Steps to Legally Register your Marriage

18th March 2022
Registering a wedding

What is a notice to marry?

A notice to marry is a form signed by both parties wishing to get married or form a civil partnership - once signed, the form should be sent to the Registrar of Marriages where the marriage is to take place, along with relevant documents, declarations and fees. The notice is then placed on public display at the registrar’s office. The notice to marry must be given in the 12-months period before the wedding date and ideally, you should aim to give it to the registrar’s office at least 29 days before the marriage.

The law requires that the notice must be given in-person at the registery office, therefore it can’t be done by a proxy or via video call. Before completing the form, you should make sure of the following:

  • Decide if you want to have a marriage or civil partnership
  • Decide on the venue you want to get married or form a civil partnership in

Any changes to the points mentioned above mean that you need to give notice again.

Each party can download and fill the notice to marry form at the following link: Notice to marry

1. Are marriage notices published online

Marriage records can be accessed online through a private database or at the National Archives offices, where you should be able to find a copy of almost every public record processed in the UK.

2. What happens after you have given notice of marriage

You will be asked a few questions about yourself and your partner when you attend your Notice of Marriage appointment, after which you sign a form completed by your Registrar. This form is then displayed for 28 days in the Registrar Office, and once the 28 days have expired, an authority to marry is issued.

How do you start a marriage process

1. Who do I need to inform when I get married in the UK

When getting married, there are various organisations you may want to inform, irrespective of whether you choose to change your last name or not, notably the Passport Office and Bank or Building Society. You can change your passport details up to three months before the ceremony, although you won’t be able to use your passport until the actual day of the ceremony, but keep in mind that you won’t be able to change your details before giving your Notice of Marriage. Other organisations you might want to notify would be:

  • Insurance companies
  • Hospitals/Clinics
  • Pension provider
  • Council tax

2. What documents do I need to get married in the UK

To give notice, you need the following documents:

  • Residence documents
  • Valid passport
  • Passport photos
  • Details of the venue for the ceremony

More documents will need to be provided depending on your and your partner’s situation, for instance, documents about prior marriages, or if a partner is from outside the UK.

You can find out more about these specific cases on the HM Government site.

3. How much does it cost to register a marriage in the UK

There is a charge of £35 per person to enter a Notice of Marriage, and it is £47 for all non-EEA passport holders or individuals who do not have evidence of settled status in the UK or a valid marriage visa. Moreover, there is an additional admin fee of £5 per person - please note that both fees paid are non-refundable in the event of a cancellation.

A deposit is paid when booking the Notice of Marriage appointment, which is used towards the payment of the service, however cancelling or changing the appointment will incur an extra fee - failing to bring all required documents will be considered as an appointment cancellation so ensure you have all the documents with you prior to attending your appointment.

How to register marriage in the UK when married abroad

It’s becoming more and more common to see couples choosing to get married in idyllic places, far away from home, and rest assured, getting the marriage to be recognised in the UK isn’t a hassle. As long as the marriage happened legally in the country where it took place, following the procedures as stated by the country, it should be recognised in the UK as well. Make sure to preserve your original marriage certificate and we’d even recommend asking for a few copies of it - for cases where the certificate is not in English, a certified translation of the marriage certificate will have to be obtained.

What makes a marriage legally binding

To be legally binding, the marriage should be conducted by or in presence of an individual authorised to register marriages in the district and should then be entered in the marriage schedule and signed by both parties, the individual in charge of registering the marriage as well as two witnesses. The marriage schedule is then registered electronically by the Registration Service.