Things to think about and do ... planning for your ceremony

Congratulations on taking your exciting first steps towards marriage or civil partnership in Milton Keynes! Use our guide and checklist below to help plan what you need to do before and on your special day. Go to our "How do we go about getting married?" for full notice and ceremony booking details.

Choosing a venue and ceremony

What to do next...

Once the ceremony is booked with both us and the venue

Marriage and Civil Partnership Ceremony pack

Completing your ceremony options form (enhanced ceremonies only) 

Do I need witnesses?


Photography and Video

Confetti - biodegradable confetti only

What will happen on the day?


Choosing a venue and ceremony  

Within the Milton Keynes registration district, you can choose to have a statutory wedding or civil partnership ceremony in our Register Office room which typically involves the two of you and two witnesses and up to two guests. Or you may choose to have an enhanced ceremony with us in: 

If you want to get married in your church or other place of worship please speak to them about arrangements as you may still need to book our services and a notice appointment.

If you are thinking about getting married abroad you can find more information on our getting married abroad page or you can visit  You may also want to consider a renewal of vows ceremony with us for family and friends who can't join you abroad.

Everyone’s ceremony is different and special and we will help to make it a very happy and personal occasion.  Our checklist may help you plan for your big day.

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What to do next ...

  • Decide if you want a statutory or enhanced ceremony
  • Check your chosen venue availability
  • Check availability and book your local Registration Service (you may have to be flexible on time and date).  If you are planning to hold your ceremony in the Register Office or an approved venue within the Milton Keynes Registration District, please click on the appropriate link below to make your booking with us - we are able to take bookings up to 2 years in advance.
  • Book your notice appointment to carry out the legal formalities at least 3 months before your big day, but we would recommend booking this up to 12 months ahead








Please check our fees table for charges for different venues and days.  Before making a booking please ensure you have read our How do we go about getting married pages and terms and conditions.  You will need to have a debit or credit card to hand when booking as fees are required to complete the booking process.  

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Once the ceremony is booked with both us and the venue

Marriage and Civil Partnership Ceremony pack (enhanced ceremonies only)
Completing your options form (enhanced ceremonies only)
Do I need witnesses?
Music (enhanced ceremonies only - Flowers Suite or approved venue)
Photography and Video
Confetti - biodegradable confetti only
What to expect on your big day

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Marriage and Civil Partnership Ceremony pack (enhanced ceremonies only)

Please take your time to read through your Marriage and Civil Partnership Ceremony pack (PDF, 6.5MB) as you will find lots of information within the pack to help you plan and personalise your enhanced ceremony.  Here you will find suggested readings as well as helpful reminders to ensure that your day runs smoothly. 

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Completing your ceremony options form (enhanced ceremonies only) 

If you are having an enhanced ceremony you need to think about your choices for the day and you will need to complete your ceremony options form, which you will find in your marriage pack (PDF, 6.5MB), or in the documents section on this page (please ensure that you select the correct form as these differ slightly depending on whether you are getting married or holding your civil partnership in the Flowers Suite or an approved venue).  This form should be completed and returned to the Register Office at least two weeks before your ceremony. 

This lets us know:

  • If you wish to see each other before the ceremony or if you prefer to enter the ceremony together
  • Who will have special roles during your ceremony
  • Which vows you would like to say
  • If you would like to say our extra promises
  • And tell us about any readings and music choices (some suggested music and readings are in your booklet) 

If you are getting married in the Register Office room, which is our smaller room, you do not need to complete this form. You will be seen together and we will guide to you through the vows and other required elements of your ceremony.

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Do I need witnesses?

For all ceremonies you will need to ask two people, who may be friends or relatives, to witness your ceremony.  They should be over the age of 16 and must be able to fully understand the ceremony.  They will watch the ceremony and sign the register.

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Music (enhanced ceremonies only - Flowers Suite or approved venue)

The music at your ceremony is a very personal matter and the choice is, of course, yours. 

If you would like your own music played at the ceremony, this must be provided on one CD and should contain around 20 minutes worth of music.  Due to legal constraints no religious music may be used.

The music is played as;

  • Your guests are arriving
  • For the bride and / or groom's entrance  
  • Whilst you sign the register and have a few photographs 
  • As you are leaving.

Please note it is not possible for us to locate particular tracks for specific parts of your ceremony apart from the bride and / or groom's entrance.  If you have a particular track you would like to have played when you make your entrance, please ensure that this is the first track on your CD.  We can then start the music from track two while your guests are being seated.

Any music you wish to provide should be at the Register Office at least seven days before the ceremony.  

If your ceremony is taking place in one of our approved venues, please discuss music arrangements directly with the venue, but please do list the tracks you will be using on the relevant ceremony choices form. 

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Photography and video

Your guests are very welcome to take photographs and / or video at specified times during the ceremony.  We ask you to not use a flash to avoid disrupting your ceremony.

If you would like someone to video your ceremony please let the Registrar know, so that the best position may be pointed out.  For safety reasons we cannot allow extra lighting and the recording equipment must run on batteries.

We have an attractive garden that can be used for further photo opportunities with the happy couple and guests.

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Confetti - biodegradeable ONLY

Confetti MUST be biodegradable.  Any other confetti can cause damage to the environment as well as the garden area and maintenance machinery resulting in expensive repair costs which may ultimately be passed on to those responsible.   

Please also remember that there may be other couples having ceremonies on the same day and to help us keep the ceremony room tidy we ask guests to wait until you are in the garden area before showering you with your biodegradable confetti. 

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What will happen on the day 

Arrival at the Register Office or venue

Consider parking arrangements and contact your venue for advice. 

It is important that you and your guests arrive at least 15 minutes before your ceremony to allow everything to run smoothly and allow us to attend to others booked on the same day.  

You will be greeted by the ceremony staff for a brief meeting.  This is essential to ensure all the information entered into the register will be correct.  You will also be asked to confirm the information given on your notices. We will be happy to answer any last minute questions at this time.  Please note that you do not need to bring any documentation with you on the day unless you have had a change of name since you gave your notice of marriage, in which case you must bring the original change of name or deed poll document.  

Witnesses will be asked how they write their signatures for your certificates (e.g. John Smith; JS; J Smith; J D Smith) and any key members of your party briefed.

Enhanced ceremonies begin with a short introduction and welcome,

The declaration of freedom to marry or enter into a civil partnership is made and after that:

  • Readings,
  • Contracting words,
  • exchange of rings
  • any additional promises 
  • you and your witnesses will then sign the register or schedule.

Congratulations are made by all to the happy couple, you then receive your certificate and are free to enjoy the rest of your special celebration!

if you are having your ceremony at the registry office please remember we are a non-smoking site and have other customers attending appointments so ask for your consideration and co-operation. 

Please check our fees table for details of all charges.  Before making a booking please ensure you have read our How do we go about getting married page and terms and conditions

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Last Updated: 5 August 2019