Licensing – What You Need To Know

You have a space that would be perfect for hosting weddings, giving your annual income a bit of a boost! Great!  Here’s what you need to know about licensing in your space in England and Wales.

Civil Licences

Unless you are a licensed venue for civil weddings, any couple who has a wedding ceremony in your space will need to do the legal bit elsewhere at approved premises.  This could be a registry office or church.  Couples who would like a wedding ceremony in an unlicensed space can use a celebrant.

Alcohol Licence

If you already have a licence to sell alcohol, but not specifically for weddings, you will need to apply for a Temporary Event Notice (£21 per event) to extend your licence for the period of the wedding (max 168 hours per event).  Depending on the sort of licence you have you can apply for upward of 5 different Notices a year.  Check with your local authority for more information. 



Photo Credit: Enchanted Brides 

If you don’t have an alcohol licence, those hiring your space may need to apply for a Temporary Event Notice if they plan to have a cash bar (providing free alcohol does not require a licence).   Any contractors brought in to sell alcohol, such as mobile bar hire, should have a licence to sell alcohol.  If they don’t a Temporary Event Notice application will need to be made. 


An extra licence is needed to sell alcohol after 11pm. 


 Polhawn Fort Box and Cox25.jpg

Photo Credit: CameraHannah


Music Licenses


Playing of music, whether recorded or live for the purposes of a wedding does not require a licence as long as the organisers of the wedding don’t make the unusual step to charge guests entry. 


Spaces with a licence to sell alcohol must not play music after 11pm unless they have an entertainment licence which allows them to do so.  Those unlicensed spaces with near neighbours generally put a music curfew of 11pm on loud music out of respect for their neighbours. 




Before holding your first wedding, contact your local authority to talk everything through with them to get the most up to date advice and make sure you’ve got all the licenses you need.  


Licencing in Scotland and Northern Ireland differs from England and Wales. 

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