National Records of Scotland

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What form does a civil partnership registration take in Scotland?

What form does a civil partnership registration take in Scotland?

There is no legally prescribed form of ceremony to be used in relation to civil partnership registrations in Scotland.  The registration, with or without a ceremony, can be conducted in English - or in any other language (including Gaelic, Scots, British Sign Language), so long as all parties including the celebrant can understand the language (with the services of a translator if necessary).

Registration Without Ceremony

If you wish for your civil partnership registration to take place in a registrar’s office without any ceremonial aspects please contact the registrar to make an appointment to complete the registration of your civil partnership.  During your registration appointment you will be asked to check the Civil Partnership Schedule to ensure the details are correct. Both parties to the civil partnership, and your two witnesses, will then be asked to sign the Schedule.

Civil Partnership Ceremony

If you would prefer, you may wish to have a ceremony to celebrate your civil partnership.
Whether you are planning your civil partnership ceremony to take place in a registrar’s office, or at a place agreed with the registration authority e.g. a hotel, a beauty spot or in your home, you may choose to personalise your civil partnership ceremony.

Registrars will be happy to assist in the planning of your civil partnership ceremony, whether you choose to have a simple, quiet ceremony, or a larger event. It is always advisable to let the registrar know your wishes for your civil partnership ceremony well in advance of the date.

You may incorporate readings, poetry, music and other customs or indeed your own personal vows to one another. There are no legal declarations in a civil partnership ceremony.  In many Local Authorities the registrar will offer to provide you with samples of content options.

Couples may be permitted to have religious readings or hymns forming part of their civil partnership proceedings.  Any content of a religious nature would not be carried out by the registrar.  Usually couples prefer family members or friends to do this.

The order of the ceremony can be personalised.  An example of content often included in a civil partnership ceremony is detailed below.

  • Arrival of Guests
  • Arrival of both parties 
  • Welcome & Introduction by Authorised Registrar
  • Confirmation that there is no impediment to the partnership
  • Exchange of pledges
  • Exchange of Rings/Gifts
  • Signing of the Civil Partnership Schedule

A Religious or Belief Civil Partnership Ceremony

Religious or belief civil partnership ceremonies vary greatly, depending on the religion or belief involved.

They include civil partnership ceremonies by celebrants of religious denominations and a wide variety of belief bodies.  Belief bodies include but are not limited to humanist, pagan, interfaith and spiritualist.  The detail of the civil partnership ceremony will be discussed with the celebrant and parties to be civilly partnered.

Who can register a civil partnership?

Only celebrants approved by the Registrar General can register civil partnerships.

Anyone who wishes to become an approved civil partnership registration celebrant or couples seeking to have a relative or friend register their civil partnership should refer to the guidance on Who can be a Celebrant.