Booking the legal ceremony
The first step is to call your local Registration Service to book the time and date that you would like for your ceremony.
Giving Notice of Marriage
Before you can get married, both you are legally required to attend an appointment to give notice in person at your local Register Office. Giving notice is a formal declaration of your intention to marry.
At your appointment, the Registrar will see you separately and ask you a series of questions about yourself and each other to ensure that you are free and it is legal for you to marry. You will both need to provide basic personal details such as your names, age, marital status, address, occupation, nationality and the intended venue for your ceremony eg The Registry office. You will then sign the notice document detailing the information you have provided.
Where to give notice?
If you both live in the county you wish to marry in, you will both need to give notice at your local Registration Office.
If you live in different district , you must give notice in the district where you have lived for seven full days immediately prior to you giving notice.
When to give notice?
You can give notice from 12 months before the date of your marriage and this must be done no later than 28 days prior to your ceremony. Your authority for marriage is valid for 12 months from the date notice is given.
You must both have lived in England or Wales for seven full days immediately before you give notice. It doesn't matter if either of you moves to a different address once you have given notice.
You will need to have confirmed your venue before you give notice as your marriage can only take place at the venue you name on your notice of marriage.
You will need to take the following documents:
Proof of identity:
A valid passport or you can prove your identity with a Birth Certificate.
(Please note: If you were born after 1983 and do not hold a valid UK passport, you will need your full birth certificate and your mother's birth certificate).
Proof of address:
You will also need to supply proof of your address by providing one of the following, (which must show full name):
•Valid driving licence.
•Utility bill: Dated no more than 3 months before the date on which notice is given.
•Bank or building society statement or passbook: Dated no more than 1 month before the date on which notice is given.
•Council tax bill: Dated no more than 1 year before the date on which notice is given.
•Mortgage statement: Dated no more than 1 year before the date on which notice is given.
•Current residential tenancy agreement.
•Letter from the owner of the address where you live. This letter must have the owner's full name, address and signature. It must also state that you've lived at the address for 9 days or more.
If either of you have been married before, you will also need:
•Proof of the termination of your previous marriage by death, divorce or nullity.
•If your divorce papers have not been issued in England or Wales we will need to see the original divorce document and a translation. There may also be a delay in issuing the authority for marriage.
If either of you have changed your name legally before such as through deed poll or a solicitor, you will also need proof of name change. If either of you are under 18, you will also need proof that your parents (or legal guardians) agree to the marriage. (If your parents are divorced you may need the court order that gives custody to one of your parents).
After you have given notice
Your notices will be displayed on the public notice boards of the Registration Office. If your paperwork is complete and after waiting a clear 28 days, an authority for your marriage will be issued and printed by the Registrar who will be conducting your ceremony. This is a legal document which allows your marriage to take place and is valid for 12 months from the date you gave notice.
If either of you is not a European Citizen then you need to give notice at a designated Register Office – a list can be found at the Government website
Choosing a Celebrant to help you create that special ceremony is an important step towards making your occasion a really memorable one. Why not take advantage of the free initial meeting I offer ? I believe it is important to meet informally to discuss your ideas and what I can offer. Meeting also gives us an opportunity to explore the type of ceremony that would best suit your needs.