A celebrant ceremony is not a legally binding marriage ceremony, but it is the perfect option for a couple wishing to celebrate their union in a way which is completely personal and unique.
However, if you do wish to legalise your marriage, you will need to register your marriage at a time and place convenient to you.
Samantha’s guide ‘How to Legally Register Your Marriage’ will ensure that you do this correctly, with the lowest fuss, and at the lowest fee too.
Both parties will need to attend a register office within the district of their residence to give ‘Notice of Marriage.’
At this appointment, you will need to prove your identity and nationality, your freedom to marry and your residency. Both parties must have resided at the address for 7 clear days or more.
Full details of this documentary evidence and residency qualifying period is available at https://www.gov.uk/marriages-civil-partnerships/documents-to-take-to-the-register-office
At this appointment you will need to state where you intend to carry out your civil marriage, as the notice is given for a specific venue and if that venue should change, you would need to give fresh notice (and pay again!).
Once you have attended this appointment, your details will be on public display in that registration district for 28 days. Providing there have been no formal objections, your marriage authorities will be issued. These authorities are valid for 12 months from date of issue.
For a minimum fee you can opt to legally marry in a ‘Statutory Ceremony’ to be held at any Register Office.
This is a low fuss / low fee ceremony where you can simply state the declaratory words and contractual vows legally required to marry in the UK, before signing the marriage register.
You will need to bring two guests as witnesses to this ceremony. However, you do not need to enter to music, say your personal vows, exchange your wedding bands, or wear a big white dress!
Note: Some registry offices only offer Statutory Ceremonies on certain days of the week. However, this ceremony does not necessarily need to take place in the district in which you live. Before giving your notice, check to find a Registry Office which offers a ceremony day to suit you.
“I do solemnly declare that I know not of any lawful impediment why I, AB, may not be joined in matrimony to CD.”
“I declare that I know of no legal reason why I, AB, may not be joined in marriage to CD.”
By replying “I am” to the question “Are you AB free lawfully to marry CD?”
“I call upon these persons here present to witness that I, AB, do take thee, CD, to be my lawful wedded wife (or husband).”
“I AB take you CD to be my wedded wife (or husband)”
“I AB take thee CD to be my wedded wife (or husband)”
Standard UK Fees
Notice of Marriage | £35 per person
Payable to the registration service in which both parties live.
Statutory Ceremony | £46 (+£4 for your marriage certificate)
This is the current fee set across England and Wales.
Total | £120 to legally register your marriage*
What to do next?
- Book your celebrant and wedding venue for the celebrant ceremony and marriage celebration – your wedding day!
- Book a Statutory Ceremony in any Register Office convenient to you – on any day before or after your wedding day!
- Make an appointment with your LOCAL registration service to give your notice of marriage – from 12 months to 28 days before your Statutory Ceremony.
*Information correct at time of publication September 2016. Costs are an indication based on the lowest legal requirment. Some local districts may differ.
Publication written by Samantha Kelsie | UK Celebrant
Need more information? Download Samantha’s personally written PDF Guide: How To Legally Register Your Marriage