How far in advance do you need to book a registrar?

How far in advance do you need to book a registrar?

Our country house wedding venues offer more than extra special settings for couples to celebrate their newly married status! They also double as delightful ceremony spaces, with many providing outdoor wedding ceremony options so couples can tie the knot alfresco. With your ceremony wedding venue sorted, there’s just one more missing ingredient to book to make things official…

The role of the registrar

Registrars play integral roles in non-religious, civil ceremonies. They’re licensed and appointed by the local authority, and act as the legal officiants of marriages. In religious ceremonies, the role would be taken on by a priest, rabbi or another authorised person.

The registrar has several duties before, during and after the wedding ceremony. As well as conducting the ceremony (either at a Register Office or a local authority-approved premises), they’re responsible for ensuring the legal compliance and registration of the union. They’ll also issue some very important paperwork as The Academy of Modern Celebrancy (AMC) details:

“Following the registration of the marriage, the registrar issues the couple with a marriage certificate, which serves as legal proof of their union. This certificate is often required for various legal purposes, such as changing surnames or applying for spousal benefits… Registrars often play a supportive role, answering any questions the couple may have, and guiding them through the process of planning their ceremony.”

The timings you need to know

Once you’ve booked your wedding venue and selected a suitable date, you can get started with enlisting a registrar. Registrars can be booked up to two years in advance if you choose to get married at a local authority-approved or community venue. This timescale is shorter if you intend to marry at a Register Office, with couples able to book a registrar up to one year before their wedding date.

As part of the civil ceremony or partnership, you’ll also be required to ‘give notice’. You’ll need to give notice at least 29 days before your wedding ceremony and must get married within 12 months of giving notice.

Where to give notice

You’ll have to give notice of your intention to marry in person at your local Register Office. If you and your partner live in different areas, you will need to give notice separately. Whether you live in the same area or not, you don’t have to give notice on the same day.

When giving notice, you need to bring along certain documentation. This includes the details of your ceremony venue, a valid passport or UK birth certificate, proof of address, and proof of any name changes. If you have been married or in a civil partnership previously, you’ll also need to show evidence of your divorce, annulment or dissolution in the form of a decree absolute or final order.

What happens next

After you’ve given notice and the notice period has elapsed, your marriage schedule will be issued. Your registrar will bring your marriage schedule to the ceremony, and this will be signed by both of you, at least two witnesses and the registrar shortly after the ceremony. The signed schedule will then be returned to the Register Office by the registrar and a certified copy of your marriage certificate will be sent to you later.

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