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Registering your marriage

From 4 May 2021, you will be asked to sign a marriage schedule/document at your ceremony, rather than a marriage register.

We will use this document to enter your marriage in an electronic marriage register.

Paper marriage registers will no longer be used by registrars attending civil ceremonies or ceremonies taking place at churches and places of worship.

How you will receive your marriage certificate

Once we have entered your marriage into the electronic register, we will produce and post your certificate to you within seven days of the schedule/document being returned to our office.

If your ceremony is taking place with registrars in attendance, then they will return the marriage schedule to the office.

Where we are not in attendance at the ceremony, for example at most church ceremonies, the couple are responsible for ensuring the marriage document is returned to our registration office.

You will no longer receive a handwritten marriage certificate at the ceremony.

Why the process is changing

The introduction of the electronic register on 4 May gives the couple the opportunity to add parents (mother/father/parent) to their marriage certificate, instead of only their fathers’ names, which is currently the case.

The Marriages, Civil Partnerships, Marriages and Deaths (Registration Etc.) Act 2019 modernises how marriages are registered for the first time since 1837, through issue of a marriage schedule system and registration in an electronic register.

We are implementing a new system rather than updating the old system because it would be too costly to amend/replace all open marriage registers, blank certificates and associated paperwork.

Further information

This webpage will be updated in the coming weeks with more details. All couples affected will be contacted ahead of their ceremony to explain what these changes mean for them and their ceremony.

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