Emergency Weddings and Civil Partnerships

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Emergency Weddings/Civil Partnerships in Hospital 

When asked if a marriage or civil partnership is possible on the ward the following needs to be established:

  1. The patient is not expected to recover
  2. The patient is unable to leave hospital
  3. The patient is able to give informed consent and is of sound mind

If all of the above criteria have been met then those facts need to be put in a letter written by the patient’s consultant and faxed to the relevant registrar.  Please ensure you have also established that neither person is currently married/in a partnership and have the documents they require to prove they are able to marry/ be in a partnership.

In an emergency the registrar can only perform a civil ceremony.  The chaplain is not allowed to attend that part of the ceremony but a service of blessing could follow the legal act.

If the patient wants to get married by the chaplain, there is a special Archbishops License in the Church of England but this can take a little longer to organise, however if the chaplain is from a free church tradition (e.g. Methodist, Baptist, URC) the registrar may agree to allow the chaplain to do a marriage service.  This is dependant upon the registrar but it has happened at other hospitals.

An emergency registrar, as long as they have all the required documentation can perform the ceremony on the same day.  These are the phone numbers required:


Useful Contact Numbers  

Royal Oldham

Normal office hours – 0161 770 3708

Out of hours - 0161 770 3000

(In Oldham this is a general number but they should take your number and call you back)

North Manchester

Normal office hours – 0161 234 5555

Out of hours - 07908712006

Rochdale Infirmary 

Normal office hours – 01706 924784

Out of hours - 0845 1212975

Fairfield General

Normal office hours – 0161 253 6026

Out of hours - 0161 253 6606

If you feel that you are not getting anywhere, the other number to have at hand is the North West Registrar in Southport. They can be contacted on: 0151 471 4237.


For the special Archbishop’s license

Normal office hours – 020 7222 5381

Fax number - 020 7222 7502

Out of hours - 020 7823 5663

Email: – faculty.office@1Thesanctuary.com

If there are still problems or queries please ring the chaplaincy co-ordinator on 07870693047.