Wedding Licenses for Schools: What You Need to Know

School Weddings – What Licenses Do You Need?


Engaged couples are always looking for alternative wedding venues to the traditional church. Schools can provide a great option for many considering the many facilities that are available, including stunning buildings and elegant grounds for photographs.


Offering your school as a potential wedding venue for would-be married couples is not as simple as just accepting a booking and making sure the hall is free! Your school will need to apply for a license, and there are legal restrictions on weddings in a school chapel.


What type of ceremonies will you offer?

First, consider the type of ceremony that your school will offer. Some couples may not want a religious ceremony, but may still like to have a minister to conduct the ceremony. Civil wedding ceremonies can be conducted by a celebrant and a registrar, or just the registrar.


The requirements for civil and religious ceremonies are as different as the ceremonies themselves. You can choose to license the premises for just one option or both, depending on the facilities available. A chapel must always be used for religious ceremonies, whereas civil weddings cannot be held on ground with religious connections.


It’s important to note that wedding ceremonies cannot be conducted in the open air. Your school can also apply for a license for a garden structure which will enable wedding ceremonies to take place in the grounds between April and September. The ceremony itself must take place within the structure.


Need help with deciding which license to apply for? Call us at Beautiful Schools on 020 3286 2805 – we’re happy to help with advice and an audit of your school’s wedding-friendly facilities.


Civil marriages

If you choose to offer civil ceremonies, you will need to apply to the local council for a Grant of Approval. (1) The application will need to include details of the venue, and the council’s application fee.


There are some criteria that need to be met for the application to be successful. This includes:

  • designating a specific room, inside the building, where the ceremonies will be held
  • providing specific contact details to the council of the person who will ensure the conditions are met


The council will also inspect the premises before awarding the Grant of Approval. If your application is successful, the grant is valid for at least three years and can be renewed within a year of the expiry date.


Religious ceremonies in school chapels

If you have a chapel in your school grounds, it is an ideal venue for couples looking for more intimate or private religious ceremonies. However, for a couple to have their wedding ceremony in the chapel, they will need to have an established connection to your school, either as a member of staff (past or present), family of staff, or as an ex-pupil. Couples with no connection to the school may have a Service of Blessing in the chapel, and some schools also offer Renewal of Vows ceremonies too.


To offer a Church of England wedding ceremony that includes any religious content, you must apply for a Special License from The Faculty Office of The Archbishop of Canterbury. (2) These are granted on an individual basis. The Faculty Office will consider other applications if the minister that is conducting the ceremony writes to them on the couple’s behalf.


The Faculty Office also has various conditions that need to be met. These include obtaining approval from both families, and the minister that the couple wish to conduct the service.


Applying for your license

Once you have read and met all the conditions outlined for the type of ceremony that you want to offer, you can apply on the relevant website.




For more information on how to register and market your school as an exclusive and private wedding venue, get in touch. Our team will be happy to advise you on the requirements of today’s discerning brides and grooms, who may find your school to be the perfect setting for their most special of days.


Call us on 020 3286 2805.

Posted on: 28 May 2017