If you wish to hold a civil marriage or civil partnership registration in premises in Northern Ireland, they must first be approved by the Council.
Apply to have a place approved for weddings and civil ceremonies
Eligibility Criteria - Who can apply?
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.
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 and 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 or 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.
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 (ie hotel where the reception is to be held) then approval must be sought for this location as well.
Marriage Regulations (NI) 2003
Civil Partnerships Regulations (NI) 2005
Application Evaluation 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 £400 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 Service
The Council's Building Control Service
3. On receipt of the application the Council shall arrange for public notice of the application to be given by requiring the applicant to place 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 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 £400 - all cheques should be made payable to Mid Ulster District Council.
3. Two character references to help determine if applicant is a 'fit and proper person'.
4. 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.
5. 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 provide 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.
6. Details of public liability insurance in respect of the place for which approval is sought.
7. The Fire and Rescue Services (NI) Order 2006, and regulations made under it, require any person with control over premises, in particular that require licence or Council approval for registration, to carry out a Fire Risk Assessment. This legislation is normally enforced by the Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service. However, to help you comply with this law, the Council has entered into an arrangement with NIFRS which means that Council Licensing Officers will enforce this fire safety legislation in Places providing Entertainment. Applicants MUST now provide a written copy of an up-to-date Fire Risk Assessment with their application.
8. 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?
No. It is in the public interest that Mid Ulster District Council must process your application before it can be granted. The Police, NIFRS and local people have a legitimate interest in the outcome of entertainment licence applications. Tacit consent does not apply to minimise the risk of an approval being granted inadvertently and subsequently resulting in public safety being at risk. If you have not heard from the Council within a reasonable period, please contact us.
While Tacit Consent does not apply we will strive to notify all applicants of the outcome of their application, including issuing the licence, within 10 working days of the Council decision made in relation to the application.
Applicants will be made aware if objections have been made to an application at the first practicable opportunity.
Failed Application Redress: Please contact Mid Ulster District 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 Mid Ulster District Council in the first instance.
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 of 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: Please contact Mid Ulster District Council in the first instance.
Trade Associations: General Register's Office