MARRIAGE LAWS AND PROCEDURES IN UK
LEGAL FORMALITIES FOR MARRIAGE
- Notice of marriage has to be given personally to the local superintendent registrar(s) at the Register Office in the district in which the persons wishing to marry reside. A notice of marriage shall contain:
- the names of the parties to the marriage,
- marital status,
- nationality and
- the intended venue for the marriage
- Both of the persons must have lived in a registration district in England or Wales for at least seven days immediately before giving notice at the register office.
- If both live in the same district, they should both attend the local register office together to give the notices of marriage.
- If they live in different registration districts then each of them will need to give notice separately in their respective district.
- A superintendent registrar may issue a certificate or, if the marriage is to be by licence, a certificate and licence, for the solemnization of a marriage in the office of another superintendent registrar, notwithstanding that the office is not within a registration district in which either of the persons to be married resides.
- A superintendent registrar may issue a certificate or, if the marriage is to be by licence, a certificate and licence, for the solemnization of a marriage on approved premises, notwithstanding that the premises are not within a registration district in which either of the persons to be married resides."
- Where an advance booking for a marriage has been made, it is essential that a formal notice is given to the superintendent registrar, to be legally able to do so.
- Registration Officers have a statutory duty to report any marriage they suspect has been arranged for the sole purpose of evading statutory immigration controls.
- There are nationally set fees for giving notice to the superintendent registrar and the registrar's attendance at the marriage at a register office or religious building.
- However, the fee for the attendance of the superintendent registrar and registrar at a marriage in an approved premises (for example, at a hotel) is set by the local authority.
- The superintendent registrar of the district where you wish to marry will be able to provide you with details of the fees payable.
On the day of the wedding you will need to bring with you at least two other people who are prepared to witness the marriage and sign the marriage register.
- The couples wishing to marry shall be of opposite sex
- They must have completed 18 years of age to marry.
- They must not closely related members of the same family.
- Persons between the ages of 16 and 18 may marry under the same conditions, but with the written consent of their parents or other lawful guardians (or, in the final instance, of an English court of law.
- If the parents or guardians are overseas, their signatures should be witnessed by a notary or consular officer).
- When giving notice of marriage,
- proof of identity is required in the form of a passport or birth certificate.
- previously married will be required to produce documentary evidence of the death of their former spouse or of the dissolution of the marriage in the form of a certified copy of a death certificate or divorce decree.
Under the Marriage Act, 1994, which came into effect in 1995, a marriage may take place in a place of religious worship, register office or public premises officially registered for marriages by the Registrar General for England and Wales. Civil marriages may now therefore occur in "seemly and dignified venues," such as stately homes, civic buildings or hotels (but not open-air venues) which have been officially registered for the purpose. Lists of such premises are available from the register office in the area of interest.
Seven days (visitors need to satisfy both the residential requirement of 7 days and the 15 day waiting period before they can marry)
- One of the following certificates is required for marriage to take place in a register office (the office of a Superintendent Registrar), a building approved for civil marriages or a place of religious worship registered for the solemnisation of marriages by the Registrar General.
Although a period of residence is required in the district of registration, the marriage may take place at a venue in a different part of the country if it is specified at the time of registration.
Superintendent Registrar's Certificate
- Both parties are required to give notice and must have been resident in the district where notice is given for the seven preceding days.
- A period of 21 clear days must then pass before the Superintendent Registrar can issue the certificate, after which the marriage can take place any time within twelve months.
- Although only one party is required to give notice, both must be in England or Wales on the day it is given.
- One of the parties must have resided in the registration district for 15 days immediately preceding the giving of notice.
- The notice must also specify the building in which the marriage is to take place.
One clear day must pass before the Registrar can issue the certificate and licence, after which the marriage may take place any time within the following twelve months.
General Register Office,
P.O. Box 2, Southport,
There are four ways of getting married in accordance with the rites of the Church:
- by publication of banns
- by common licence
- by special licence issued by the Archbishop of Canterbury
by the authority of a superintendent registrar's certificate without licence
Publication of Banns
- Publication of banns means announcing aloud the intended marriage, is the traditional and preferred method used by most couples and is equivalent in timing to the civil method of getting married by certificate.
- The banns are published by being read aloud during the service on three successive Sundays preceding the ceremony.
- The congregation is invited to register objections, if they have any.
- It is usual for the couple to be in attendance on at least one of the three occasions when the banns are published.
- If the couple live in different parishes, the banns need to be published in both parishes.
- A certificate stating that the banns have been published will be issued by the church that will not be holding the ceremony.
This certificate needs to be produced to the officiating minister before the ceremony can proceed. If the marriage does not go ahead within three months of the banns being published, the banns will have to be published again.
MARRIAGE BY COMMON LICENCE
- Getting married by common licence is intended for persons who are temporarily resident in a particular parish and is equivalent in timing to the civil method of getting married by certificate and licence.
- It has the advantage of not requiring banns to be published.
- Once your application has been approved by the bishop of the diocese in which you wish to marry (or by one of his surrogates), only one clear day's notice is required before your ceremony can take place.
- The only residence requirement is that at least one of the spouse must have lived in the parish during the 15 days leading up to the application for the licence.
- To be married by common licence, at least one of you must have been baptised. A common licence lasts for three months from its date of issue.
- There must be a good reason for requesting a common licence,
A common licence is usually applied for by British couples who are no longer resident in England or Wales or if one or both of the couple are not British subjects.
MARRIAGE BY ARCHBISHOP OF CANTERBURY'S SPECIAL LICENCE
- Marriage by special licence first must be approved by the Archbishop of Canterbury.
- The licence is issued from the registrar of the Court Faculties in London.
- If granted, a special licence allows a marriage to take place at any time within three months and in any place without any residence requirement.
- The reasons for getting marriage by special licence are
- when someone want to get married in a parish where neither of of the bride and bride groom live or
- if one of them is very ill and in hospital and cannot be removed to a venue where marriages can be legally solemnised.
- To be married by special licence, at least one of them must have been baptised.
- A special licence may also be issued to couples living overseas, particularly if one of both of them had close links with the church in which you intend to marry.
- The benefit of getting married by special licence is that there is no residency requirement.
- However, the issue of a special licence is at the discretion of the Archbishop of Canterbury.
A special licence is also required if one wants to get married in a building not licensed for marriage.
Court Faculties may also be contacted at the following address for the Special Licenses at the following address
SW1P 3JT, United Kingdom.
- Before a superintendent registrar or a church minister to make the formal arrangements for the marriage, the following documents maybe required
proof of identity such as passport or
- If previously married before, a decree absolute of divorce or if you are a widow or widower, the death certificate of the former spouse.
- If one of under 18 years of age, the written consent of the parents or guardian will be required.
If marrying to a step-relative or an in-law, one need to provide relevant death certificates and/or other documents requested by the superintendent registrar or minister.
All the documents shall be the certified translation in English.
If the person wishing to marry is not a UK citizen, he/she will also need to produce all the above documents along with documentary evidence, such as travel documents, may also be required to demonstrate that he/she has met the necessary residency requirement.
COST AND FEES
Marriage at the register office
By superintendent registrar's certificates £94.00 which includes the fee of £34.00 for the registrar's attendance on the day of the wedding.
Marriage on approved premises
- By superintendent registrar's certificates £60.00.
- In addition, a fee will also be payable for the superintendent registrar's and registrar's attendance at the marriage which is set locally by the responsible local authority.
A further charge is likely to be made by the owners of the building for the use of the premises.
Marriage in the Church of England or Church in Wales
The fee payable for a religious marriage is not fixed and is decided by the religious celebrant solemnising your marriage however, one should expect to pay between £150-250 but this will vary depending upon whether you have bells, organist, choir and heating, which are all extra.
Marriage in a religious building (other than in the Church of England or Church in Wales)
By superintendent registrar's certificates £60.00.
- In addition, a fee of £40.00 will also be payable for the registrar's attendance at the marriage unless an "Authorised Person" appointed by the trustees of the building has agreed to register the marriage.
Additional fees may also be charged by the trustees of the building for the wedding, and by the person who performs the ceremony.
A fee of £3.50 is payable to a registrar for a marriage certificate on the day of the marriage.