The Legal Bits - Giving Notice of Marriage
So the venue is booked, the registrars secured and your suppliers are ready and waiting for the big day to arrive. What else do you need to do? A part of legally marrying that is often over looked by couples is the process of giving Notice of Marriage. This essential step paves the way for couples to legally tie the knot and embark on their lifelong journey together. In this blog post, we'll explore what giving notice of marriage entails, the legal requirements, and what will happen during the appointment.
Understanding Giving Notice of Marriage
Giving notice of marriage is a crucial legal requirement for anyone planning to get married in the England and Wales. It is essentially a formal declaration of intent to marry.
- Timeframe: Couples must give notice of their intent to marry at least 28 clear days (or 29 sleeps) before the wedding ceremony. A Notice of Marriage is valid for up to 12 months before the date of the ceremony.
- Venue: For a standard Notice of Marriage, it must be given at the local register office of the district where you reside. If both partners live in different districts, they must each give notice separately in their respective districts. If either party is subject to immigration control, it would be wise to contact the Register Office to discuss your situation further.
- Documents: When giving notice, couples are required to provide certain documents to prove their identity, nationality, and marital status. These documents typically include valid passports, proof of residence (from a prescribed list of acceptable documents), and, if applicable, ORIGINAL divorce or death certificates from previous marriages.
- Fees: There is a fee associated with giving notice of marriage, this is a fee set by the General Register Office. In 2023, the fee for giving a standard Notice of Marriage is from £35:00 per person.
What will happen during the appointment?
A lot of couples often worry about Giving Notice and upon leaving say “I don’t know what I was so worried about!”.
At the start of the appointment we will check the documentation you have brought with you, this is to ensure that you have everything required to give notice. At the point of booking your notice with us, our lovely ceremonies team will help you work out what documentation you need to bring with you and will make a note of this on your booking. There is a very specific and prescribed list of acceptable documentation so please make sure that you have everything you need to give notice.
After we have checked your documents, we will need to see you both separately, this is to ensure that as Registrars we are complying with forced and sham marriage regulations – it’s not an exercise designed to trick you! It’s not a game of Mr and Mrs and we are not going to ask what your partner’s favourite food when they were 6 years old. We will ask questions that you already know the answer to: Yours and your partners full names, Dates of Birth, Occupations and usual addresses.
During the notice, we will ask you about your parent’s details (their full names and their occupation and whether or not they are retired). This is for historical records and family history purposes. There is no legal requirement for your parents details to be recorded on the marriage schedule. If you choose to include your parents’ details, there is space for up to 4 parents to be recorded per party. This could be a combination of natural parents, step-parents or adoptive parents. On a rather sensitive note, many people think that if their parents are sadly no longer with us then they cannot be recorded; this is not the case. We will simply record their full name, followed by the word “deceased” in brackets, we will also record their occupation when they were working.
We will then print out the notice and ask you to check it. At this point, it is very important to check it thoroughly as they are legal preliminaries to you getting married. The information shown on the Notice will form the basis of what you will sign on the day of your marriage itself – so make sure it is correct! If on the day of marriage, you did not pick up on an error, this would be transferred to your marriage certificate too! Once you are certain that everything is correct, we will then ask you to sign the document.
At this point, the notice will be available for public viewing for 28 clear days. Once the Notice Period has lapsed the paperwork will be issued to allow you to be legally wed!
Giving Notice of Marriage is an exciting time, it means you a so close to your wedding day! Be prepared, make sure that you have everything you need to be able to give Notice – if you’re not sure what you need, contact our Ceremonies Team and they will be more than happy to help you!
Giving Notice of Marriage is the first step in becoming legal wed – celebrate it! Make sure you book to do something you enjoy as a couple after the appointment, whether it be a coffee, a lunch date or maybe a cinema date!