Venues can be authorised to celebrate marriages under the Marriages Act 1949 by registering it as a place of worship or a venue for celebrating civil marriage.
Places of worship
The trustees of a place of worship can apply on the congregation's behalf to have their place of worship registered with the Registrar General for England and Wales under the Places of Worship Registration Act 1855. The fee is £29. Please contact the superintendent registrar for Ealing.
You will need to complete a registration service Form 76 in duplicate and a sketch-plan of the building, and in most circumstances a copy of the Memorandum of Association or similar governing document. The superintendent registrar will supply you with registration Form 78 in duplicate, which requires a minimum of twenty households in the congregation to sign that they wish their place of worship to be authorised for the celebration of marriage. The fee for this is £123.
Once the authorisation is given, couples may arrange to be married at the place of worship if they live in the Ealing registration district or, if not, use the place of worship as their usual place of worship. For the first year a registrar will attend each marriage to make sure the legal requirements are complied with and register the marriage. After the first year's probationary period is over, the congregation can apply to the registrar general for their own registrar/s to be appointed and be supplied with duplicate registers for registering marriages.
If a place of worship does not follow the legal requirements yet performs marriages, they put the couples in question at great social disadvantage as they will not have a government document to prove they are legally married. This will inevitably cause problems with regards to legitimacy, inheritance, benefits issues and emigration.
Venues for civil marriage
The Marriage Act 1949 authorises the local authority to license venues for celebrating civil marriage (ie without any religious content). The fee is £800 for a three-year licence (renewable) for two or fewer rooms and £1000 for three or more rooms.
Once the application has been accepted, marriages may take place under the Marriage Act 1949 in the presence of the superintendent registrar and a registrar from the Ealing Register Office.
Please contact the superintendent registrar for Ealing (who will supply you with the appropriate application forms).