The legal requirements to marry in the UK

There is so much excitement surrounding wedding arrangements, from choosing the venue to finding the perfect wedding dress, it is easy to forget about the legal side of things.

If you are marrying in the UK there are some legal requirements and paperwork that must be done in order for the marriage to go ahead.

Here is a lowdown on what your legal requirements are, the documents that are needed and what fees are involved in order to get married in the UK.

Who Can Get Married?

To get married in the UK, you and your partner must be at least 16 years old, if either of you are under 18, you will need the consent of a parent or guardian. Neither of you can be closely related and you must not be married to anyone else or be in a civil partnership.

Where Can We Marry?

You can only get married in an approved government registered establishment. Wedding planner, Kathryn Lloyd told You and Your Wedding, “In England and Wales it’s the place, not the person, that’s licensed for marriage. The venue must be a permanent structure with a roof, approved for marriage and accessible to anyone to book for their marriage. You can have a non-legal blessing at home, but for it to be considered legal you would also need to have a civil or church ceremony.

What Legal Documents to we Need?

To get married in the UK, you will need to give notice of marriage and to do that you will need to provide the necessary paperwork to the local register office of the district where you live, even if you plan to get married in another district. You will need to provide:

  • Proof of name (e.g. valid passport)
  • Proof of address (e.g. valid driving licence, utility bill or bank statement)
  • Proof of age (e.g. birth certificate)
  • Proof of nationality (e.g. valid passport)
  • Death certificate of your former partner or a decree absolute or final order, if applicable.
  • Entry visa, if applicable
  • Details of where you intend to get married

What are the Fees?

To get married in the UK there is a fee of £35 per person, this is paid to the register office when you give notice. Marriage and civil partnership licences cost £4 each on the day and £10 after.

Giving Notice

To give notice to marry, you must book an appointment at your district register office, you can do this by calling or booking an appointment online. When you go to your appointment you must take with you all the necessary documentation and your fees.

At the appointment, you will be interviewed together and separately. The appointment will usually last around 40 minutes.

When you give notice, you will need to leave a clear 28 days before you are allowed to marry, so you can get married from the 29th day, and the wedding will have to take place within 12 months of giving notice.

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