Before you can marry anywhere in England or Wales, either by civil or religious ceremony, you must first give due notice of your intention to marry.
If you want to marry in the CHURCH OF ENGLAND or WALES, you must arrange this with the vicar. If he is able to marry you, banns will be called in Church, or a common licensed issued. There would generally be no need for you to attend a Register Office.
To marry by RELIGIOUS CEREMONY anywhere other than in the Church of England or Wales, you should first make arrangements with the minister, or other person, in charge of marriages at the building. He or she will also advise you as to whether, or not, you will need to book a registrar. However, the Church or religious building in question must normally be located within the registration district where you or your partner lives. After you have arranged to marry, it will be necessary for each of you to give formal notice of marriage to Superintendent Registrar of the district where you live.
If you want to be married by CIVIL CEREMONY, that is at a Register Office, or in another building which has been approved for civil marriage, in England or Wales, then you should first contact the Superintendent Registrar, you will also need to make arrangements at the venue in question. After you have arranged to marry, it will be necessary for you to give a formal notice of marriage to the Superintendent Registrar of the district where you live.
So unless you intend to marry in the Church of England or Wales, a NOTICE OF MARRIAGE must be given, IN PERSON, by each of you to the Superintendent Registrar of the district where you reside.
Notice of marriage will be given by Superintendent Registrars Certificate. This means that after both notices are given you must wait AT LEAST 17 DAYS from the date of the SECOND notice before the Superintendent can issue his/hers certificate for the marriage to take place. Because of possible weekend, bank holiday, part time office closures etc, we would advise that you both give at least four weeks notice. This is especially important if you are getting married somewhere other than the Register Office you both have to attend to give notice, or if you live in different districts from each other.
A notice of marriage is valid for 12 months. Therefore you cannot give notice more than 12 months in advance of the wedding date, although you may be able to get provisional booking for some venues (but not usually Register Office) before this. The marriage can take place at the venues stated on the notice up to 12 months from the date of the FIRST notice given.
In order to give a Notice of Marriage to a Superintendent Registrar, BOTH of you must have lived in a registration district in England or Wales for at least SEVEN CLEAR DAYS immediately before giving notice. Each of you will give your own notice, but you can attend together if you live in the same registration district. If you live in different registration districts, you will need to give notice separately in your own area.
To avoid any inconvenience for couples wishing to marry, most Superintendent Registrars work by appointment. Therefore you are strongly advised to telephone the Register office for the district where you live before going there. Staff are then able to check your details carefully and advise you properly about which documents you will need to produce when given your notice of marriage.