Weddings at Stormont

7 April 2008
Question 1

How many weddings/wedding receptions have been held at Stormont since power was devolved?

Response

There have been two wedding receptions at Parliament Buildings since 8 May 2007.

Question 2

What are the rules allowing MLAs' relatives to use Stormont for their wedding reception? What relatives qualify?

Response

Assembly Members, former Members and secretariat staff may apply for wedding receptions, religious wedding ceremonies, and wedding photographs in Parliament Buildings in respect of themselves or their immediate relatives. These may only take place on Saturdays. Immediate relative is defined “mother, father, sister, brother, son, daughter or grandchildren”.

Question 3

Does Stormont subsidise these wedding receptions?

Response

Charges for catering and hospitality at weddings in Parliament Buildings are designed to provide a margin of profit to the catering contractor plus a surplus to Assembly. The surplus is used to offset other costs including additional security cover. Charges do not fully recover security costs.

Question 4

What cost to Stormont has been incurred by these weddings/wedding receptions?

Response

The net cost after offset is £6,034.

Question 5

How many staff are needed to open Stormont for a wedding, when it is otherwise closed as at the weekend?

Response

There are variables that affect the numbers of staff required to service a wedding including: duration, guest numbers, number of rooms being used, whether an evening element is or is not involved and whether another event is running simultaneously. An accurate average of staff required based on the two weddings referred in this reply is 33.

Question 6

Is it correct that Stormont cannot be used for weddings/wedding receptions unless it is requested by an Assembly member?

Response

Assembly Members, former Members and secretariat staff may apply for wedding receptions, religious wedding ceremonies, and wedding photographs in Parliament Buildings in respect of themselves or their immediate relatives. These may only take place on Saturdays.

Question 7

How many Assembly members have made requests for weddings/wedding receptions at Stormont?

Response

Since the 2007 election two requests have been received.

Question 8

How many have been allowed? Can we have the names of these couples who held receptions there and their relationship with MLAs?

Response

One request not progressed

One request allowed but the request later withdrawn.

Question 9

Which Assembly members have done so and how often has each one done so?

Response

Answered at 7 & 8 above.

Question 10

How much has Stormont spent (i.e. the taxpayer spent) on hosting these wedding receptions?

Response

Please see response to question 8.

Question 11

How much, on average, does a wedding meal cost and how much of that is subsidised?

Response

The average cost of a meal at Parliament Buildings is approximately £30 (VAT included). These costs are comparable with outside venues and the meal itself is not subsidised. I would also refer you to my response to question 3.
[Precise average = £29.80]

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