Marriage Licence


Licence summary


If you wish to hold a civil wedding or civil partnership registration in premises in Northern Ireland , they must first be approved by the Council




Eligibility Criteria

Who can apply?

Place approval - an application for a Place Approval may be made by the proprietor or a Trustee of suitable premises for use as a civil marriage venue.

Temporary Approval - these applications must be made by either of the parties to an intended civil marriage.

Approval shall not be granted where the Council is of the opinion that the applicant is not a fit and proper person.

What premises/ locations can be approved?

Any premises/location that meets the requirements of the Council's Approval process.
The following conditions will determine suitability:

  • The premises/ location must provide an appropriate and dignified setting for the celebration of marriage.
  • Civil marriages must be solemnised at identifiable places within the Registration district.
  • Health and Safety regulations and Fire regulations must be satisfied.
  • Public Liability Insurance must be provided.
  • The premises must not have a recent or continuing religious connection.
  • The safety of Registration Office staff and their legal documents will be a consideration as to the suitability of the premises.

Additional information

There is no limit to the number of rooms that can be approved for marriages. The Council would expect the number of rooms to be kept to a minimum to avoid confusion. Please note that each application fee covers the rooms contained in one building.

Marriages must only take place in a room/location which is approved.

A separate room must also be available for the confidential interviewing of the marriage parties.

Where approval is sought for outdoor locations appropriate shelter must be provided in case of inclement weather. If the alternative is a separate location (i.e. hotel where the reception is to be held) then Approval must be sought for this location as well.

Regulation Summary

Marriage Regulations (NI) 2003

Civil Partnerships Regulations (NI) 2005



Application Evaluation Process

The Application Process
The information provided below is intended as a step-by-step guide through the process that an application for an "Approved Place for Marriage" is subject to before being approved or refused.
1. Application form with accompanying fee of £480 is recorded, receipted and checked.

2. In considering an application the Council may consult with the following :

  • The Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service
  • The Police Service for Northern Ireland
  • The District Registrar
  • The Council's Environmental Health Department

3. On receipt of the application the Council shall arrange for public notice of the application to be given by placing notices in two local newspapers. The applicant is also required to give public notice by placing a Site Notice in a prominent position on the premises.

4. Any person may give notice of their objection to the application by writing to the Council. The Council will take into account any objections received when deciding on the grant of approval. A copy of any objections shall be sent to the applicant.

5. On receipt of all replies from those bodies consulted and all the required documentation to support the application the premises will be inspected by a Council Officer.

6. Following this inspection the application will be placed before the Council and a recommendation made. The Council will decide whether or not to grant the approval based on the replies received from the consultees and after having considered any objection made.

Conditions of Application

The following documents/ items are required in support of your application for a Place Approval:

1. The completed application form

2. The required fee of £480 - all cheques should be made payable to Derry City Council

3. Three sets of plans for the place applied for showing the internal layout of the premises including the room to be used for the marriage and the room to be set aside for the Registrar. These plans must be of scale 1:100. If the place applied for is outdoors three location maps will be required indicating the marriage venue, along with points of entry and exit.

4. Electrical Certificates

Test certificates indicating that the following have been suitably tested:

  • The Electrical Installation itself
  • Any Emergency Lighting Systems
  • Any Fire Alarm Systems

(Temporary Approvals may not be required to provided these certificates depending on the location)

  • All electrical certificates provided must be completed by a competent electrical contractor who must carry out to work to the appropriate British Standard or equivalent.

The appropriate electrician/ tester will issue the certificates required.

5. Details of public liability insurance in respect of the place for which approval is sought.

6. A suitable and sufficient risk assessment completed by a competent person.

7. Any other certification that may be deemed appropriate to determine the application (such as Fire Fighting Equipment test certificates, material flammability certificates etc.)



Will Tacit Consent Apply?

Tacit consent will only apply where a renewal application is received before the expiry date of the existing certificate of approval.  This means the approval is deemed to remain in force beyond the expiry date of the previous approval until such times as the application is withdrawn, renewed or refused.

The Police and the public all have a legitimate interest in the outcome of applications for the initial Grant as an Approved place of Civil Marriage/Partnership, therefore to minimise the risk of an approval being granted inadvertently Tacit consent does not apply to these applications. It is in the public interest that such applications are fully processed before a permit can be issued.

Applicants will be made aware if objections have been made to an application at the first practicable opportunity.


Apply online


Apply to have a place approved for civil ceremonies/ partnerships



Forms to download, print and post


Application to approve place for civil marriages

Guidance to requirements and conditions of places approved for civil marriages:

Marriage Manual Guidance

Conditions of Application

Criminal Record Information


Contact Details

Telephone: 028 71367171 ext 6755

Fax: 028 71368536

E-mail: [email protected]

Licensing Section
City Secretary and Solicitors Department
Derry City Council
98 Strand Road
BT48 7NN




Failed Application Redress

Please contact Derry City Council in the first instance.

Notification of decisions

(1) The authority shall, within 7 days of its decision, notify the applicant in writing of that decision including any conditions attached to an approval under regulation 13.

(2) If an application for an approval is refused, or if any conditions are attached under regulation 13(b), the authority shall include with the notification under paragraph (1) --

(a) the reason for its decision; and
(b) details of the right to a review of a decision

(3) The authority shall, at the same time as it notifies the applicant, send a copy of any approval to the registrar.


(1) An applicant or an approval holder may appeal any decision made by an authority on to the county court.

(2) An appeal under paragraph (1) must be lodged within 28 days of the date of receipt of the notice served.

(3) An appeal under paragraph (1) may be made only on one or more of the following grounds --

(a) that the authority's decision was based on an error of law;
(b) that the authority's decision was based on an incorrect material fact;
(c) that the authority has acted contrary to natural justice; or
(d) that the authority has acted unreasonably in the exercise of its discretion


Licence Holder Redress

Please contact Derry City Council in the first instance.
See also information above in relation to failed applications.


Consumer Complaint

We would always advise that in the event of a complaint, the first contact is made with the Approval Holder by you - preferably in the form a letter (with proof of delivery). If that has not worked, if you are located in the UK, Consumer Direct will give you advice. From outside the UK contact the UK European Consumer Centre.


Other Redress

Any complaints concerning how an approved premises operates, including complaints about breach of conditions, noise etc should be made directly to the Licensing Section, City Secretary and Solicitors Department, Derry City Council on 028 71365151, or by emailing [email protected]

Trade Associations