UK MARRIAGE LAWS: Check out how to give notice of marriage at a local register office and how the ceremonies work.
According to the law, you can only get married or form a civil partnership in the United Kingdom, if:
- You are at least sixteen (16) years old.
- You are free to marry or free to form a civil partnership (i.e. single, divorced, or widowed).
- The two partners are not ‘closely’ related to each other.
Several other specific marriage laws also apply in England, Wales, and in Northern Ireland. For example, anyone under the age of 18 would require permission from their parents or their guardians.
Note: The UK recognises a civil partnership as a legal relationship between two people. But, only couples of the same sex can form a civil partnership.
Same Sex Couples
Under UK law, as a same sex couple you would be able to:
- Form a civil partnership in England, Wales, Scotland, and in Northern Ireland.
- Convert a civil partnership into a marriage in England, Wales, and in Scotland.
- Get married in England, Wales, and in Scotland.
Registration Laws in Scotland and in Northern Ireland
Some of the rules for registering marriage and civil partnerships differ outside England and wales. Further reading is available through:
- The National Records of Scotland for Scottish marriages and for civil partnerships.
- The registration process for marriages and civil partnerships in Northern Ireland.
Note: The rights and status of EU citizens living in the UK will remain unchanged until 2021. The scheme to apply for settled status for EU citizens and their families beyond June 2021 starts in full from March 2019.
How to Get Married or Form a Civil Partnership
What are the most important things you need to do to get married? As a rule, you would need to follow these two steps for getting married or forming a civil partnership in England and Wales.
- Give notice at your local register office (see below).
- Have either a religious ceremony or a civil ceremony (see below). The formal occasion should take place at least 28 days after giving notice.
Getting Married or Forming a Civil Partnership Abroad
British nationals can get a marriage or a civil partnership abroad. But, you may need certain documents from the UK government to do so (e.g. a certificate of no impediment).
Find out who you need to contact if you are getting married abroad and which documents you might need.
As a rule, the UK will recognise an overseas marriage or civil partnership. But, you must follow the correct process according to the local overseas laws. If so, there would be no requirement to register it in the United Kingdom.
Living Abroad and Marrying in England or Wales
In some cases, you can give notice in the country where you are living. It would need to be one of the countries signed up to the ‘British Subjects Facilities Acts’. Your partner must also be a resident of England or Wales.
Note: You would need to find a register office for the district where you intend to marry in England or Wales.
ALSO IN THIS SECTION
As a rule, you will need to give notice at your local register office. Check through a list of documents that you will need to take with you to the register office.
The section explains how foreign nationals can get married or form a civil partnership in United Kingdom. Find out how to give notice, what documents you need, and how much it will cost.
There are several different types of religious ceremonies that take place in the United Kingdom. Check where and when you can have a religious ceremony as part of a marriage or civil partnership.
Weddings and Civil Partnership Ceremonies
The help guide explains the basic rules for having weddings and civil partnership ceremonies. Information covers the wedding vows, signing the register, and the cost of registering a marriage or civil partnership.