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Civil Wedding Ceremonies Important Facts You Need To Know

The most straightforward way to get married in the UK is to go direct to your local register office.

What to do

Regardless of where you live, you need to get in touch with the superintendent registrar of the district where you wish to marry. You must also give notice in person to your local superintendent registrar(s) at the register office in the district or districts where you both live.

You can go to the office together if you both live in the same district but if you live in different registration districts each of you must give notice in your own district.

What you will need

A notice of marriage is a legal document and contains the following information:

The names of the parties to the marriage;


Marital status;




Intended venue for the marriage.

You will both need to prove that all the statements you have made are true and the best way to do this is to take your passports. Otherwise you'll each need two separate documents, such as a cheque book, cheque guarantee card, store/credit card or a birth certificate. Check this with the superintendent registrar before you go.

If you have been previously married, you need to produce a divorce decree absolute with the court's original stamp, or the death certificate of your former husband or wife. You may be asked to produce other documents and your local superintendent registrar will tell you what you need. All your documents should be originals - photocopies aren't usually acceptable.

How Long It Takes.

You both need to be living in England or Wales for at least seven days immediately before giving notice at the register office. After giving notice you must wait sixteen days before getting married.

You may be able to add some touches of your own, such as readings, to the civil wedding ceremony, as long as they aren't religious. You may even be allowed to take a video. However, this is all at the discretion of the superintendent registrar.

In a Building Registered for Weddings

There are lots of approved premises for weddings in England or Wales , including hotels, listed buildings and conference centres. If you'd like a civil wedding but you want it to be a bit more special than the local register office, you can get a list of the approved buildings in your area from your local authority or the Office of National Statistics.

The list is regularly updated, but if you happen to spot somewhere that looks like the perfect place you can ask directly if they are licensed for weddings.

What to do

Choose your venue, either from the list of approved buildings or by looking around and choosing one you like and checking that it's approved by the local authority.

Contact the venue and make your arrangements with them directly. Give formal notice of your marriage to the superintendent registrar of the district(s) where you live. It doesn't matter whether the venue is in your local district or not, you still need to give notice to your own area superintendent registrar.

What you will need

Proof of your name, age, marital status, address, occupation, nationality and the place where you are getting married - exactly the same paperwork as if you were getting married in a register office.

How long it takes

If you pick a particularly popular venue, bear in mind that it may take longer to arrange your wedding than if you opted for a register office ceremony. Otherwise, the seven days residence qualification and sixteen days delay after giving notice are the same as for a register office wedding.