The legalities of a Wedding Ceremony

Newlyweds with friends taking selfie

Currently, as the law stands, couples who wish to get married must either get married in:

  • a Register Office
  • premises approved by the local authority such as a hotel
  • a church of the Church of England, Church in Wales, Church of Ireland, Presbyterian or Roman Catholic Church in N. Ireland (opposite sex couples only)
  • There are other exceptions, but in the main this is true for most British marriages.

A Civil Celebrant does not conduct legally binding marriages, but performs ceremonies that are highly personalized and tailored to your needs. You may hold your ceremony anywhere at any time of day and with whoever you wish present.

You will however still need to sign the paperwork at your local registry office. Fees for this vary from county to county and you should contact your local authority with regards to this.

To be legally married or be in a civil partnership you must:

  • be over 16, with parents or guardians consent if you are under the age of 18 and live in Wales, England, or Northern Ireland.
  • Give notice at your local register office.
  • Have a religious or civil ceremony at least 28 days after the notice.

For the full details on being legal please refer to the Births, Deaths, & Marriages section of the .gov website.

photo credit: Running from the rain after the ceremony – La Belle Amie Vineyard via photopin (license)

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