Approved Premises Licence
Apply for a licence to hold civil ceremonies such as marriages, civil partnerships, renewal of vows, naming ceremonies, enhanced and bespoke ceremonies.
If you are the owner, manager or trustee of a hotel, stately home or other venue, you can apply for a licence to hold civil ceremonies.
The licence is granted through the Marriage Act 1994 and the Civil Partnership Act 2004.
Licence eligibility criteria
The premises must:
- be a permanent immovable structure comprising of at least a room or any boat or other vessel which is permanently moored
- be a seemly and dignified venue for the proceedings
- not have any current connection with any religion, religious practice or persuasion
- meet the required fire precautions and other health and safety provisions
- be a separate room for interviewing the couple prior to the ceremony
- have disabled access
- have parking provision for the registrars
The holder of the approval must ensure that there is at all times an individual with responsibility for ensuring compliance with the approved premises licence conditions.
Permanent ancillary / outdoor structures
These may include garden buildings, summer houses, gazebo’s etc.
The building must:
- be a permanent immovable structure
- have a brick, stone or concrete base
- have a waterproof roof
- have at least 3 of a minimum of 3ft high to provide protection from the elements
- be at least 4 metres square
Download the outdoor structure licence conditions.
Fees payable for an Approved Premises Licence
The current fees for applying for an Approved Premises licence are as follows:
From 1 April 2021 to 31 March 2024:
- 3-year licence £1,850.00*
- 5-year licence £3,000.00
- 6-year licence £3,500.00
*Fees for renewal altered due to COVID-19: 3-year licence - 1/3 off for one renewal only.
Payment can also be made by card over the telephone or by cheque made payable to Worcestershire County Council.
The fee includes the public notice and all administration.
The fee is non-refundable once paid; therefore, you may wish to contact us before you make your application so that we can advise you regarding your premises.
A pre-inspection of your premises can be carried out for a fee of £75. This amount will be deducted from the fees payable when your completed application is submitted.
Applying for an Approved Premises Licence
Before you apply
The licence fee is non-refundable once paid; therefore, you may wish to contact us before you make your application so that we can advise you regarding your premises.
A pre inspection of your premises can be carried out for a fee of £75. This amount will be deducted from the fees payable when your completed application is submitted.
You will need to contact the planning department at your Local Council and let them know:
- what the premises is currently used for
- what you intend to use if for
- the proposed number of ceremonies per year
We recommend you obtain either a letter or email from the planning department before you submit an application, as the fee is non-refundable.
How to apply for an Approved Premises licence
You will need to submit the following documents:
- completed Approved Premises Application Form see also the Application Guidance Information
- the relevant fee
- current Fire Risk Assessment see also the Fire Risk Assessment Guidance Information
- a plan of the room(s) in relation to the building
- Premises Licence (if applicable)
- other licences e.g. entertainments, alcohol etc. (if applicable)
- licence fee (as detailed above)
- written evidence from your local planning office that no planning permission is necessary for the use of the venue for marriages or civil partnerships. (see note below)
Please be aware that you will not be able to take bookings or market this venue until an Approved Premises Licence has been granted.
After your application for an Approved Premises Licence
During the evaluation process:
- the application is checked to ensure all conditions have been met
- a public notice is placed on the Worcestershire County Council website for 3 weeks
- a copy of the plan, risk assessment and application is sent to the Fire & Rescue Service for comment and any recommendations
- a formal inspection is undertaken by the Local Authority to ensure all aspects of the conditions can be met
Will tacit consent apply?
Yes, the application will be processed within approximately 10 weeks of receipt of all required documents and payment.
Appeal a failed application
An applicant who is refused a license can appeal for review to the Registration and Coroner Services Manager.
Licence holder redress
Contact the Registration and Coroner Services Manager via firstname.lastname@example.org.
Making changes to an existing Approved Premises Licence
If you wish to make any changes to your existing licence, e.g. licence holder, staff changes, room capacities, additional rooms etc. please use the Application to Make changes to Approved Premises Licence.