Licensing of Premises for Ceremonies

The Council of the Isles of Scilly Registration Service issues licences to venues on any of the inhabited islands to enable them to host ceremonies for the formation of civil marriages, civil partnerships and the conversion of civil partnerships to marriage.

For the purposes of the licensing process the Registration Service can only accept applications and payment from the venue owner or an authorised person (eg. Manager) and not from a couple planning to hold a ceremony at the venue.

Once the licensing process has been completed successfully a 3 year licence will be issued,  the venue will then be able to offer civil ceremonies but only in liaison with the Council's Registration Service; ceremonies will be conducted by the Council's Registration Officers.

Important: A venue can not offer or hold civil ceremonies unless they have been notified that they have successfully completed the licensing process and have been issued with a formal licence by The Council of the Isles of Scilly.

Before submitting a formal application

Before submitting a formal application venues should contact the Superintendent Registrar who will provide advice and guidance on the licensing process and arrange an inspection of the venue.

Application forms

Following a successful inspection the Superintendent Registrar will provide an application form and accompanying guidance notes.

Summary guidance

Below is a brief summary of the main terms and conditions applying to the licensing process. Other conditions may apply and fuller details can be obtained by contacting the Superintendent Registrar.


Venues have to fulfil a number of requirements before they can be approved for civil ceremonies:

  • venues must be permanent, roofed structures
  • they must have no recent or ongoing religious connections
  • the venue must be seemly and dignified for the conduct of civil ceremonies
  • the venue must be readily available for use by the public for civil ceremonies
  • the venue must have undertaken a thorough risk assessment and dealt immediately with any findings
  • the venue must be available at all reasonable times for inspection by the local authority
  • a venue can request the approval of more than one room, if available, it is advisable to have a minimum of two rooms licensed for ceremonies; there is no additional cost to have more than one room is approved.
  • ceremonies cannot take place in the open air, in a garden, marquee nor any temporary structure.

What do I send with my application form?

If an application is submitted it should include the following:-

  • Full payment of the appropriate licence fee (cheques are payable to the Council of the Isles of Scilly). The cost of a licence is £1860. Fees increase annually.
  • A plan (no larger than A3 size) showing the areas requiring approval.

If any information is missing or incomplete this will delay the licensing process.

What happens when I send in my application form?

On receipt of the application form, full payment and plans the Superintendent Registrar  will consult with the fire officer; the application will be advertised on the council's website, the Town Hall notice board, the Celebrate on Scilly Facebook page and the Register Office notice board to allow for public scrutiny.

The public has three weeks in which to raise any objections.

How long does it take to get my licence?

On receipt of the application form, payment and plans, the licensing process may take up to two months to complete.

Please note that the licensing process maybe delayed if any of the following apply:-

  • If the documentation received is not clear or complete
  • if further information is required
  • If there are any objections to the application
  • If the fire officer or planning officer have any concerns about the venue being licenced.

A couple cannot give formal notice to get married or have their civil partnership at the venue until the licence has been granted.

Renewal process

A licence runs for 3 years, if a licence holder wishes to continue to offer civil ceremonies after that time they must apply to renew the licence at least 6 months before the current licence expires. The renewal process is exactly the same as the original  process with the renewed licence also lasting for three years.

What happens if a licence is not granted or my licence is revoked?

If a licence is not issued or is revoked because the venue does not meet the licensing requirements, the licence holder may appeal to the Proper Officer and the appeal will be considered.

Why would a licence be revoked?

  • If a venue licence fails to meet the licensing requirements
  • Breaches the terms of the licence
  • Breaches any local conditions applied as part of the licensing process
  • or breaches the law in relation to civil marriage or civil partnership

If my licence is not granted do I get a refund?

No refunds are given if a licence is not approved.

If the licence is granted the venue will be advertised in the Council of the Isles of Scilly's Registration brochure and will feature on the Celebrate Scilly Facebook page.

Regulations Summary

Please follow the links below to view the current legislation.

Please note that tacit approval does not apply to this application as this process is regulated by the following legislation, and the licence cannot be granted unless all the criteria are met.

Contact details

Registration Services
Town Hall
Isles of Scilly
TR21 0JL

Tel: 01720 424501