Wedding FAQ (Frequently asked questions)

Here you will finds the answers to our most asked questions. If you can't find your answer here ask in our forum and we will do our best to answer it for you. You could also have a look in the site index for help.

Q: Do we have to have a bridesmaid and a best man?

Q: How much does a civil marriage cost?

Q: How long does the civil ceremony last?

Q: Can we have our own choice of vows?

Q: When is the cheapest time of year to get married?

Q: When is the most popular time of year to get married?

Q: How much does the average wedding cost?

Q: How soon can we get married?

Q: Which documents do I need to get married abroad?

Q: Do I have to go to church to get married in a church?

Q: Can I go on honeymoon with my passport still issued in my maiden name?

Q: What time should we get married?

Q: How far in advance can we book our wedding?

Q: Can I get married in a church after being divorced?

Q: Do I have to have found a venue first before we can give our Notice of Marriage?

Q: What must we do if we want to get married somewhere other than the district in which we both live?

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Do we have to have a bridesmaid and a best man?
No, but you must provide two persons, to be present at your marriage to act as witnesses.

How much does a civil marriage cost?
The cost of your civil marriage will depend in your choice of venue and date, and whether you are having guests attend the ceremony. You will need to contact your local registration office for current costs and further advice.

How long does the civil ceremony last?
The ceremony usually lasts 15-20 minutes with the exchange of vows and you may wish to exchange rings. If you wanted to introduce other aspects to the ceremony, such as, a non-religious poetry reading or a special piece of music you would have to discuss this with the registrar.

Can we have our own choice of vows?
If you plan to get married by civil ceremony in the United Kingdom in a a register office or other approved premises then there is the possibility that you can include your own vows as well as the statutory words that legally bind you as husband and wife.

During the ceremony the minimum vows required to make the marriage legal are detailed below. You will normally be allowed to add your own selection of vows before or after the statutory words:

In England and Wales the statutory declaration is:
" I do solemnly declare that I know not of any lawful impediment why I, [your name], may not be joined in matrimony to [your partner's name]."

followed by these contracting words:
" I call upon these persons here present to witness that I, [your name], do take thee [your partner's name] to be my lawful wedded husband [or wife]."

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When is the cheapest time of year to get married?
Between November or February, are it is renowned for being colder and more likely to rain.

When is the most popular time of year to get married?
Between July and August are the most popular times of year to get married.

How much does the average wedding cost?
Anywhere between £13,000 to £16,000

How soon can we get married?
Unless you are marrying in the Church of England or Church in Wales by Banns or Common Licence, notice of marriage has to be given personally to your local superintendent registrar(s) at the Register Office in the district in which you and your partner reside. A notice of marriage states the names of the parties to the marriage, age, marital status, address, occupation nationality and the intended venue for the marriage. It is a legal document

Notices of marriage must be given in person to the superintendent registrar by you and your partner. No one else can do so on your behalf.

Which documents do I need to get married abroad?
Depending on where your getting married the documentation required may vary. Read our section on getting married abroad for further guidance.

Do I have to go to church to get married in a church?
No you don't. There is no legal duty but the minister may encourage you to attend services. Read the section on religious ceremonies for further information.

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Can I go on honeymoon with my passport still issued in my maiden name?
Yes

What time should we get married?
If you are getting married in a Church of England or Wales you must get married between the hours of 8.00am and 6.00pm.

How far in advance can we book our wedding?
A booking can be made up to a year in advance of the ceremony with the Superintendent Registrar of the district where you wish to marry. The sooner you arrange to book the more likely it is that you will get the date and time of your choice. The Superintendent Registrar will be able to give you more precise information in this respect.

Can I get married in a church after being divorced?
If you want to marry in a Church of England and Wales you may find you are up against some resistance. Previously the Church of England and Wales forbid remarries if either of the partners had been divorced and in many parishes this is still the case. Although some ministers have become more liberal in their way of thinking, particularly if either partner are widowed or they were the innocent party in the dissolving of the marriage. You will have to approach this matter with your minister and hope they are sympathetic to your circumstances, as it will be ultimately left up to the minister's discretion.

If you were hoping to marry in a Roman Catholic Church you may find the resistance even greater depending on your circumstances. Although the church will allow the remarriage of partners if either of them are widowed or their previous marriage was by civil ceremony (as such a ceremony is not one which is recognised by the Roman Catholic church). If a Priest conducted your previous marriage and you former spouse is still alive, the Roman Catholic Church will not recognise the right of the State to have dissolved the marriage. Therefore it is very unlikely you will be allowed to remarry in a Roman Catholic Church.

If you are adamant in you desire to remarry in a Roman Catholic Church you should ask your priest if you could petition the Roman Catholic Church in order to have your previous marriage annulled.

Which either church you wish to remarry you will need to approach the celebrant as soon as possible to discuss your circumstances.

Do I have to have found a venue first before we can give our Notice of Marriage?
Yes, because you will be asked when you have your appointment with the Superintendent Registrar.

What must we do if we want to get married somewhere other than the district in which we both live?
You need to contact the venue where you intend to have your marriage ceremony and make a provisional booking. Then contact the Register Office of the district in which the venue is located to ensure the Register Officer can attend your wedding on the date and time you so wish.

You will need to give Notice of your Marriage at the Register Office in the district (or districts) where you both live. When you give notice you will be asked where you intend to get married. After your notice has been approved you will be issued with a Marriage Authority or Authorities. The Marriage Authority will only be applicable to the venue you have chosen to marry in at the time of giving notice, and is valid for one year. This paperwork should then be passed onto the Superintendent Registrar in the district where you are to be married.