On the 4th May 2021 the way we register and document marriages in the UK changed forever. We moved from the traditional paper record, usually kept in a large green book, to a completely electronic method of registering a marriage. The new method is known as the wedding schedule. Today we’re talking about why we’ve moved to this new system, and what that means for you and your wedding.
Why has the wedding register changed?
The way we register marriages has been around for a very long time, so it was definitely in need of an update. The new online system is simpler, and more efficient as well as being able to hold the names if up to eight parents. This means that now not only can biological parents be named, but any step-parents too.
Is the change positive for couples?
Although couples will no longer have the moment of signing the official register during their ceremony, overall we believe this change is for the better.
Previous to this, Mum’s couldn’t be on the marriage certificate unless they were witnesses. To put it bluntly – this meant they had to be alive and present at the wedding. Dad’s on the other hand could be named regardless of whether they could make it to the ceremony or not. This new method allows both parents to be included on the wedding certificate equally.
Being able to add step parents to the document is also a massive step in the right direction. Many couples now have step parents who have been in their lives for a very long time, and who are just as deserving of a mention on their wedding day as their biological parents.
The other major change is that the wedding certificate will now be posted to couples within a week of the wedding taking place. It’s not quite as nice as walking out of the ceremony room with the legal document in hand, but it does solve the problem of who to trust it with during the wedding reception.
How has this changed the wedding ceremony?
Honestly, the change to a wedding schedule hasn’t altered the wedding ceremony all that much. We’ve photographed a few weddings since the change came in and it feels very much the same. The couple and two witnesses must both still sign a document to confirm the marriage, it’s just this is a single sheet of paper rather than a large book.
When it comes to your photographs, we can’t say what will happen just yet. With the current restrictions in place posing the signing of the register hasn’t been allowed for a while. Whether posed photographs will come back after restrictions have been lifted – we can’t say for sure. We’d like to see their return, but we’ll update you over the coming months.
Looking for more wedding planning tips? Take a look at our next post, 5 tips for choosing your wedding flowers.