hen party

When and Where To Get Married

top-left top-right

In this section

Where do you start?

Ok, you finally got your man to say yes. Congratulations the politicians will be giving you a pat on the back for promoting marriage.

Now the question is; where do you start?

Start by asking yourself three simple questions:

1. When do you want to get married?

The time of year, and the day of the week, that you get married will have a huge impact on how you plan your wedding.

2. Do you want to get married in a church or have a civil wedding?

Whether you know the answer to this or not we will help you to understand the requirements and procedures for both types of wedding.

3. Do you want to get married in Britain or abroad?

If you wish to get married in England or Wales you can either do so by having a civil or religious wedding, if you want to get married abroad the rules change from country to country.

Read on for more information and advice on the above key questions!


When to get married

Depending on what time of year and whether you are having a midweek or weekend wedding the price will vary. Wedding receptions are much cheaper in the autumn to winter months and cheaper still if you can hire the venue midweek.


Religious ceremony

Religious ceremonies, regardless of faith, can only be recognised in the eyes of the law if carried out by a person who is registered to conduct weddings.

If the person conducting the weddings isn't registered then you must arrange for the Registrar of Marriages from the district in which the building is situated to be present for the marriage in order for it to be recognised as legal. The wedding can only be conducted in a place which has been formally registered by the Registrar General for marriages.

Church of England or Wales

Those wishing to marry in a Church of England or Wales must give public notice that they intend to be married. You can only marry in a church in the parish where either one, or both, of you are resident, unless one of you attends a church outside your parish.

If the minister is able to marry you he or she will arrange for Banns to be called on three Sundays before the day of your ceremony or for a common licence to be issued. If Banns are not called then you will need to give notice of marriage to the Superintendent registrar in the district where you live, in lieu of Banns.

On the day of your wedding the minister will marry you and register the marriage.


Civil Ceremony

A civil ceremony can take place either in a Register Office or any approved venue. The law requires that any music and readings you have contain no religious content, if in doubt you should consult with the Superintendent Registrar well in advance to avoid disappointment.

If you decide to marry in an approved venue you should make a provisional booking with the venue for when you wish to be married.

You then need to contact the Superintendent Registrar in the district of the approved venue where you intend to get married to check that Registration Staff will be available on your chosen date and time to conduct the marriage.

You must then give notice of your marriage at the Register Office in the district where you live. You must have been resident in the district for at least seven days and then wait a further fifteen days before you will be eligible to marry, this can be done up to one year before the wedding date.

Benefits of a civil ceremony

You can get married in any Register Office or Approved venue anywhere in England or Wales, without having to be a resident. If you want to marry in a different place to where you collected the authority of marriage you can do this by giving the authority to the Superintendent Registrar of the district you intend to marry in.

You can also have your wedding reception in the same venue as your wedding.


Civil Partnerships

Civil Partnerships are a civil union between same-sex couples, which take place in local registration offices.

Same-sex couples wishing to take part in civil partnerships need to give notice at a registry office, of their intention to register for a civil partnership, 15 days before they are allowed to sign the civil partnership register. Same-sex couples will be asked to sign an official document at the registry office, in the presence of the registrar and two witnesses.

In entering into this union same-sex couples have similar rights to that of heterosexual married couples.

Civil Partnership Ceremony

The Civil Partnership Ceremony is not a legal requirement for same-sex couples wanting to tie the knot. The ceremony can be conducted anywhere from a registry office, a venue or your own home.

There are a number of companies which can assist you in planning your Civil Partnership Ceremony so why not check out our directory to find one that can help you.


Getting married anywhere inside the UK

If you intend to marry in a country which is part of the UK other than England or Wales you will need to contact a Register Office within that country for advice on how to proceed.


Getting married outside of the UK

A marriage abroad will be considered legal in the UK provided that the ceremony complied with the laws of the country you are married in, and that the bride and groom were both legally free to marry under the country's laws. If you are in any doubt as to the legitimacy of the marriage ceremony you should contact the embassy or the consular of the country you intend to marry in. They can advise you on any documentation that you will need to take with you.

Many tour operators specialise in arranging marriages abroad. You should contact your local travel agent. They will be able to advise you on any documentation you will need to provide and whether there is a minimum length of stay in the country you have chosen to get married. You may also need to obtain a certificate of 'No Impediment'

Pros and Cons to getting married abroad


  • You can get married on a tropical island!
  • You can guarantee hot weather if that is what you want
  • Most tour operators offer a wedding package including the wedding ceremony and the honeymoon


  • Not all your friends and family will be able to see you get married on your 'Big Day'
  • Many hotels perform more than one ceremony each day. You will need to decide whether you mind sharing the limelight with other wedding parties.
  • The wedding packages on offer are very basic any extras that you might want you will have to pay for.

hen party