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Did you know? Are you married/in a civil partnership or living together? - Part 2

The requirements in England and Wales for a marriage to be recognised as valid .

This article is not designed to cover every aspect of matrimonial law, but here are a few things you should be aware of:

  1. To get married in England or Wales – you:


- have to be not still married already

-have to be over 18 (or 16 if you have your parent’s consent)

-cannot be too closely related

-have the ability to understand what you are doing to give valid consent



-GIVE NOTICE of the marriage to the Superintendent Registrar of the district of where you live (usually at least 28 days before the ceremony), these preliminaries can be done through the Church of England or Wales using the banns process or Archbishop’s licence process.  

-foreign nationals who are subject to immigration control have to comply with extra notice and financial conditions

- People living in the UK who intend to get married abroad still need to give notice in the UK.


- you have to get married at a premises that is licenced for marriage ceremonies or is a Church of England/Wales Church AND you are married by a person licenced to marry you (usually a Registrar unless you are in a Church (always check this as even in a church they must be registered). YOUR OWN HOUSE IS NOT USUALLY ALLOWED. (There are some exceptions to this for Quaker marriages).

If you are marrying in a Church that is not a Church of England or Wales Church then you have to follow the conditions that apply to that Church, and in particular must check that the Church is Registered for marriages (sometimes the Superintendant Registrar needs to be present for the marriage to be valid if it is not a Church of England or Wales Church).

Other religions – the parties must also have a Civil Ceremony as well as the religious ceremony for a marriage to be legally valid. Some Buildings of Worship for non-Christians are also registered as wedding venues and people can deal with the civil aspect of the marriage (at a slightly separate moment) during the same ceremony that involves the religious side, provided that a Registered person deals with the civil legal aspects to the marriage. This can be a religious leader, provided they are Authorised under UK civil law to conduct civil marriages, otherwise a Registrar must also be present to conduct the civil part of the marriage.

It is important to check that BOTH the premises and the CELEBRANT are registered. If they are not then a separate Civil Ceremony should be arranged. 

Non-religious ceremonies and marriages abroad are covered next week in Part 3

Added: 12 Feb 2018 14:52

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