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Licensing a venue

In order to have a civil marriage or partnership in a venue, the venue must have a licence issued by the local authority. Prospective venues in the Kent and Bexley areas should contact the Licensing Team at Kent County Council.

To be licensed, a ceremony venue must be a permanent structure. It must provide a seemly and dignified place where the important personal events of peoples lives may be celebrated with solemnity and dignity.

The application procedure for a licence is very straightforward and advice is available throughout the process. A free inspection is available to all prospective applicants and this enables advice and assistance to be given prior to a formal application being submitted. Most venues find it useful to take advantage of this service before making a final decision. The process for licensing a venue is usually 6-8 weeks.

Please take the time to read the information booklet which provides details of the licensing regulations, the application process, contact details, help and advice. Once a venue is licensed the Licence Holder will need to ensure that the terms and conditions are adhered to.

Frequently asked questions regarding licensing a venue

Q. Can any type of venue obtain a licence?

A. Venues come in all shapes and sizes and do not need to be part of the 'event business' or able to offer reception facilities, some venues may offer ceremonies only. Most venues are suitable, provided they meet with the requirements set out in the Marriages and Civil Partnerships (Approved Premise) Regulations 2005 (please see the Licensing Information booklet).

Q. Can I get married outside?

A. In this country, you must be married in a permanent, immovable structure. These are usually rooms within a building. Venues can also include outside structures, as part of their licence, such as gazebos and summerhouses, provided they meet with the licence criteria set out in the information booklet. It may be possible to licence a marquee, provided the venue can provide evidence of permanent planning permission.

Q. How long does the licence last?

A. The venue will be licensed for a period of 3 years, unless revoked during this period. It can be renewed during the last year of the licence.

Q. Can I get married at home?

A. It may be possible to obtain a licence for a private home, the licence would be treated in exactly the same way as a commercial licence.

To contact the Licensing Team please call 03000 414003 or email kentish.ceremony@kent.gov.uk

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