Since 4 May 2021, couples have been asked to sign a marriage schedule/document at the 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
If you are having a civil ceremony, you will have purchased your certificates when you booked the registrars to attend your ceremony.
If your ceremony is taking place in a church, you must purchase your certificates before your ceremony, as the authorised person at the church can't produce your certificates for you. To purchase certificates for your church ceremony, visit our copy certificates page.
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. You will no longer receive a marriage certificate at the ceremony. All certificates will be produced electronically and are no longer handwritten.
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 authorised person at the church is responsible for ensuring the signed marriage schedule/document is returned to our registration office. The authorised person may ask the couple or a nominated guest to return this on their behalf. Signed marriage schedules/documents can be returned to these locations only - County Hall in Norwich, Great Yarmouth Library or King’s Lynn Town Hall. The authorised person conducting your ceremony has the full details on how to return your signed marriage schedule/document.
The signed schedule/document can be returned via post to Norwich Registration Office, Archive Centre, County Hall, Norwich, NR1 2DQ. Due to the importance of the schedule/document if you are going to return your schedule to us via post, we would advise you to consider using signed for 1st class delivery.
Why the process is changing
The introduction of the electronic register on 4 May 2021 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.