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Planning Wedding procedures The notice of matrimony

The notice of matrimony

Notice of marriage

A notice of matrimony is valid for three months only. Therefore you may not give notice of marriage to the superintendent registrar more than three months before the date of your wedding. However, it should be possible for you to make an advance (provisional) booking with the superintendent registrar of the district where you wish to marry up to twelve months before the ceremony. The earlier you arrange to book the marriage the more likely it is that you will get the date and time of your choice. The superintendent registrar will be able to give you more accurate information in this respect.


Notice of marriage can be given in one of two ways:

By certificate: Both of you must have lived in a registration district in England or Wales for at least seven days immediately before giving notice at the register office. If you both live in the same district you only need to give one notice. If you live in different registration districts then each of you will need to give notice in your own area. After giving notice you must wait a further twenty-one days before the marriage can take place.

By License: To marry by this method, which is often known as 'special license' and is more expensive, one of you must have lived in a registration district in England or Wales for at least fifteen days before giving notice at the register office. After notice is given the marriage can take place after one clear day.

Documents to be produced

When you attend before a superintendent registrar or a church minister to make the formal arrangements for your marriage, you may need to take along with you certain documents:

● proof of identity such as your passport or birth certificate.
● If you have been married before, a decree absolute of divorce or if you are a widow or widower, the death certificate of your former spouse.
● If one of you is under 18 years of age, the written consent of your parents or guardian will be required.
● If you are marrying a step-relative or an in-law, you will need to provide relevant death certificates and/or other documents requested by the superintendent registrar or minister.
● 2 proofs per person of residential address
● If you have changed your name by Deed Poll or Statutory Declaration you will need to bring the document with you

Should any of the above documents be in a foreign language, you will need to provide a certified translation in English. If you are unable to provide any of the required documents, the superintendent registrar or church minister will advise you what other documents are acceptable.

Marriage with a foreigner

In essence, the law now says foreign nationals,"subject to immigration control", who want to marry, be it to a British citizen or another foreigner, will now need government approval.

Foreign marriages

If you're subject to immigration control, you won't be able to give notice unless you have a fiancée visa or a marriage visa. Church authorities advise that marriage in a Church of England between two foreigners or between a foreigner and a British subject should be by license and not after banns.


Please also note that if you were previously married and your divorce was in a court outside the UK, you will not be allowed to get married in England or Wales until the superintendent registrar has verified your divorce. This process can take up to six weeks.

Where to get married?

A civil marriage ceremony can take place in any register office in England or Wales, or at any venue that has been approved to hold a civil marriage. Approved venues include stately homes and other prestigious buildings, hotels and restaurants.

Where two British subjects are getting married in a foreign country and both live in England and Wales, notice of marriage must be given by both parties in the district/s in which they have lived for the 7 clear days before giving notice. The informal Certificates of No Impediment can be issued 15 clear days after the date on which the notices were given. If you have any general inquiries about marrying abroad, you should contact the Embassy or High Commission of the country concerned. Overseas marriages may not be registered at a register office. However if you are resident in the UK your overseas marriage documents, with translations if necessary can be deposited with the General Register Office via the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. If you are resident outside the UK, please contact your nearest British Consulate for advice on this service.

Please not: This guide is issued for general guidance and is not a complete statement of the law. For further information on any aspect of the formalities to, or the ceremony of marriage, please seek the advice of the superintendent registrar at the local register office.