Book your ceremony at Highfields House
On 22 February 2021 the Government set out a roadmap which includes wedding ceremonies and civil partnerships. We are currently able to provide ceremonies for up to six attendees where couples have a “exceptional circumstances” and this will continue until the first step of the Governments roadmap on 29 March 2021.
Step one begins on Monday 29 March, weddings will have a legal limit of six attendees but will not be limited to ‘exceptional circumstances’
Step two will follow at least five weeks later, and no earlier than Monday 12 April. Under this phase of lockdown easing, weddings and receptions will be able to take place with a legal limit of up to 15 attendees.
Step three – again after at least five weeks, so no earlier than 17 May – weddings will be allowed to expand again, to a legal limit of 30 attendees.
It is hoped that England will reach step four, which essentially means lockdown is fully lifted – this will come no earlier than 21 June At this point, all restrictions on social interaction will be lifted, which means weddings will be able to go ahead without any legal limits on attendees (subject to the outcome of the scientific Events Research Programme – from April the government will run pilots for events such as large weddings to help determine how measures such as enhanced testing might allow large groups to attend without social distancing.)
All numbers include the couple and witnesses but do not include those working at the venue.
For couples who have had their ceremonies postponed and couples who have been in touch to make enquiries on booking a ceremony we will be contacting everyone at the earliest opportunity to discuss your ceremony and confirm your booking.
We can arrange bookings as outlined in the Governments roadmap, but this will be subject to any change in Government guidance.
We have three ceremony rooms available at Highfields House. Allowing for Social distancing these rooms can accommodate the following numbers:
- The Sandwell Suite – 22 people
- The Highfields Room and the Sandwell Register Office Room - four people (the couple and witnesses)
It is important to note that the maximum numbers that can be accommodated will be determined by Government guidance when announced.
The Sandwell Suite has recently been refurbished and has the benefit of sash windows overlooking our beautiful gardens. Soon we will be installing a stunning floral archway in the centre of the room which will make a beautiful background for photographs to be taken to remember your special day.
For any booking in the Sandwell Suite where numbers are reduced due to social distancing measures we will offer all couples a complimentary webcast of your ceremony so that this can be shared with your family and friends. A copy of this can also be purchased for £39.00
When restrictions are lifted our ceremony rooms can accommodate the following numbers:
- The Sandwell Suite – 85 people
- The Highfields Room – 16 people
- Sandwell Register Office Room - four people (the couple and witnesses)
Costs for ceremony rooms
The Highfields Room:
- Monday to Thursday - £124
- Friday and Saturday morning - £169
The Register Office Room:
- Monday to Thursday - £57
The Sandwell Suite:
- Monday to Thursday - £335
- Fridays and Saturdays - £463
- Sundays and Bank Holidays - £537
The ceremony - pre-ceremony interview
We will ask the couple to arrive 15 minutes in advance of the ceremony time and will take you into the ceremony room to complete the pre-ceremony interview. Once this is completed we will bring all guests into the room and once seated will start your ceremony.
The registrars will have discussed the ceremony format with you prior to the date of the ceremony. They will therefore wait in the ceremony room for your arrival and that of your guests.
We will ask your guests to wait outside and have marked out social distance markings. Before guests are invited into the building we have some simple screening questions that we will ask all guests to confirm if they have any symptoms of the Coronavirus.
To reduce the risk of spreading infection, cheering and/or shouting are to be discouraged. We therefore suggest that guests are be invited to mark the union of the couple by clapping which can be led by the registrar.
We can show visual tributes of the couple and family on our screen, this will appear as a slide show during the service or can be one photograph which will remain static on the screen. The cost for a single photograph is £20 and for up to 50 photographs will cost £75
After the ceremony
You are very welcome to take photographs in our gardens following all ceremonies.
If you have any questions about ceremonies, please do not hesitate to get in touch and we will be happy to provide further information on what we can offer and discuss your requirements.
Frequently asked questions
Q1: Where a person is shielding, can a marriage be solemnized, or a civil partnership formation take place remotely by video conferencing technology?
A: No, there is no provision within current legislation for a virtual marriage or civil partnership to take place, however the venue may be able to broadcast the event so that guests may join virtually.
Q2: Should PPE be worn by all parties at all times? How can you tell if it’s the same person who gave Notice if they have a mask on?
A: All guests are now asked to wear a face covering throughout the ceremony . Identity can still be checked before the ceremony (if required) by the wearer briefly removing it whilst complying with social distancing guidelines.
Q3: What if someone with Covid-19 symptoms attends the Register Office/Approved Venue? Can we ask them to leave?
A: Yes. Guidance regarding public health and social distancing should always be followed. Anyone who has Covid-19 symptoms should be self-isolating at home along with others in their household. If it is one of the parties to the marriage or civil partnership a new date can be rearranged over the phone. If it is one, or both, of the witnesses the couple will be required to provide new witnesses. It is acceptable for a member staff to volunteer to be witnesses in this circumstance.
Q4: Can enhancements to the solemnization or a marriage or formation of a civil partnership be offered?
A: The government guidance advises that the ceremonies and services should be concluded in the shortest reasonable time and limited as far as reasonably possible to the parts of the marriage or civil partnership that are required in order to be legally binding under the law of England and Wales. Please see above.
Q5: The grounds of the Register Office/Approved Venues are lovely – as there is less risk outside can the ceremony take place there instead?
A: No. A marriage or civil partnership must take place within the venue as detailed on the Notice and Authority, and as specified in the approval of the premises. The outside space is not included as part of the venue.
Q6: Why can’t witnesses use video technology to witness the ceremony?
A: There is still a requirement within the legislation for 2 witnesses to attend to witness a marriage or civil partnership and then sign the register.
However, video technology could be used for other guests where this is available.
Q7: Are babies included in the numbers? Are babies allowed to attend?
A: Yes, babies are included in the overall numbers and a parent/guardian or member of the household must hold the infant.
You can also get married at other venues in Sandwell, including hotels and West Bromwich Albion Football Club.
Our photographers are on hand to capture your special moments at our Register Office in West Bromwich.
All couples getting married at the Register Office, and at all venues other than a Church of England church, must give Notice of Marriage.
Booking your ceremony
If you have a date in mind for holding your wedding or civil partnership, you can book with us up to two years in advance.
A provisional booking fee of £61 is payable to save the date when you book your ceremony. This is a separate fee and does not form part of a deposit, please note it is non-refundable.
How to pay
For the Register Office ceremony room or for The Highfields Room, the hire fee is payable either at your notice appointment (if given at Sandwell Register Office) or the day after you give notice (if given at any other Register Office).
For the Sandwell Suite, the room hire fee must be paid at three months before your ceremony.
Payments can be made by card (in person or over the phone) cash or cheque.
Please note, once fees have been paid in full, if you wish to cancel your ceremony without re-booking we will only refund 50% of the room hire cost.
If you cancel within three weeks of the ceremony date then no refund will be payable.
If you need to change the date of your wedding once it is booked, there will be a £40 charge.
Call us on 0121 368 1188
Sandwell Register Office
- Monday to Wednesday 9am - 4.30pm
- Thursday 10am - 4.30pm
- Friday 9am - 4pm
- Saturday - 9am-1pm
- Sunday - By appointment