What is giving notice of marriage?

How and when to give notice of marriage

What is giving notice of marriage?
How to give notice of marriage. Image: iStock

Giving notice is one of the few things anyone actually talks about when planning a wedding, but what actually mean? Why do you need to give notice and when should you do it – hey, it might not be cake tasting but it needs to be done!

What is giving notice?
It’s the legal bit that sets out your intention to marry in a civil ceremony before your wedding day.


When do you need to give notice of marriage?
You need to give notice of your marriage in your local Register Office and in England and Wales you can do this any time between 12 months-28 days before your planned wedding day (however, appointments do get booked up so it’s better to get it sorted sooner rather than later!). Try and get booked in about three months before your wedding day.

What to bring with you
Your passport, your birth certificate, a utility bill for proof of address and £70 to pay for giving notice (it costs £35 each – better add it to the wedding budget spreadsheet!)

So what do you actually do when you give notice?
You have an appointment with the registrar that lasts around half an hour. They’ll ask you and your fiancé some basic questions and some invidual questions, where your other half will be asked to leave the room and vice versa.


What questions do they ask when giving notice of marriage?
Nothing complicated, (promise!) your partner’s full name, date of birth and job title. You’ll also be asked your fathers’ full name and occupation.

What happens after the interview?
The notice of your wedding will be displayed at the register office for 28 days. Once that's happened, if you're marrying in a different area, you can either choose to pick up the paperwork and deliver it to the register office conducting your ceremony, or can opt to have it posted there. Make sure you check with the register office that it's turned up a week or two later, as the signed documents are essential for you to have your ceremony.

Do you need to give notice of marriage if you are having a religious ceremony?
The Church of England and the Church in Wales are allowed to register a marriage at the same time as performing the religious ceremony, so no need to give notice (although it is worth checking all this with your church). However, if you or your partner are a non-EEA national, you will need to give 28 days notice to the Register Office.

For other religious marriages you'll need to give 28 days notice of the marriage to the Register Office. Ministers and priests of all other religions can be authorised to register marriages and must have a certificate or licence to do so from the local Superintendent Registrar. For Jewish and Quaker marriages, the authorisation is automatic. For all other religions, if the official performing the ceremony is not authorised, either a Registrar must attend the religious ceremony or the partners will need to have separate religious and civil ceremonies.

Want more? Take a look at our ultimate wedding ceremony guide and the best sing along songs for a civil ceremony


We use cookies to improve your experience of our website. Cookies perform functions like recognising you each time you visit and delivering advertising messages that are relevant to you. Read more here