What You Need To Know About Your Civil Ceremony

civil ceremonyYou’ve planned your big fat Indian wedding and organised your five star honeymoon, but don’t forget, you still need to make your marriage official on paper.

You’ll need to apply for a marriage license before your ceremony can even take place. This basically acts as a legal permit and confirms that you and your partner are eligible to marry one another. While this process will vary largely according to your chosen location (especially if you choose to get married abroad), one thing’s for sure; it should never be left to the very last minute!

The whole process can be a little confusing, so here’s a breakdown of the most important things you’ll need to know:

Give notice to your local registry office
You MUST give at least 28 days notice to your local registry office for all marriages or civil partnerships. If you plan to get married abroad you will still need to give notice at your local office but will also need to double check with the relevant overseas authority, as you may need a ‘certificate of no impediment’. The best way forward is to contact your local registry office and make an appointment.

Documents to take to your appointment
When you go for your initial appointment remember to take those all-important documents with proof of your name, age and nationality.  A valid passport or birth certificate will usually suffice. You will also need to confirm your address with a valid UK or EEA driving licence or utility bill. A full list of all documents which will be accepted can be found on the government website.

Ceremony in a different country or if you are of a different nationality
If you are planning to tie the knot in a different country to your residence or you or/and your partner are of a different nationality there will be different rules, so make sure you speak to the registry office about any additional documentation that you may need to present. Also bear this in mind if you are planning to get married overseas.

Be wary of the fact that there will be a fee to register your marriage so factor this in when you are budgeting your wedding costs.You will each be required to pay a £35 fee to attend the register office to give notice. If you are not a British national you may be required to pay a fee of £47. If your ceremony is taking place at a register office you will be required to pay an additional £46 to register the marriage or civil ceremony and a further £4 for your certificate on the day. Costs may vary slightly depending on your selected location.

**Other important details

Witnesses: You will require two witnesses aged 16 years or older

Ceremony: Your religious ceremony should take place after a civil ceremony and not before

Readings and music: Your ceremony can include both readings and music but these should not include any religious references

Venues: You can get married at a registry office, a venue which has been approved by the local council or a religious premises where permission has been granted and approved

Numbers: Depending on your chosen venue, the room you intend to be married in will be license for a certain amount of people. Remember, this number will include the two registers, photographers and the main point of contact from the venue who will need to be present

For further information or to find your local registry office visit www.gov.uk.

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