Marriages, civil partnerships and celebratory services | Central Bedfordshire Council

Marriages, civil partnerships and celebratory services

Ceremonies at the Court House

Licensed premises for:

  • marriage ceremonies, civil partnership registrations
  • renewal of vows, baby naming
  • citizenship ceremonies

The Ampthill Room

The Court House, Woburn Street, Ampthill, Bedfordshire, MK45 2HX

Ampthill is a small historic town with picturesque narrow streets lined with fine Georgian and Tudor architecture. The Ampthill Room is located in the former Magistrates' Court, a short distance from the town centre.

The room is bright and airy, decorated in heather and grey with comfortable seating for 100 (90, with 10 standing) with plenty of parking at the weekends and a grassed area for photographs.

How we're being COVID safe

What happens at the pre-marriage interview?

This is now conducted over the phone on the last working day before your ceremony. So, if you are getting married or forming a civil partnership on a Monday, this will be undertaken on the previous Friday.

Do you have to give us any information regarding your guests and witnesses?

Under COVID-19 regulations concerning test and trace, we will need names, addresses and phone numbers for all your guests. This information will be kept for 21 days from the date of your ceremony and then confidentially destroyed.

How many guests can come to the ceremony?

Close friends and family only up to a maximum of 13 guests this includes your witnesses, children and babies.

What will happen if you bring too many guests or are late?

Your ceremony will have to be cancelled and all fees are non-refundable.

What time should you arrive?

10 minutes before your ceremony time, come to the main doors at the front of the Court House, please do not attempt to enter the building, a registrar will collect you and your guests. Please ensure your party all remain socially distant.

COVID-19 secure (including face coverings)

  • everyone needs to use the hand sanitiser on entry
  • if anyone has COVID-19 symptoms, they won't be allowed in
  • brides, grooms and civil partners don't have to wear a face covering
  • guests must wear face coverings at all times
  • please bring your own pen for signing the register or civil partnership schedule (preferably permanent, black, ink)
  • witnesses will also need to bring their own pen

Can your father walk you down the aisle?

As long as social distancing is maintained or you are from the same household.

Can you have a reading?

No. We are currently following government guidance, which does not provide for enhancements in the ceremony.

Can you have your choice of music?

As long as we've agreed the music choices, you can bring your Bluetooth device, which you can connect to our music system. We cannot accept any other forms of music, but if you do not have a Bluetooth device, we will play our own background music for your entrance, signing of the register / civil partnership schedule and exit.

Photography of ceremony

You can have one designated photographer, who must remain seated during the ceremony at a 2-metre social distance. No posed photographs of the register signing are allowed, to limit the possible transfer of infection and to respect other couples who'll be after you.

Videography and video calls

This is OK, as long as equipment is operated by a person from their seat on the front row of chairs. We cannot allow standing, at the moment, as we need to ensure social distancing is maintained throughout the ceremony.

Can you use the garden at the rear of the Court House for photographs?

Yes. Please keep to a minimum, to enable our following couples to also use the garden after their ceremony. Please be aware that you must adhere to social distancing, as required under the latest government legislation.

Can confetti be thrown?

No, confetti can't be thrown.

Legal declaration / contracting words and ring exchange promises

These are your legal vows. Under the Marriage Ceremony (prescribed word) Act, you must make one choice from the declaratory words and one from the contracting words.

Declaratory words (choose one of these)

I do solemnly declare that I know not of any lawful impediment why I (name here) may not be joined in matrimony to (name here).

I declare that I know of no legal reason why I (name here), may not be joined in marriage to (name here).

By replying "I am" to the question "Are you (name here) free, lawfully, to marry (name here)?"

Contracting words (choose one of these)

I call upon these persons here present to witness that I (name here), do take thee (name here), to be my lawful wedded wife/husband.

I, (name here), take thee, (name here), to be my wedded wife/husband.

I, (name here), take you, (name here), to be my wedded wife/husband.

Words for exchanging of rings

The love that I have, is all that I have, and the love that I have is yours. The love that I have of the life that I have, is yours and yours and yours.

With this ring, I vow to laugh with you in joy. To grieve with you in sorrow. To be faithful to you, and to cherish and respect you as long as we both shall live.

I give this ring as a token of the vows made between us this day. I receive this ring as a symbol of our marriage and the commitment we are making today.

I give you this ring as a token of my love and loyalty. And as a lasting reminder of the vows made between us this day.

I promise to love and care for you, to comfort and protect you, to listen and confide in you, to respect your thoughts and your dreams and to trust and believe in you, above all others.