Marriages and civil partnerships

Religious marriages

Church of England or Church in Wales

Providing you are both British, EU or Swiss nationals and you are planning to marry in the Church of England or Wales, you should contact the vicar for advice on the legal requirements for marriage and fees.

If either party is a national of a country outside the EU, you will need to give notice of marriage.

Weddings at other religious buildings

If you are planning to marry in a church or religious building (that is not the Church of England or Church in Wales):

  • Arrange to see the person in charge of marriages at the building.
  • At least one half of the couple must live in the same local authority area as the church or religious building.
  • Give notices of marriage.
  • Arrange for a registrar to be present at the ceremony. Please note that many churches and religious buildings appoint their own registrars called ‘authorised persons’ to be present at your ceremony.  If an authorised person is not present you will need to book a registrar from the Register Office.

You can only be married in a church in a different local authority area from where you both live if:

  • One or both parties usually worship in that building.
  • There is no church of your religion in the district where you or the person you are marrying lives.

Signing the marriage schedule or document

Marriages are no longer recorded in a marriage register at the end of a ceremony and legal certificates are not presented on the day. See Registration and certificates for more information.


You must bring two witnesses with you for your ceremony. They should be over the age of 16 and able to understand English. They will be asked to sign at the end of the ceremony to confirm they have witnessed the marriage or civil partnership being formed.

Register Office staff are unable to act as witnesses for you.


If either of the couple do not speak and understand English you should bring someone to translate when you give notice and to your ceremony. This can be a family member or friend. The couple are not allowed to translate for each other.

If an interpreter is present at your ceremony they will need to sign as a witness.