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How to get married in the U.K. and obtain a marriage certificate

Getting married in the UK: get a copy of your marriage certificate

The D-day is approaching, the guests' list is complete, the bride's dress and groom's suit are ready, and the place of the ceremony is defined. The only thing left to take care of is the administrative procedures, which can bring a lot of stress when no completely understood.

And that's not all... formalities don't finish once you get married: you will also need to carry out some other procedures afterwards for which a marriage certificate will be vital. This document is important because it proves the legal validity of the marriage union between the couple.

Take the time to read this article and everything will be much clearer! We explain you everything there is to know about marriage in the U.K. and how to get copies of a marriage record online.


Getting married: the civil and the religious ceremonies

In the UK, getting married is possible from the age of 16 with parental approval, and without any parental consent from the age of 18.

You have the choice between a civil or a religious ceremony, 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 for the couple, and the person who performs the ceremony.


• For a civil marriage ceremony

You and your partner must give notice for marriage at your local registry office, if you want to get married in that district. In England and Wales, 28 days’ notice must be provided to the registry office before the marriage can take place.

If you and your partner live in different locations, you will both need to go to your own local registry office to give notice of the marriage, but you can be married in the district of your choice. However, the notice must state the place where the ceremony will take place.


• For a religious marriage ceremony

If you are getting married in the Church of England or the Church of Wales, you will not have to list at the Register Office, but 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 as for a civil marriage.


HOW TO GET YOUR MARRIAGE CERTIFICATE?

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

  • - Evidence of complete name and address of both members of the couple.

  • - Birth details for both partners.

  • - If one partner has been married before or has been in a civil partnership, documentary evidence must be provided that the union has ended, for example, a death certificate or decree absolute.

At the end of the ceremony and after both spouses and their witnesses have signed the register, the marriage certificate is given to the couple. The cost of the certificate is £45, and extra paid copies can be asked for afterwards.


HOW TO GET A COPY OF A MARRIAGE CERTIFICATE?

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

You may need a certified copy of this record to change your name after getting married, to add your spouse to your work benefits, to make your couple benefitiary for your insurance and other financial contracts, for genealogic research, to get divorced, and for many other purposes.

In England and Wales, you can get copies of a marriage certificate from the General Register Office, either by:


• Mail post:

Sending your application to the following post address:

General Register Office
PO Box 2
Southport
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:

It is also possible to send your request by email to the following address: certificate.services@gro.gov.uk.


• Online:

The easiest way to request a British marriage certificate is through the official government site. The whole ordering procedure takes only around 10 minutes and it can be payed for using a debit or credit card.

In Scotland, you can order a marriage certificate online from the ScotlandsPeople website.

Either in England, Wales or Scotland, the cost for a certified copy of a marriage record is around 11£ per copy.


Now that you know all this and everything's under control, we wish you a wonderful wedding day!


How to get married and obtain your marriage certificate