The legal stuff

Before you can marry in a Register Office, approved venue, church or chapel in England and Wales (other than a church of the Church of England where you normally have banns called by the vicar), both of you must give notice of your intention to marry. This has to be done separately in person by you and your partner at the Registration Office covering your district of residence.  Notices are a legal statement that must be signed by you and the person you are marrying, so a relative or friend cannot do it for you.  Legal Notice of Marriage can be given up to one year in advance of the date of the marriage.

Notice of Marriage

Notice of Marriage is the completion of official forms before the Superintendent Registrar. It is a legal requirement that a Notice of Marriage is given separately by each person to be married.  The notice must be given personally to the Superintendent Registrar of the district where you usually reside, preferably on the same day. If you live in a different district to the person that you are marrying, you must give notice at the Registration Office in your district.  People subject to immigration control who wish to give notice will need to do so at a Registration Office designated for that purpose.  A list of these offices is on the Home Office IND website www.ind.homeoffice.gov.uk  

Before you can give Notice of Marriage you must meet certain conditions

You must both have lived in any district in England or Wales for seven days before the date you give Notice of Marriage. It does not matter if either of you moves to a different address once you have given notice. 

For a civil ceremony the marriage can take place either in the Registration Office where you have given notice, or any Registration Office of your choice, or approved venue.

For a religious ceremony you usually can only marry in a church in the district where one, or both of you live. You can marry in a church outside your district of residence if either of you usually worship in the building or set up residency within the district. Notice of Marriage can be given for a Church of England marriage, but only in lieu of banns being called. Please check with your local ceremonies team about this.

Arrangements for the date and time of the wedding must be made with the building/church where the marriage is to take place. A Registrar or appointed person must be present. Once you have given notice, you must wait the statutory waiting period before the marriage can take place. The notice is publicly displayed in the Registration Office for this period.

An authority must be issued for each person after the statutory waiting period has elapsed. If you marry outside the district where you have given notice, the authorities must be collected as these are the legal documents allowing the marriage to take place.

You must give the authorities to the Superintendent Registrar/Minister of the district/church where the marriage is to take place. Authorities are valid for 12 months from the date you give notice. If you are subject to immigration control and plan to get married in the UK you will need to follow new rules.  For more detailed information please contact the Truro Office on 0300 1234 181 or email: ceremonies@registration.cornwall.gov.uk or contact the Home Offfice at public.enquiries@homeoffice.gsi.gov.uk or visit www.ind.homeoffice.gov.uk

Documents you will need

When you give Notice of Marriage, the following documents should be produced. All documents must be original, the Registrar cannot accept photocopies.

Current valid passport or full birth certificate.  Please check with the Registration Office when making your appointment to give notice.

Plus any one of the following:

NHS medical card, utility bill, rent or council tax document, as proof of residence

Persons from abroad are required to produce identity documents, eg, a passport, identity card, Home Office travel documents.  Persons subject to immigration control will need to get additional documents.  For more information please contact the Truro Office on 0300 1234 181 or the Home office at www.ind.homeoffice.gsi.gov.uk

Persons under 18 years of age must submit written consent from the appropriate parent/ guardian/authority. The Superintendent Registrar has forms for this purpose.

Widowers or widows must produce proof of death of their former spouse, eg, death certificate certified by a Registrar.

Persons who have been married before or party to a previous civil partnership are required to produce a decree absolute or a final order of dissolution of a civil partnership bearing an original court seal. If the divorce took place in a foreign country, the original document should be produced and, if applicable, an English translation.  Some foreign divorces require clearance from the Registrar General and the Registration officer arrange this)

If a name has been changed by deed poll or statutory declaration then these documents should be produced.