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Marriage legislation

Marriage and Civil Partnership (Minimum Age) Act 2022

From 27 February 2023 there is no provision in law for a person who is under the age of 18 years to marry or form a civil partnership in England and Wales. The change in law applies equally to civil and religious marriages. For further information, please contact your local register office.

Changes to how marriages are registered

The way that marriages are registered changed from 4 May 2021. The process moved away from the paper register and was replaced by a new marriage schedule document and electronic register.

What are the main changes?

  • A marriage schedule must be completed and signed by the couple, their witnesses and the Superintendent Registrar and Registrar (or Minister) officiating on the day. 
  • On the marriage schedule you will be able to record more than one person as mother/ father/ parent.
  • No certificates will be provided at the ceremony.  

How will the marriage be registered?

  • If you are getting married in a religious building without the presence of a Civil Registrar, the marriage schedule will need to be returned to the Local Registration Service within 21 days.
  • This will be done by the Civil Registrar if they are present at your religious ceremony.
  • Once the schedule has been received, your marriage will be registered within seven working days.

How will you receive your certificate?

  • Marriage certificates cost £11 each.
  • If you are getting married in a religious venue, please pre-order your certificate(s) online up to two weeks before your ceremony.
  • If you are due to get married or have a civil partnership at one of our registration offices or other civil venues, please contact the Customer Services Centre.
  • Please remember that marriage certificates cannot be issued until the marriage schedule has been received and registered, and a payment has been received.