Deputy Superintendent Registrar, Louise Clover
We've got in touch with the experts - those people who conduct the marriage ceremony - to ask all those wedding questions that you've always wanted to ask!
Not enough registrars!
Q: We're planning to get married next summer in a civil ceremony at a registered venue and seem to have run into a problem. We've tentatively booked a venue for the ceremony, but the registrars are unavailable. As it is a registered venue, I understand that we need two registrars. Is there any way around this? Can registrars work outside of their area - we're in London and the venue is very close to two other boroughs so is getting registrars to travel from a neighbouring borough possible? If the problem is one of seniority of the registrars, is it a case of "dead men's shoes" and the limited number of such registrars, or could someone be promoted to the necessary level and create more capacity at the registrar's offices?
A: Unfortunately, no Register Office has an unlimited supply of staff so we have to try and work within the numbers we have. Most have more than one person able to conduct or register a marriage but obviously, they cannot be in two places at once. Busy Districts such as ours usually have more than one team working, particularly at a weekend, but as we take provisional bookings up to one year in advance, spaces are allocated on a first come first served basis. It is not possible to have staff attend from another District either. Perhaps you could consider being flexible on time and date? Whilst we understand how frustrating all this must seem we are stuck with legislation that was written in 1837 and has changed little since, we also have to work within staffing levels like everyone else so try to do this best we can with the resources we have. A major review of registration is under way but will take years to be completed and then allocated Parliamentary time to implement. Good luck to all those of you planning your marriage. My best advice for the day itself? Enjoy yourselves - it's your day not anyone else's and the memories you make will last a lifetime.
Our various celebrants may offer very different answers to the same questions, not only because of the religious tradition they follow, but because they have their own personal views too - religious questions don't necessarily have a right or wrong answer!