Registrars fees - have your say

Aberdeenshire residents could be asked for their views on the charges applied for civil ceremonies.

Today papers have been published which will be discussed at the next meeting of the Aberdeenshire Council Business Services Committee next week, in which councillors will be asked to invited to agree an engagement exercise on proposals to increase fees for civil wedding ceremonies.

The report outlines the need for engagement with the community into a suggested increase. 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 annually. Currently, Aberdeenshire’s 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 report itself proposes a rise, for example, of £50 onto the fees for a civil ceremony held in an external venue on a weekday, and also of £50 to get married in any of the council wedding suites on a Saturday.

Aberdeenshire Council’s registration staff have established a reputation for providing a high quality, customer focused service that is geared to meeting the particular needs of clients throughout the preparation and the delivery of their civil marriage service. Aberdeenshire registrars will, and regularly do, marry couples in almost any venue, from the many hundreds of ceremonies which take place in traditional wedding venues the length and breadth of Aberdeenshire to the more unusual such as the top of a hill or a lighthouse.

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 of that to run the service efficiently have not been reviewed for some time. It is imperative that we take account of other fee increases applied to other council services and balance the needs of the service with the needs of couples in Aberdeenshire.”

Vice-chair Cllr Stephen Smith said: “Aberdeenshire has a reputation for being a dynamic and exciting 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 and that any review of how charges are applied could allow costs to be met without compromising levels of service.”

The committee will meet on Thursday 2nd March to discuss engagement.