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Registration offices, appointments and ceremonies: coronavirus updates

Updated 19 May 2020

In this time of rapid change and uncertainty we are doing our best to manage an unprecedented number of calls and emails about ceremony bookings.

We appreciate that you may have concerns about how the Government’s fast changing response to the coronavirus may affect your ceremony or registration appointment. Please read the information below before getting in touch.

Suspension of ceremonies

Ceremonies remain suspended until further notice.

The Government has now published its COVID-19 recovery strategy and updated its guidance and frequently asked questions, including in relation to ceremonies. In that, it has said its intention is that some small ceremonies may be possible over the summer months (after 1 June) should it be safe to do so. Please note however that the Government has been clear that there is no change at this time and ceremonies remain suspended.

We appreciate this period of uncertainty is challenging for couples and we will let you know as soon as we have more information.

Ceremonies

Key points for all our couples:

  • From 23 March 2020, ceremonies are suspended and will not resume until the Government lifts restrictions
  • No couple will lose any monies that you have already paid, these will be transferred over to a fresh booking
  • There is currently no fee for changing your ceremony date
  • We have stopped taking all non-urgent new ceremony bookings until further notice
  • We have stopped taking bookings for Ask a Celebrant appointments
  • We are honouring this year’s prices for ceremonies that are moved to next year, at this time
  • Current legislation around ceremonies has not changed at this time, therefore if you gave notice to get married in one venue, we cannot legally at this time move you to another venue for a legal ceremony without a fresh notice.

Registration offices, closures and appointments

All registration offices are closed to the public until further notice.

Notice of marriage or civil partnership appointments

New guidance from the General Register Office means we will be deferring some notice appointments as the government now requires people to stay at home except for very limited purposes. We have now sought to contact all individuals affected by this decision. If you have an existing notice booking and do not believe you have been contacted please get in touch via ceremonyenquiry@norfolk.gov.uk.

Please do not email us unless you have an existing booking.

Registering a death

From 31 March 2020 death registrations will be carried out remotely via telephone. You will not attend a registration office to complete the appointment. This is to ensure we meet social distancing guidelines and minimise the risk to both customers and registrars.

Death registration appointments can only be booked by calling Norfolk County Council on 0344 800 8020.

The registrar will phone you during your allocated time slot which will be a 3-4-hour window. Please ensure you are ready for the call and have the information outlined below on hand for reference. Please turn your phone on loud so you hear the call. The appointment should last around 30 minutes.

You can purchase death certificates from the registrar during your appointment (debit/credit card only).The certificates will be sent in the post following the appointment.<

To complete the appointment, you will need to provide the registrar with the following information:

  • Date and place of death
  • Full name of the person who has died, and any previous or maiden names where appropriate
  • Date and place of birth of the person who has died
  • Occupation (prior to retirement if applicable) and usual address of the person who has died
  • If the person who has died was married or in a civil partnership, the full names, date of birth and occupation of their spouse or civil partner
  • If the person who has died was still married or in a civil partnership, the date of birth of their widow, widower or surviving civil partner
  • Your name and address
  • If the deceased was receiving any pension or allowance from public funds, other than a state pension from public funds, please tell the registrar

The registrar will phone you at the time of appointment. Please ensure you are ready for the call with the above information gathered and your phone on loud. The appointment should last around 30 minutes.

Bereavement support and funeral planning

We understand that losing someone in these circumstances will be deeply upsetting and that you will want to celebrate your loved one’s life and mark their death in the way that is right for you and your family.

Losing a loved one

Inquests

We've had to change the way we make inquests accessible to the public. For more information, please visit our inquests information page.

Registering a birth

The government has asked all local authorities to defer birth appointments until we are through the current pandemic period. We will update this page when we can start registering births again.

You will be able to make a claim for child benefit or universal credit prior to the birth being registered during this period.

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