One of the things you’ll need to do in order to be legally married in the UK is give notice of marriage. How this is done changes slightly depending on whether you’re choosing a religious or non-religious ceremony. Here we’re talking you through the process of giving notice of marriage, and of marriage banns.
Your Wedding Ceremony Venue
Before you can give notice of marriage you’ll need to decide when and where you’d like to be married. For a civil ceremony you’ll need to make sure that you have a locally approved venue that is licensed for weddings, otherwise you won’t be legally married. For a religious ceremony the person registering your marriage must also be authorised. Most ministers are, but it’s always worth checking.
When you’ve chosen your venue, then you can think about giving notice or your marriage banns.
If you’ve chosen a non-religious ceremony then you will need to give notice of marriage. This is essentially a legal statement stating your intention to get married. In the UK You need to give notice at least 29 days before your wedding, and must hold your ceremony within 12 months from the date of signing.
There are just a few things you’ll need to know before giving notice.
You must give notice in the district where you live, and it must be done in the register office. You’ll need to provide proof of identity. (Your local authority website will have a list of approved documents you can provide.) If your wedding is taking place outside the district where you live, you’ll need to give your notice of ceremony to the person who will be conducting your ceremony. Talk to the registrar when you have your appointment and they’ll give you full instructions on how to do this.
There is also a cost attached to giving notice of marriage. This changes with each district, but is usually around £30 – £50.
If you’ve chosen a religious ceremony, you will not need to give notice of marriage. In the Church of England, the marriage banns will take place of the notice. The reading of the banns is an announcement to the church of your intention to marry. Your banns must be read for 3 Sundays during the 3 months before your wedding.
Why Is This Important?
Giving notice of marriage and the marriage banns gives the public an opportunity to put forward any legal reason that a marriage cannot lawfully take place. For most couples this isn’t a consideration, you know you’re both legally free to marry, but this is a process that has been happening for hundreds of years and we’re sure there’s a good reason for that.
If you’d like more wedding tips, take a look at our Guide To Wedding Albums.