Getting Married or Registering a Civil Partnership

You can get married or have a civil partnership at a civil ceremony in an Approved Premise or Register Office.  Marriages can also take place in a church or other place of religious worship.

To marry or register a civil partnership by civil ceremony at a Register Office or other building approved for civil marriage/partnership, you should contact the Superintendent Registrar of the district where you wish to have the ceremony. In Southend, that is via the Register Office in the Civic Centre. You can do this by using our Online Provisional Booking forms.

You both also need to give formal notice to the Superintendent Registrar of the districts(s) where you live. Even if the ceremony is taking place in a different registration district to the one(s) that you and your partner live in, you need to register in the district where you actually live.

After giving notice, you must wait at least 28 days (although in some circumstances this could be increased to 70 days) before the ceremony can take place, but you can give notice as much as 12 months in advance. 

Religious Ceremonies

Church of England/Church in Wales: You will need to speak to the Vicar. Usually you can only marry in the Parish where you and/or your partner live. In regard to Same Sex Marriages in churches, new legislation came into place in 2014.

If the Vicar can marry you, they will plan for the Banns to be called on the three Sundays before the wedding day, or for a common licence to be issued. The marriage will also be registered by the Vicar, but you may now need to involve the local Register Office.

Other places of Religious Worship: You should first see the person in charge of marriages in the building. Usually, one or both of you will have to live in that registration district.

Both of you also need to give formal notice of marriage to the Register Officer of the district(s) where you live, and a Registration Officer may need to be booked.

Marriage Abroad

A Registration Officer may accept notice for a marriage to take place in a foreign country between a British person and a foreign person or another British person.

This is called a 'Certificate of No Impediment to marry' and should be taken/posted to the country where you plan to marry. The timeframe for these vary from country to country and as the certificate has no expiry date you must check how long the certificate is valid for with the embassy/consulate of that country.

Sometimes a record of the marriage can be made under the Foreign Marriage Order 1970, but you should contact the Registration Office for more details.

Page last updated: 31/10/2018