How and when to give notice for marriage

Both the future bride and groom must send their completed marriage notice forms, relevant documents, declarations and fees to the Registrar of Marriages for the council district where the marriage is to take place. Your marriage notice will be placed on public display at the registrar’s office.

The laws in NI on marriage and civil partnerships are changing. You can get details at this link: Changes to the law in NI

Timing of marriage notice

Notice for all marriages must be given in the 12-month period before the date of the marriage. You must send your notice early enough to allow the registrar to make sure both parties are free to marry one another.

Normally, notices should be with the registrar about eight weeks before the marriage. But if either of you have been married before, the notices should be with the registrar 10 weeks before.

The minimum period is 28 days before the date of the proposed marriage, but if you leave things as late as this you could be faced with the need to postpone your marriage.

Only in exceptional circumstances will the Registrar General allow a marriage to take place if 28 days' notice has not been given.

How to give notice

You can download and print out a marriage notice application form at this link: 

You will need to send a separate form for each person.

Documents you need to provide

When you send your marriage notice application form you will need to provide the originals of the following documents to support your application:

  • long birth or adoption certificate (full version)
  • passport

If you were married previously, you will also need to provide the following:

  • certificate of decree absolution (if your previous marriage was dissolved)
  • certificate of decree of divorce (if you have previously been granted a divorce)
  • marriage certificate from previous marriage (if you have kept your previous married surname)
  • death certificate (if your previous spouse is deceased)

If you were born outside the UK, you need to provide the certified copy of your birth certificate issued by the right authority of that country and your passport or national identity card.

If any of the documents are in a language other than English, a certified translation in English must also be provided.

Photocopies of documents are not acceptable unless certified to be a true copy by the issuing authority.

Don’t delay giving notice to the registrar if you're waiting for originals of any of the documents above. Authorised or notarised copies may be acceptable for giving notice; however, the registrar will need to see the originals before a marriage can take place.

Marriage and immigration control

If you're not a UK, EEA (European Economic Area) or Swiss national you will be required to complete an immigration status statement. You will need to send the status statement along with your notice application.

You can find out more about immigration control and the immigration status statement at this link:

If you're visiting the UK to marry

If you're visiting the UK to marry, you will need to provide the documents listed above, the right visa and an immigration status statement (if applicable) along with your marriage notice application.

You can find out more on the visiting Northern Ireland from outside the UK to marry or form a civil partnership page.

Fees

The cost is £22.00 per notice form. Separate notice forms are needed for each person.

If you are having a civil ceremony conducted by a registrar there is a fee of £36.00 for the solemnisation of the marriage.

If you’re having a civil ceremony conducted by a Humanist celebrant, they will have set their own fee. 

Humanist celebrants work independently and are not employees of a district council. 

The district council will charge additional fees for room hire in their premises or for marriages at approved venues. Details of these charges are available from each of the councils.

If you send your notices by post, a cheque for the right amount should be included with your application form. You should make the cheque payable to the district council.

Sending your notice application

You can present your notice forms, papers and fees in person or by send post to the registrar in the area you are planning to marry. You can find contact information for the district registrars at this link:

What happens next

Ahead of your marriage date, you may be asked to visit the registrar’s office to make any final arrangements, and/ or to collect the marriage schedule.

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