Essex Registration Service contacts couples whose wedding or partnership ceremonies are due before October

Uttlesford District Council has government funding for business grants. Picture: ARCHANT

Uttlesford District Council has government funding for business grants. Picture: ARCHANT - Credit: Archant

Registrars can now officiate at civil weddings and partnerships and some parents can register a birth

Civil weddings and partnerships, which had been booked up to October can now go ahead again and new parents can register the births of their babies.

The Essex Registration Service (ERS) resumed services on Saturday, July 4.

Essex residents can now book a face-to-face appointment to register a birth for babies born before April 30 this year.

The Government has confirmed that authorities can recommence registration services, provided appropriate safety procedures are in place and social distancing measures can be maintained.

The registration team is initially prioritising registrations for babies born before April 30 April. Provision will be regularly reviewed and the service will open for appointments for families with babies born after that date soon as it is able to.

Couples who have booked ceremonies will now be able to have these officiated by Essex Registrars if the venue hosting is able to safely accommodate the booking.

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Ceremonies taking place at community venues, such as a town hall or hotel can take place with up to 30 people. This includes the couple, two registrars, two witnesses and other people such as a photographer.

The registeration service recommends that all couples contact their chosen venue to discuss requirements and how social distancing guidelines can be followed during the ceremony, and for any separate reception planned.

Couples who have ceremonies booked up to October 31 are being contacted to discuss ceremony arrangements and to make arrangements to give notice. The first ceremony was due to take place in Chelmsford on Monday (July 6).

Although not yet taking new ceremony bookings, the service has already rescheduled some 1,500 bookings for couples who had to postpone their ceremonies during the national lockdown restrictions. It hopes to welcome new bookings in future.

Essex County Councillor Susan Barker, Cabinet Member for Customer, Communities, Culture and Corporate, said: “I would like to thank the staff who have been working at this difficult time to reorganise ceremonies and send my good wishes to all those couples now able to get married.”

Statutory Ceremonies will have a maximum attendance of seven, to allow for social distancing; again, this number includes the couple, two registrars and two witnesses. The Essex Register Office room is currently only available on Mondays, but the service will shortly be increasing booking availability to allow ceremonies on other days of the week.