Giving Notice of Marriage: What to Expect

Giving notice of marriage is a legality (i.e. it has to be done if you want to get married). You cannot get married (in a religious or civil ceremony) without first giving notice at your local registry office.

Giving notice of marriage is essentially a public announcement of your intent to get married. Your local register office, takes down several details from you and your fiance, and then they are legally required to display your notice either on a notice board or in a book. Historically, this would allow anyone who had any objections to the impending marriage to speak up. Of course your notice is also used by your register office or your church to prepare for your marriage ceremony.

The basic rules:

– You must both be 16 years old or over.

– You must be free to marry (single, divorced, widowed and not being forced into it).

– You must not be closely related.

– In order to get married, you need to give notice at your local register office and you then need to follow that with a religious or a civil ceremony at least 16 days after giving notice.

– Getting married abroad carries some different rules and regulations, which can be found on the UK Government Website.

Giving notice of marriage: 

– For most marriages/civil partnerships you must give at least 16 days’ notice at your local register office.

– Your notice will be publicly displayed in the register office for 15 days.

– You need to contact your local register office to make an appointment. Check out the UK Government’s Website for a list of local register offices to find yours.

– You can only give notice at a register office if you have lived in the registration district for at least the past 7 days.

– The rules are slightly different for religious ceremonies.

– There are also some slightly different rules for foreign nationals.

– There are various documents you need to take with you to the register office when you give notice.

– You need to give notice at the register office which is local to where you plan on having your wedding ceremony. If in doubt, find your local register office and have a quick word with them about this. They are all friendly and very helpful, I promise!

What to expect:

– Relax! It’s all much quicker and simpler than you have in mind!

– The registrar will basically just go through your basic information with you and then with your fiance (separately). This ensures that they get accurate information and can identify any potential sham weddings.

– Having said that, I can assure you, if your relationship is a real one, you can’t really go wrong. It is NOT like it is in the movies!

– All the questions are more or less about your names, ages, addresses, jobs, Dad’s jobs. That’s it!

– It’s not free: fees depend on your local register office, but they are in the region of £35 each (that’s £35 for you and £35 for your husband/wife-to-be.

– The whole thing takes about half an hour. Once you’re done, go plan a wedding! Some more information on the legal stuff in relation to the ceremony can be found on the UK Government Website.

There is loads of information online. The UK Government Website is the most trust-worthy, as is your local council website. If you have any questions, queries or doubts, please feel free to ask us either via the comments below (we’d love to have a discussion thread going where we can help people!) or by sending us an email on our contact us page.

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