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Know the legalities of getting married…

The Legal Side Of Wedding Planning…

When it comes to planning a wedding, the legal parts are usually skimmed over, but it is important for you to understand what it is that you are required to do by law.

Giving Notice

The first thing you will need to do is give notice at your local register office of your intent to marry. You can do this anytime between 12 months and 28 days before your wedding.

Tip: Try and do this as soon as possible as appointments get booked quite quickly.

When you attend your appointment at the register office, you will need to take with you, proof of identity – your passport and birth certificate – and proof of address (utility bill). You will also need to take with you either a death certificate of your former spouse or a decree absolute if you have been previously married. There is also a fee of £35 each for giving notice so remember to put it into your budget plans!

The Interview To Give Notice

The interview process is painless and quick. You will go in to the interview together to talk briefly and then each of you will be asked to be interviewed on your own. During the interview with the registrar, you will be asked questions about yourself as well as each other. Details like date of birth, full name and occupation. They may also ask you your fathers name, date of birth and occupation (this bit I can’t remember but most people have agreed that it is something they may ask you!)

Advice: Don’t panic about your interview. They will only ask you simple questions and are not trying to catch you out.

After they have interviewed you separately, you will both be invited back in together to sign the paperwork and so the registrar can give you your information pack and forms to fill out for your ceremony. This information pack will contain decisions about readings, a choice of formal wordings for different parts of the vows and whether you will meet with the registrar for your pre-wedding interview together or separately. This booklet will need to be completed and sent back about a month before your wedding date along with the ceremony fee of £46. The fee is based on getting married at a registry office so please check with your venue (if marrying elsewhere – i.e. hotels, stately homes), what the fee is!

Tip: When you get married there is a cost for the paper copy of your certificate. If you pay on the day, it’s £4 but this cost goes up to £10 after your wedding day. You will need a copy of your certificate in the future so it’s cheaper in the long run to buy 1-2 copies on the day.

On The Day

On your wedding day, before your ceremony starts, your registrar will sit down with you both either together or separately for a final time. They will go over your details of identity and to ensure you are not taking part in a forced marriage (don’t be worried by this question, they are required to ask). They will also ask for the details of your witnesses for the register. You are required by law to have two witnesses to sign the register with you. You can have anyone as your witnesses (we chose our Maid of Honour and our Best Man).

Don’t panic over the legalities of getting married. They are pain free and even though a big requirement, they are relatively a small detail to deal with. If you book your appointment with your registrar to give notice as soon as you are within one year of your date, you will then be able to move on with the rest of your plans.

For more information or guidance, the most helpful site is www.gov.uk/marriages-civil-partnerships. Any information you think I have missed or have any questions, please feel free to get in touch.


#weddingplanning #ceremonies #givingnotice

When it comes to religious ceremonies there are different requirements, depending on the faith. Head over to our next blog, Religious Ceremonies, to find out all you need to know about religious weddings.

Looking for a place to start your wedding plans, check out our previous blog, So You’re Engaged… What Now?