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Marriage certificate: how to get a copy in the UK

When you are getting married, the "to do" list seems never-ending. Even after the big day, you will have to take care of some administrative procedures, which could bring the stress levels even higher. Have you heard about the marriage certificate? This is an important legal document that serves as proof of the validity of your marriage union. If you don't know how to obtain it, keep reading this article. We'll explain everything you need to know about getting married in the UK and obtaining a copy of your marriage certificate.

How to get a marriage certificate in the UK

Who can get married in the UK?

In the UK, getting married is possible from the age of:

  • • 16 with parental approval.

  • • 18 without any parental consent.

However, not everyone can get married straightaway. If you or your partner are from outside the UK, you must apply for a visa. The permit you'll need depends on whether you want to live in the Uk afterwards. The three main visas that allow you to get married are: the marriage visitor visa, the family visa, and the family permit. Find out more about them here.

What type of ceremony can I have?

There are two main type of ceremonies you can choose from: a civil or a religious one. But in both cases, the following legal requirements must be met:

  • 1) The ceremony must be conducted by a person authorized to register marriages in the district.

  • 2) The marriage union must be recorded in the marriage register; this record needs to be signed by both parties, two witnesses, and the person who performs the ceremony.

Note: the rules for getting married in Scotland and Northern Ireland are different, so we suggest you check them.

The civil ceremony

If you want a civil marriage ceremony, you and your partner must make an appointment to give a 28 days' notice for marriage at your local registry office. You will then have to get married within 12 months of your "giving notice."

Notice that if you and your partner live in separate locations, you will both need to go to your own local registry office to give notice of the marriage. However, you will be able to get married in the district of your choice. Simply make sure the notice states the place where the ceremony will take place.

The religious ceremony

If you are getting married in the Church of England or the Church of Wales, you won't need to enlist at the Register Office. Instead, you will have to publish the banns so that they can be read during the 3 Sundays preceding your marriage date. For any other church, you will have to register at the Register Office.


When registering for your wedding at the Register Office or the Church of England or Wales, you will be asked to bring the following documentation:

  • • Your passports

  • • Any document that serves as proof of address, such as a driving license, a house bill, a bank statement, etc.

  • • Your birth certificate if you were born in the Uk before 1983

  • • Documents that prove a change in civil status. For example, a decree absolute if any of you has been married or entered a civil partnership before, or a death certificate if you are a widow

At the end of the ceremony and after both spouses and their witnesses have signed the register, your signed marriage document will be sent to your local register office and added to the marriage register. After that, you can request your marriage certificate. In England and Wales, you can get copies of a marriage certificate from the General Register Office, either:

By post: sending your application form to the following address:

  • General Register Office
    PO Box 2
    PR8 2JD

If you have questions about the procedure, you may contact the GRO to the following telephone: 0300 123 1837. Opening hours are Monday to Friday from 8am to 8pm, and Saturday from 9am to 4 pm.

By email: to the following address:

Online: on the official government website. The whole process takes only around 10 minutes and you can pay using a debit or credit card.

Note: in Scotland you can order a marriage certificate online from the ScotlandsPeople website.

As for the birth or death certificates, a marriage certificate is a vital record that can be requested by anyone, no matter if you are related to the couple or not.

This document will be requested if you want to change your name after getting married, add your spouse to your work benefits, make your partner beneficiary for your insurance, get divorced, for genealogic research, and for many other purposes.

Cost and processing times

The cost of a registrar for a civil ceremony is £46 at a register office and £86 at a registered religious building.

In England, Wales, and Scotland the cost of a certified copy of a marriage record is 11£ per copy and it takes around 4 days to arrive by post. You can also choose a priority service for £35.

Now you know

Now you know how to get married in the Uk and how to get a certified copy or a replacement marriage certificate. We hope you feel everything's under control. Have a wonderful wedding day!

How to get married and obtain your marriage certificate