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What you need to know about getting married or forming a civil partnership in Dorset

What you need to know about holding your wedding in Dorset.

Our friendly and experienced registrars are here to help create a unique and special wedding ceremony just for you. Follow these simple steps to your perfect ceremony.

1. Choose your venue

There are 3 types of venue to choose from in Dorset:

Licensed venues

Read more about Licensed venues
Venues licensed for civil ceremonies include castles, country houses and tourist attractions. You will need to book the venue and registrars separately.

The Register Office

Read more about The Register Office
Dorchester Register Office is located at the Dorset History Centre and is suitable for small, simple ceremonies. You can book your ceremony directly with us.

Ceremony rooms

Read more about Ceremony rooms
We have rooms for larger ceremonies in Bridport, Christchurch, Ferndown, Gillingham, Sherborne, Swanage and Weymouth which you can book directly with us.

2. Book your registrars

Register office and ceremony rooms

When you book the register office or a ceremony room we will be able to book the registrars for you. They are included in the booking fee so there's no additional charge. 

Licensed venues

You'll need to book the registrars separately for most licensed venues. Please check with the venue when you book. You should book the registrars once you have a provisional booking with the venue.

Fees for our registrars to attend a licenced venue:

Day of the week2017 - 20182018 - 20192019 - 2020
Monday to Friday£469£476£483
Bank Holiday£547£555£563


Book your registrars

3. Give notice of marriage or civil partnership

By law, you must give notice in person at your local register office before your marriage can take place. Notice of marriage can be given up to 12 months before your wedding and a minimum of 29 days before. 

It costs £35 per person to give notice of marriage or civil partnership. 

See the information about giving notice of marriage or civil partnership (opens in a new window) including documents you'll need to take with you and information for foreign nationals.​

If you live outside of Dorset 

You must  give notice of marriage or civil partnership at your local register office (opens in a new window)

You can contact us to book a ceremony appointment so we can discuss your ceremony choices, take payment and talk you through what happens on the day. This can be done over the phone if it's not convenient to attend in person. The appointment should be at least 2 months before your ceremony date.

Please note that Poole and Bournemouth are not within the Dorset Registration Service area.

4. Plan and pay for your ceremony

We will send you a ceremony planner with your wedding confirmation pack once your registrars have been booked, which will guide you through preparing for your ceremony. 

Every ceremony is unique and our experienced registrars will design a ceremony that's completely personal to you. You can choose your readings and music, write your own personal promises, include your children or other family members in the ceremony and even have a themed wedding. We can discuss all of this at your ceremony appointment.

Book a ceremony appointment

Ceremony costs

Licensed venues set their own charges and you should discuss payment with them. 

View the register office and ceremony room fees.

You also need to pay for:

We will take payment at your ceremony appointment or you can pay over the phone.

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