MARRIAGE LAW IN THE UK, ENGLAND,
WALES AND SCOTLAND
~ Wedding-Service ~ UK
Marriage Law in the United Kingdom & Scotland
These notes are for information only ~wedding-services~ UK
Updated: 02 December 2011 - should print out easily for future reference
This page outlines marriage regulations in England and Wales and makes brief reference to procedures in Scotland and Northern Ireland. Further information can be obtained from the addresses listed below.
Marriage in England and Wales.
Marriage in Scotland http://www.gro-scotland.gov.uk/
New Register House, Edinburgh EH1 3YT Scotland Tel: (0131) 314 4447 Fax: (0131) 314 4400
e-mail : firstname.lastname@example.org
Marriage in Eire http://www.groireland.ie/
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When giving notice of marriage, proof of identity is required in the form of a passport or birth certificate. Those who have been previously married will be required to produce documentary evidence of the death of their former spouse or of the dissolution of the marriage, in the form of a certified copy of a death certificate or divorce decree.
Under the Marriage Act, 1994, which came into effect in 1995, a marriage may take place in a place of religious worship, register office or public premises officially registered for marriages by the Registrar General for England and Wales. Civil marriages may now therefore occur in "seemly and dignified venues," such as stately homes, civic buildings or hotels (but not open-air venues) which have been officially registered for the purpose. Lists of such premises are available from the register office in the area of interest.
Although only one party is required to give notice, both must be in England or Wales on the day it is given. One of the parties must have resided in the registration district for 15 days immediately preceding the giving of notice. The notice must also specify the building in which the marriage is to take place. One clear day must pass before the Registrar can issue the certificate and licence, after which the marriage may take place any time within the following twelve months.
Further information about these procedures can be obtained from: General Register Office, P.O. Box 2, Southport, Merseyside PR8 2JD Tel: (0151) 471 4448
N.B. Church authorities advise that marriage in a Church of England between two foreigners or between a foreigner and a British subject should be by licence and not after banns.
Further information is available from:
Enquiry Centre, Church of England, Church House, Great Smith Street, London SW1P 3NZ Tel: (0171) 222 9011
& Weddings Worldwide ~ Bishop Jonathan Blake
(B.A. Honours, Dip Pastoral Studies), provides a Traditional or Modern Marriage Ceremony, Religious or Secular, at any venue. Gardens, homes, hotels, chapels, stately homes, marquees, cruisers, etc - every detail is your choice. For first marriages and divorcees. Based Kent - UK wide Ask for # 319 - Enquire Here by E-mail
Other Religious Ceremonies
For marriages under Jewish and Quaker religious ceremonies, a certificate is required as for a civil ceremony. Information on marriage according to Roman Catholic, Jewish and Quaker usage can be obtained from the following addresses:
Baptist Union of Great Britain and Ireland, PO Box 44, 129 Broadway, Didcot, Oxon OX11 8RT Tel: 01235 512077
Church of England Enquiry Centre Tel: 0171 898 1000
Episcopal Church of Scotland Tel: 0131 225 6357
General Register Office for Scotland 121 George Street, Edinburgh EH2 4YN Tel: 0131 225 5722
General Synod of the Church of England Church House, Great Smith Street, London W14 ONW Tel: 0171 222 9011
Greek Orthodox Church Information Tel: 0171 723 4787
Jewish Marriage Council 23 Ravenhurst Ave, London NW4 4EE Tel: 0181 203 6311
Marriage Care Clitherow House,1 Blythe Mews, Blythew Road, London W14 ONW Tel: 0171 371 1341
Methodist Church Press Service 1 Central Buildings, Westminster, London SW1 9NH Tel: 0171 222 8010/ 0171 486 5502
Muslim Information Centre Tel: 0171 272 5170
Religious Society of Friends Friends House, 173/177 Euston Road, London NW1 2BJ Tel: 0171 663 1000
The Hindu Society Tel: 0181 534 8879
United Reformed Church, 86 Tavistock Place, London WC1H 9RT Tel: 0171 916 2020
British Humanist Association Tel: 0171 430 0908
General Registrar, Dublin Tel: 00 3531 671 1000
General Register Office for Northern Ireland Tel: 01232 252000
General Register Office for Scotland Tel: 0131 334 0380
The Register General for England and Wales OPCS, St. Catherine's House, 10 Kingsway London WC2B 6JP
Tel: 01704 569824 Tel: 0151 471 4817/4803
Registrar General for Guernsey Tel: 01481 725277
Superintenedent Registrar for Jersey Tel: 01534 502335
www.web Church org
Marriage Encounter Weekends
Men and Fathers Rights Every year 85,500 UK fathers have their children taken from them. Major assets are taken such as a house and car. They are fined annually and many are denied access to their children.
http://www.samesexmarriage.org/ "Two people
of the same sex may lawfully marry in California."
Those are the opening words of a proposed amendment to the California Constitution that our campaign intends to place on the November 2000 ballot. If adopted by the voters, the proposed Same-Sex Marriage Initiative will make California the first place in America to allow same-sex couples to share the rights and responsibilities of marriage.
Can I get married in Scotland?
The Wedding Ceremony
Where to get married
Historically Scotland has always been a popular destination for those seeking a truly romantic setting in which to make their wedding vows. As a country Scotland is famous for its beautiful and unspoilt scenery, its distinctive culture and its dramatic history. In addition it is renowned for the high standard of its cuisine and the quality of its accommodation which ranges from bed and breakfasts to magnificent castles. Perhaps most importantly though, Scotland is famed for its hospitality and the genuine warmth of its people.
So, whether you are planning to 'run away' to Gretna for a small intimate wedding or to do something on a much larger scale, be it in a hotel or castle or even on a canal boat, Scotland offers endless possibilities to make that special day truly memorable.
In days gone by the law was such that in Scotland couples over the age of sixteen could marry (without parental consent) simply by declaring themselves man and wife in front of witnesses. However in 1940 an Act of Parliament ruled that marriages were only legal if conducted by a Minister of Religion or an authorised registrar.
Prior residence in Scotland is not a pre-requisite to marriage minimum age remains sixteen both parties must be free to marry (ie any previous marriage must have been terminated by divorce, death or annulment) they must not be related to each other in any way which may impede them from marrying. Details of forbidden degrees of relationship are listed in the leaflet RM1 (Marriage in Scotland) which is available from any registrar of births, deaths and marriages in Scotland or from the Registrar General in Edinburgh (address page 4) both parties must be capable of understanding the nature of the ceremony and of giving free consent. The marriage would be regarded as valid in any foreign country to which either party belongs
There are two types of wedding ceremony - religious and civil. A civil marriage, which is performed by a Registrar, can only be performed in a registry office. However, a religious ceremony performed by a minister can, theoretically, take place anywhere, either in or out-of-doors. It should be mentioned though that different churches and individual clergymen may have their own views on:
Couples should contact the minister concerned to ensure that he or she would be willing to carry out the ceremony should either of the above points be relevant.
Before a couple can marry both parties must submit a marriage notice along with the appropriate fee to the registrar for the district in which the marriage is to take place. These marriage notice forms are available from any registrar (whose address may be found in the telephone directory) or from the Registrar General in Edinburgh. Normally these should be submitted a minimum of fifteen days and a maximum of three months before the ceremony, however four weeks is the recommended period (or six weeks if either party has been married before). Along with the forms the registrar must also be supplied with:
The Registrar will check all documentation to satisfy himself that the parties are free to marry and then he will prepare the marriage schedule. This whole process normally takes about 14 days. In the case of a civil wedding the Registrar retains the schedule until the date of the wedding however if a religious marriage is intended the schedule is issued to the parties one or other of whom must collect it in person not more than seven days before the wedding. The schedule must be produced before the ceremony for the person performing the marriage who is then required to sign it, along with two witnesses over the age of sixteen. The Registrar then retains or must have the schedule returned to him within 3 days so that he can register the marriage. Where one of the parties lives in England or Wales and the other in Scotland, the former if she or he wishes may apply to the English or Welsh Superintendent Registrar for a certificate which the Scottish Registrar will accept in lieu of notice - this certificate should then be forwarded to him as soon as possible.
It is important to make arrangements for the date and time of the ceremony either with the Registrar or the Minister as early as possible, particularly if you wish to get married on dates such as St Valentine's Day or Christmas Eve which are very popular.
The above information is for general guidance only and should not be regarded as a full and authoritative statement of the law. Further information and advice can be sought from any registrar in Scotland or from the Registrar General. For detailed information on hairdressers, photographers, dress hire, car hire, florists, etc. we would advise that you contact the local Tourist Information Centre who should be able to help.
to Get Married - Some Suggestions
Castles and Stately Homes
There are many castles, stately homes and historic sites throughout Scotland which would make an ideal setting for your wedding celebrations. The National Trust for Scotland and Historic Scotland can both provide lists of suitable venues in their care. There are also many privately-owned properties which can provide the facility. Please contact local Tourist Information Centres for information on such venues.
For a list of Tourist
Information Centres contact the Central Information Department at
the Scottish Tourist Board. Addresses and telephone numbers are
provided further on.
Scottish Venues Hotels throughout Scotland
Most hotels throughout Scotland will be more than happy to host your wedding celebrations. Local Tourist Information Centres will be able to provide you with a comprehensive guide to hotels and other accommodation in their area.
Theoretically there is nothing to stop you getting married anywhere in Scotland - on top of mountains, in a romantic glen or on a secluded beach, on Arthur's Seat in the heart of Edinburgh or even on the Old Sligachan Bridge on Skye. And of course at Gretna, where marriages are carried out by an official Registrar, and many couples then go on to the original blacksmith's shop at Gretna Green to participate in a traditional ceremony over the blacksmith's anvil.
In Scotland, people aged 16 or over do not require parental consent to marry, and there is no residence requirement as in England and Wales. Both parties should submit either in person or by post completed marriage notices (with the appropriate documents and fee) to the registrar for the registration district in which the marriage is to take place. The notices should preferably be lodged with the registrar about 4-6 weeks before the date of the proposed marriage, and certainly no later than 15 days before that date. This preliminary procedure applies both for religious and civil marriages. More details can be obtained from:
Scottish Information Office : 0131 556 8400
Register Office for Scotland
New Register House, 3 West Register Street, Edinburgh EH1 3YT
Tel: 0131 334 0380 Fax: 0131 314 4400 e-mail: email@example.com
The Registration Office
Central Avenue, Gretna, Dumfriesshire DG16 5AQ
Tel: 01461 337648 Fax: 01461 338459
Church of Scotland, 121 George Street, Edinburgh EH2 4YN
Tel: 0131 225 5722 Fax: 0131 220 3113
Roman Catholic Church
Gillis Centre, 113 Whitehouse Loan, Edinburgh EH9 1BB
Tel: 0131 452 8244 Fax: 0131 452 9153
General Synod, 21 Grosvenor Crescent, Edinburgh EH12 5EE
Tel: 0131 225 6357 Fax: 0131 346 7247
Scottish online Churches
Official Church of Scotland 121 George St., Edinburgh : 0131 225 5722
www.web Church .org
Humanist Society of Scotland
Marriage Counselling Scotland, 105 Hanover St., Edinburgh EH2 1DJ
Kagyu Samye Ling site Eskdalemuir, Langholm, Dumfriesshire DG13 0QL Scotland
Tel: [+44] 13873 73232 Fax: [+44] 13873 73223 firstname.lastname@example.org
~ Scots Medieval Weddings ~ Based Dundee, Scotland will travel
Marriage Encounter Weekends David and Liz Percival, 11 Lamborne Close, Sandhurst Berks GU47 8JL 01344 779658
Parental consent is required for persons under 18 who wish to marry in Northern Ireland. For marriages in a registrar's office or those requiring authority of a registrar, prior residence is necessary on the part of both parties before notice of marriage may be served and there is a waiting period after notice has been served before the registrar may issue his authority for the marriage. In certain religious marriages it is not necessary to serve notice on a registrar but a period of residence may be necessary. Further information about marriage formalities in Northern Ireland is available from the following address:
General Register for Guernsey, The Greffe, Royal Court House, St. Peter Port, Guernsey GY1 2PB (01481 7252277)
General Registrar for Jesey, State's Offices, Royal Square, St. Helier, Jersey JE1 1DD (01534 502000)
Please note: All foreigners wishing to be married in Britain are warned against marriage agents who claim the ability to procure marriages quickly without the necessary statutory residence. Any person making a false statement as to residence or any other particular contained in a notice of marriage is liable to prosecution for perjury.
Questions to ask each other before your marriage
Now go and organise your Wedding
~ Good Luck
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