Legal necessities & preliminaries for civil marriages/partnerships

To have your legal marriage/civil partnership in Devon  [this  excludes Torbay & Plymouth which are separate Unitary Authorities]   you need to choose a Registration office, check its availability for the time and date you want, book it with the Ceremonies team at Devon Registration Service, and then GIVE NOTICE OF MARRIAGE/INTENTION TO FORM A CIVIL PARTNERSHIP. There are similar processes in Torbay, Plymouth and other counties but please confirm details with the relevant office.

GIVING NOTICE OF MARRIAGE/INTENTION TO FORM A CIVIL PARTNERSHIP  is the first legal step.  Everybody has to do this before they may marry/form a civil partnership. This must be done at a Registration Office in the district where you live. You will need to make an appointment to do this. You will also need to produce certain documents to confirm your name, age, marital status and nationality.  It will cost you £35 each.

If you happen to live in Devon it is quite easy because Devon is a single registration district. This means you can use any Registration office in Devon and this doesn’t have to be the same one as you choose to have your marriage/civil partnership in.  

Twenty-eight days after you give notice, the AUTHORITY TO MARRY will be issued, or for partnerships a SCHEDULE to enable the civil partnership registration to take place.
It is a crucial legal document: no authority = no marriage/ no schedule = no partnership.  It is valid for twelve months.
You will find a full guide to the legal process here.

In your legal marriage ceremony you are required to:
Confirm your full names
Make a declaration that you are legally free to marry
Say the contracting words that you each take the other to be your lawful wedded spouse.

Civil partnerships are not obligated to have a ceremony and there are no mandatory words.

In Devon the ceremonies offer more than this and you will also be invited to exchange rings and say vows.  You are free to choose to do this both at the legal marriage and at your free range wedding ceremony or you may choose to save the ring exchange and vows just for your  free range wedding ceremony, in front of all of your guests.

It will cost you £46 to get married/form a civil partnership before two witnesses, plus £11 for your certificate.
Full fees info here.