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Wednesday, 3 October 2023

Getting married or forming a civil partnership

If you want a religious marriage ceremony, you can get married in England and Wales in an Anglican church or any other religious building registered for marriage. For civil marriages or civil partnerships, you can attend a register office or an approved venue.

Religious marriages

If you wish to be married in the Church of England or Church in Wales, speak to the vicar of the church in which you wish to marry. There is usually no need to involve your local register office.

If you wish to have a religious ceremony other than in the Church of England or Church in Wales, you should usually:

  • first arrange to see the person in charge of marriages at the building
  • normally live in the same district as the church or religious building
  • give formal notice to the superintendent registrar at your local register office unless one of you is subject to immigration control

You will need to bring at least two other people who can sign as witnesses at your wedding.

To find out more about giving notice read the Marriage and civil partnership: your legal obligations article below.

Civil marriages and civil partnerships

A civil marriage ceremony or civil partnership can take place in any register office in England or Wales, or at any venue approved by the local authority. These include stately homes and other prestigious buildings, hotels and restaurants.

You will first need to formally give notice of marriage or notice of civil partnership.

On the day of your marriage or civil partnership, you will need to bring at least two other people who can sign as witnesses.

A civil marriage ceremony cannot have any religious content, but you may be able to arrange for individual touches such as non-religious music and readings to be added to the legal wording, and for the ceremony to be videoed. The register office where you intend to marry will be able to tell you more about the options available.

A Civil Partnership is legally formed by the signing of the civil partnership schedule. Like a civil marriage, this is also non-religious, but couples who wish to arrange for a ceremony should discuss this with the registration officials.

Welsh speaking marriages and civil partnerships
You can marry or form a civil partnership in Welsh in any place in which the Welsh language is commonly used. Both yourselves, your witnesses and the person conducting the marriage should be able to understand what is being said. You don’t have to have given notice in Welsh.

Getting married or forming a civil partnership abroad

If you have any general enquiries about marrying or forming a civil partnership abroad, you should contact the Embassy or High Commission of the country concerned. You may be asked for a ‘certificate of no impediment’. This is a document required by some foreign authorities to enable a non-national to marry in their country. If you are asked for one, contact your local register office using the Local Register Office finder below.

If you are asked to provide an ‘apostille’, a formal confirmation that a signature, seal or stamp appearing on a document is genuine, contact the Foreign & Commonwealth Office on +44 (0)3700 00 22 44.

How much does it cost to get married or form a civil partnership?

What you need to do Cost
Give notice before registering a marriage or civil partnership £35.00
Register a marriage or civil partnership at a register office £45.00
Register a marriage or civil partnership on approved premises The cost for attendance by the superintendent registrar and registrar is set by the local authority.

A further charge is likely to be made by the owners of the building for the use of the premises.
Cost of religious ceremony in the Church of England or Church in Wales Please check fees with the vicar of the church in which you are planning to marry.
Cost of religious ceremony at a building other than Church of England or Church in Wales Unless the building has an Authorised Person, there will be an £84.00 fee for the registrar. There may be further fees charged by the trustees of the building and the person who performs the ceremony.
Cost of marriage or civil partnership certificate on the day £4.00

You can order further copies of your marriage or civil partnership certificate any time in the future, either via your local register office, in person, by post, by fax or online.

For events in Scotland or Northern Ireland

You can contact the relevant General Register Office using the links below.

Useful links

Additional links

Order certificates online

Apply for birth, marriage and death certificates

Building a strong relationship

Want help with your relationship? Know where to go?

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