Registrar fees – get ready to have your say

Aberdeenshire Council
Aberdeenshire Council

Aberdeenshire residents will be asked for their views on the charges applied by registrars for civil ceremonies.

Yesterday members of Aberdeenshire Council Business Services Committee approved a consultation to be held into a proposed rise in the fees for civil wedding ceremonies.

Members of the committee were told that the fees themselves have not changed since 2003 and the aim is to bring them in line with where they would be if inflationary increases had been applied regularly since then.

Aberdeenshire’s present charges for civil ceremonies are amongst the lowest in Scotland, and are significantly lower than those advertised by other nonreligious celebrant groups. Proposed fees will remain less than most other Local Authorities and also less than all other non-religious celebrants.

The proposal would see a rise of, for example, £50 onto the fees for a civil ceremony held in an external venue on a weekday, and also of £50 increase to get married in any of the council wedding suites on a Saturday. The full range of increases will be outlined in the engagement exercise.

Chair of the Business Services Committee Councillor Richard Thomson said: “An amount of what registrars charge is legally mandated, and the local charges applied on top in order to run the service efficiently have not been reviewed for some time. Today, elected members agreed that this charging structure should be reviewed. I encourage residents to engage with the upcoming consultation and make their views heard.”

Vice-chair Cllr Stephen Smith said: “Aberdeenshire has a reputation for being a popular place to get married. In recent years, our registrars have married couples on beaches, in forests, atop Lochnagar and Bennachie, in lighthouses, museums and distilleries, as well as in many well-known wedding venues. It is important that the service continues to be of a high standard. Today committee considered the review of how charges are levied and agreed that the time is right to engage on this topic. They remain keen to be sure that any increase could allow costs to be met without compromising levels of service.”

The committee debate included the different rates being set based on days of the week and the timescales for consultation. There was also confirmation that there should be no staffing implications, as this will not affect working practices, simply the fees applied.

The committee agreed to the launch of an engagement programme, and further details on that will follow.