If you’re planning to get married in the UK, it’s important that you follow the rules for giving notice. It’s not as exciting as trying on your wedding dress or deciding on how to dress your venue, but it’s something that needs to be done because otherwise there may be no wedding (don’t worry, it’s pretty straightforward once you know how)!
If you’re planning a civil ceremony then normally the ceremony will be conducted by a registrar. There’s only a limited number of registrars for each Registration District so before you go ahead and put that deposit down for the venue, or make any other firm commitments to a particular date, check that there is a registrar available (if you’re planning a religious ceremony there are separate rules, depending on the religion, so check this with the relevant person at the place where you plan to get married).
When you book the registrar at your local register office, they should provide you with information on ‘giving notice’. For most marriages or civil partnerships you must give at least 28 full days’ notice. I found this quite a surreal experience – the registrar speaks to you and your partner separately and asks you each a series of question to confirm your identity and to ensure it is not a sham marriage (some people refer to this as an interview, but the questions are quite straightforward, for example, what is your partner’s occupation, so don’t sweat it!). Make sure you’re on time for the appointment and take along all of the necessary original documents as proof of address and proof of identity. You’ll also need to know where you plan to get married!
Notice of your marriage is then normally displayed for 28 days, presumably so that the intended marriage can be challenged if it is not legitimate (not something to worry about unless you have something to hide!). If you’re the sentimental type, you might want to take a camera along (or just use your mobile) to take a photo of the notice at the register office (the notice won’t necessarily go up immediately so you may need to go back later)
When you’re totting up that wedding budget don’t forget to include all of the relevant fees, which may include a fee for booking the ceremony, a fee for giving notice, a fee for the registrar to attend the approved premises, a fee for the marriage certificate etc. Depending on your plans, the fees can run into a few hundred pounds. This wedding business can get expensive!
The rules may change from time to time, therefore always take a look at the official guidance on giving notice and the other formalities on the Government’s .GOV.UK website. The current page is here: