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Giving notice of marriage in the UK

Legally declaring your intention to get married is the most crucial aspect in securing that you can become Mr and Mrs.

The below article gives a step by step guide to the stages involved in this process so you can get this done effortlessly and get back to the fun of planning your big day.

giving notice of marriage in the UK

planning timescales - picking a day - which season to get married - booking your venue

When to give notice of marriage

Do make sure to read your local Council’s guidance closely. However, where it states the minimum notice period to give in order to marry do not take this as a reason to delay making an appointment.
There are only a certain number of registrar slots per day and dates fill up on a first come/first serve basis.

How to find your local registry office

First, you will need to contact your local registry office so that you can organise a meeting to give notice of your intent to get married.

Alternatively, you can go to your local council’s website, where there will be detailed instructions.

giving notice of marriage in the UK

How to give notice that you are getting married

On the website, there will be a telephone number to call or email address contact point and instructions about how to register. After speaking on the phone/emailing, you should receive a questionnaire to fill in with details of where you are getting married.

Alternatively, an appointment will be scheduled directly from the call. Timescales for appointments will vary but do expect to have an appointment within a month.

What to do if my partner or I am not from the UK

If you are/or your partner is not British have a read through this Government page that gives additional detail:

giving notice of marriage in the UK
Information required for the notice of marriage appointment:
  • Address of venue
  • What time you would prefer the ceremony to be
  • Each of your full names (make sure you can remember each other’s middle names)
  • Your home address
  • Each other’s job titles and employers

  • It is a joint appointment, but you will be asked questions separately too. You will also need to bring documents that evidence your identity; these will typically be a valid passport or birth certificate.

    At the appointment, you will also be expected to pay a fee for giving the notice to marry. The registrar will then talk through ceremony fees and when full payment will need to be made.

    giving notice of marriage in the UK
    After giving notice: Deciding on the right ceremony plan for you

    Following the appointment, you will be sent confirmation of the initial payment and a ceremony plan to fill in and return.

    There will be a deadline date and do make sure not to exceed this. Otherwise, your ideas may not be honoured.

    Deciding on your wedding music:

    You should ideally have an entrance song, two songs for signing the register and one song to walk out to as a married couple.

    For civil ceremonies, these should not be religious or include any spiritual lyrics.

    giving notice of marriage in the UK
    Selecting your readings:

    You can have two, and both are read before you make your vows. You also will need to outline who will read these.

    Do make sure whoever you pick is confident and happy to read in front of lots of people. Again, there should be no religious content for civil ceremonies.

    Choosing your witnesses:

    You will need two adult witnesses to sign the official register. As this is an honouree position do make sure to pick two people who are very important to you both. It can be a nice touch to pick one person each.

    giving notice of marriage in the UK
    Planning how you will walk down the aisle:

    Do read this section in the guidance document as there are a lot more options than couples will often consider. You will need to name this person walking you down the aisle so do make sure to ask them in advance of infilling their name on the form.

    Choosing the legal wording of your marriage ceremony:

    There are a few defined options for each component of the ceremony: Declaratory words, Contracting words and Promises.

    If you do not enjoy public speaking, there are short options, and for those who want a personal touch, some components can be entirely personalised.

    Once you have submitted this form and paid the balance, there is nothing else to do on until the day.
    However, it is wise to call a couple of weeks after submitting the form, to make sure everything has been received.

    giving notice of marriage in the UK
    On your wedding day: What to do before the ceremony

    On your wedding day, your registrar will meet each of you before the ceremony to check your details and will often ask for your father's profession (make sure you remember this).

    While it is the tradition that the bride is late, it is crucial that you both arrive at the venue on time (often the groom will be interviewed around 30 minutes before, and the bride will be 15 minutes earlier).

    If you are late, then registrars may leave as their timings are often very tight between appointments.

    When you meet with the registrar before, do not worry at all. The questions are basic and will only include essential personal details.

    They will expect nerves and will give you a very short walkthrough to help you to relax.

    giving notice of marriage in the UK
    On your wedding day: In the ceremony

    The registrar will guide the entire ceremony and at the appropriate time ask you to repeat words after them. These are generally in a short string of words so they cannot be forgotten.

    At the end of the ceremony, you will be given your marriage certificate. It is worth planning that a trusted family member will place this in your room or will put it somewhere safe at the wedding venue.

    If you lose your certificate, it is an expensive and lengthy process to get a new one.

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