What does giving Notice of Marriage mean?

Anyone who wishes to married or form a civil partnership in England or Wales has to give a Notice of Marriage. This is a legal declaration and requires an appointment at The Register Office.

The only exception to this is if the ceremony is a Church of England or Church of Wales ceremony between two EEA or Swiss nationals, in which case church ‘banns’ are sufficient.

When and how early do I give notice?

The legal minimum period of notice is 29 days but it is never advisable to leave it as late as this. A Notice of Marriage can be given up to 12 months in advance to the date of your ceremony.

You must give at least 28 clear days’ notice from the date of your ceremony.

**Where a foreign national is involved, you may come under the Home Office Referral Scheme and if so, please note that the waiting period may be extended from 28 days’ notice to 70 clear days.


If someone has been divorced in another country it may be necessary to refer the details to the General Register Office – sometimes this causes delays, such that the notice period of 28 days passes but we must still wait for the divorce to be cleared before the ceremony can take place.

What if my partner lives in a different district?

If you and your partner live in different registration districts, each of you must give notice separately in your own district, ideally on the same day or within a few days of each other.

It is helpful if the person living in the district where the ceremony is to take place, gives their notice first.

Do I have to live somewhere for a certain amount of time before I'm classed as a resident?

Yes. The minimum period for living in a district before being able to give notice is 7 clear days.

If you are making special arrangements to become resident in a district for the minimum period because you usually live or work abroad for example, you can’t count the day you arrive in the district as a day of residence and you must give notice on the day immediately following a ‘qualifying period’ of residence. You must be able to produce documentary evidence that you have been resident for at least the minimum qualifying period.

What documentation do I need to provide to give notice?

1 x Proof of identification and nationality for each person.

• A valid full passport (or valid UK-issued travel document or biometric immigration document).
• And either a Valid Driving License or Birth Certificate.
If you believe yourself to be British and a Passport is not available, a birth certificate must be produced with extra ID in the form of a Driving License.
*However, if you were born after the 31st December 1982 and do not hold a British Passport you will need to produce your full birth certificate for nationality purposes.( if born in the UK between 1983 and July 2006, your full British birth certificate showing parent’s names’ plus your mother’s UK birth certificate).
*If you are not British and do not hold a current Passport or an ID card, please contact us for advice.

1 x Proof of Residential Address (from below)

• An original utility bill (not self-printed) dated no more than 3 months before the date on which notice of marriage is given (e.g. gas / electric / water / landline telephone / cable / broadband but not a mobile phone bill);
• An original bank or building society statement (not self-printed) or passbook dated no more than one month before the date on which notice of marriage is given;
• An original council tax statement (not self-printed) dated for the current year which notice of marriage is given:
• An original mortgage statement (not self-printed) dated for the current year which notice of marriage is given:
• An original current residential tenancy agreement (not self-printed)
• Valid United Kingdom driving licence (only if not being used for ID).

If you don’t live permanently in UK but are setting up residency for at least 7 days especially to give notice, you require the Council Tax Statement from the owner of the property plus a signed and dated letter from the owner or proprietor of the property where you are staying stating how long you have been staying at their property for and states their name and address.


What if I have been married before?

Proof that any former marriage or civil partnership has ended

• A court-stamped Decree Absolute / Dissolution or Final Order.

If your divorce document records your previous married surname but you have now reverted to maiden name and wish to re-marry using only the maiden or other surname, please also bring a linking document such as the previous marriage certificate. If your passport shows married name, then this will be included on the marriage licence and normally also the marriage certificates for your upcoming ceremony as you are relying on this as proof of current usage of name at time of notice.

• Death certificate of your former partner. Any widows, widowers or surviving civil partners that are not mentioned on the death certificate as the partner of their previous spouse must also bring their former marriage or civil partnership certificate

If any document was issued in a foreign language we will need a translated document as well as the original. The translation can be effected by anyone other than the couple, as long as they are able to provide a full translation (including of any stamps on the document), certify that it is a true and accurate translation of the original document, and provide their name and address.