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Licensing of Premises for Civil Ceremonies

Information about the licensing process

Before submitting a formal application please contact the Ceremonies and Certificates Team office who will provide advice and guidance on the licensing process and arrange an inspection of the venue. 

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Cornwall Council's Registration Service licences venues located in Cornwall for the conduct of civil ceremonies, such as civil marriage and civil partnership.

For the purposes of the licensing process the Registration Service can only accept applications and payment from the venue owner or an authorised person (eg. Manager) and not from a couple planning to marry at the venue.

If the licensing process is completed successfully a licence will be issued to the venue and will run for three years. The venue will then be able to offer civil ceremonies at that venue but these can only be held in liaison with the Council's Registration Service and the ceremonies will be conducted by the Council's Registration Officers.

Important:- A venue can not offer or hold civil ceremonies until they have been notified that they have successfully completed the licensing process and have been issued with a formal licence by Cornwall Council.


An application should only be submitted after contacting the Ceremonies and Certificates Team office and after an inspection of the venue has been carried out.

Apply and pay online 

Alternatively you can applyy using the paper copies below.

Below is a brief summary of the main terms and conditions applying to the licensing process. Other conditions may apply and fuller details can be obtained by downloading a licence application form above or by contacting the registration administration office.  

Venues have to fulfil a number of requirements before they can be approved for civil ceremonies. These include the following:

  • venues must be permanent, roofed structures
  • they must have no recent or ongoing religious connections
  • the venue must be seemly and dignified for the conduct of civil ceremonies
  • the venue must be readily available for use by the public for civil ceremonies
  • the venue must have undertaken a thorough risk assessment and dealt immediately with any findings
  • the venue must be available at all reasonable times for inspection by the local authority
  • a venue can request the approval of more than one room and it is advisable to have a minimum of two rooms licensed for ceremonies if available.  There is no additional cost if more than one room is approved.
  • ceremonies cannot take place in the open air, in a garden or marquee or temporary structure.

What do I send with my application form?

If an application is submitted it should include the following:-

  • full payment of the appropriate licence fee (cheques are payable to Cornwall Council) Please note from 1 April 2016 the fee for a new licence application will be £1525.00 and renewal licence application will be £1210.00.
  • 4 copies of a plan (no larger than A3 size) showing the areas requiring approval for ceremonies and also an additional room which the registrar can use to interview the couple immediately before the ceremony

If any information is missing or incomplete this will delay the licensing process.

What happens when I send in my application form?

On receipt of the application form, full payment and plans, the Registration Service will consult with the fire officer and also place a notice on the councils webpage, by way of public consultation.

How long does it take to get my licence?

On receipt of the application form, payment and plans, the licensing process may take up to 90 calendar days to complete. 

Please note that the licensing process maybe delayed if any of the following apply:-

  • If the documentation received is not clear or complete
  • if further information is required
  • If there are any objections to the application 
  • If the fire officer or planning officer have any concerns about the venue being licenced.

Please note: a couple cannot give formal notice to get married or have their civil partnership at the venue until the licence has been granted.

Renewal process

A licence runs for three years and if a licence holder wants to continue to offer civil ceremonies after that time they must apply to renew the licence at least six months before the current licence expires. The renewal process is exactly the same as the original licence process and a renewal licence will also run for three years.

What happens if a licence is not granted or my licence is revoked?

If a licence is not issued or is revoked because the venue does not meet the licensing requirements, the licence holder may appeal to the Proper Officer and the appeal will be considered by a review panel.

Why would a licence be revoked?

  • If a venue licence fails to meet the licensing requirements
  • Breaches the terms of the licence
  • Breaches any local conditions applied as part of the licensing process
  • or breaches the law in relation to civil marriage or civil partnership


Once a complete application has been received a Public Notice will be placed on our website for a period of 21 days to enable members of the public to submit any objections to the licence.

The application and the plan accompanying it may be inspected, on prior receipt of a written request to the Licensing Officer, Registration Service, Dalvenie House, County Hall, Truro, Cornwall TR1 3AY. 

Any person may give notice in writing of an objection to the grant of approval to the premises, with reasons for the objection, not later than 21 days from the date of the publication of the notice.  Any such notices of objection should be sent to:

The Proper Officer, Registration Service, Cornwall Council, County Hall, Truro, Cornwall TR1 3AY.

If an objection is received, the licencing process is halted until all objections have been considered.

If my licence is not granted do I get a refund?

If the licence fee is paid but the licensing process is not completed successfully and a licence is not issued (for example if the venue does not meet all the required conditions), a refund of the licence fee may be considered.  This will depend on the particular individual circumstances.  If, after careful consideration, a refund is approved the local authority will retain an amount to cover any costs it incurs during the licensing process.

Please follow the links below to view the current legislation.

Please note that tacit approval does not apply to this application as this process is regulated by the following legislation, and the licence cannot be granted unless all the criteria are met.

(for civil ceremony licensing enquiries and to post applications):

Ceremonies and Certificates Team,
Cornwall Council,
Dalvenie House,
New County Hall,
Treyew Road,

Tel: 0300 1234 181

Ceremonies delivered by the Registration Service at Approved Venues
The Registration Service delivers a variety of civil ceremonies at approved venues:

Other useful links:-