please contact us on 01495742132 for assistance

Please note, that the Civic Centre in Pontypool does not have an outdoor area to hold this type of ceremony.

Arranging a marriage ceremony in difficult circumstances

If your ceremony needs to be held in a venue that is not licensed for civil ceremonies, or your circumstances are such that you would need to hold your ceremony very quickly, then we may be able to help you with this. Please contact the office for guidance and advice on your individual circumstance. If you require assistance outside normal office hours, then please call the Torfaen Out of Hours Service on 01495 762200, who will arrange for a member of the Registration Team to contact you directly.

If you would like to book a ceremony or require any further guidance, please contact the office on 01495 742132 or email: where staff will be happy to help.

Last Modified: 10/08/2021
For more information contact:


Tel: 01495 742132


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