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Legal Preliminaries Go Back to Previous Page Search this site

  • You must give formal notice of your intention to marry to the Register Office.
  • You both must have lived in a district in England or Wales for SEVEN days before giving notice of marriage.
  • Before you give notice you must be free legally to marry. You cannot give notice before your divorce is made absolute.
  • You will need to take a passport and Birth Certificate, any Change of Name documents and a Decree Absolute or Death Certificate if applicable.
  • The Register Office may also ask for a utilities bill as proof of address.
  • If you wish to marry by civil ceremony, at a register office or other building approved for civil marriage, you will need to contact the superintendent registrar of the district where you wish to marry.
  • You may marry at any register office or approved premises of your choice in England or Wales. However, for a marriage in an approved premise e.g a hotel licensed by the local authority, you will also need to make arrangements at the venue. In addition, you will both need to personally give a formal notice of your marriage to the superintendent registrar of the district(s) where you live.
  • Your marriage cannot go ahead unless the legal formalities have been completed.
  • Notices of marriage must be given in person to the superintendent registrar by you and your partner. No one else can do so on your behalf.
  • Where an advance booking for a marriage has been made, it is essential that a formal notice is given to the superintendent registrar, once you are legally able to do so.
  • Registration Officers have a statutory duty to report any marriage they suspect has been arranged for the sole purpose of evading statutory immigration controls.
  • There are nationally set fees for giving notice to the superintendent registrar and the registrar's attendance at the marriage at a register office or religious building. However, the fee for the attendance of the superintendent registrar and registrar at a marriage in an approved premises (for example, at a hotel) is set by the local authority. The superintendent registrar of the district where you wish to marry will be able to provide you with details of the fees payable.
  • On the day of the wedding you will need to bring with you at least two other people who are prepared to witness the marriage and sign the marriage register.
  • If you wish to know more about marriage ceremonies at register offices or at approved premises please ask the superintendent registrar for details. While a marriage ceremony in the presence of a superintendent registrar cannot, by law, contain any religious aspects, it may be possible, with agreement, to include non-religious music and/or readings and for the wedding to be videoed.
  • This information is issued for general guidance and is not a complete statement of the law. For further information on any aspect of the formalities to, or the ceremony of marriage, please seek the advice of the superintendent registrar at the local register office.

    Information Courtesy of Bath Register Office


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