The legalities

It is important to point out that under UK law you must have already been legally married before your “special' wedding ceremony takes place, after which this ceremony can take place anywhere and at anytime you wish.

The law on marriage in the UK can be complicated and confusing. If you want your special ceremony in the venue of your choice then you must adhere to some legal formalities. I can help and provide advice and guidance on arranging a Registry Office marriage. Once the legal formalities have been completed you can have your ‘special’ marriage ceremony at a venue of your choice.

Notice of marriage

First of all you must both give notice of marriage in your local registration district. If you live in different areas, you both need to give notice in your own district.

The waiting period following a notice will be increased from 15 days to 28 days and in some cases (for couples subject to immigration control) this could be increased to 70 days. Authorities must be given to the Registrar of Marriages in the district in which the registry office marriage is to take place.

You can complete the legal marriage at the Register Office whenever you want to before your ‘special’ marriage ceremony. This could be either on the morning of the celebration ceremony or a couple of days, or even weeks, beforehand.

What is not commonly known or understood in the UK is that only the Declaratory Words and the Contracting Words have to be said in a Registry Office or licensed venue, in order for your marriage to be recognised in law and for a marriage certificate to be issued.

Registry Office Ceremonies

The basic registry office marriage ceremony lasts about ten minutes. In the presence of two adult witnesses (family or friends) the Registrar will make a short statement about marriage. You then repeat two statements (declarations). You won’t even have to exchange rings at this stage if you want to save that for the ‘special’ wedding ceremony later.

After making the 32 word Declaration and Marriage Contract in front of the Registrar, the legalities are over and your marriage certificate is prepared.

The rest of the service, including the exchanging of rings and saying of vows to one another is purely ceremonial and can take place literally anywhere and at any time of the day or night – you are limited only by your imagination and the availability of a venue.

Declaratory Words:

“I do solemnly declare that I know not of any lawful impediment why I”  etc. (For example)

Contracting Words:

“I call upon these persons here present to witness that I” etc. (For example)

Personalised ceremonies for special occasions…


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