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Giving Notice of Marriage: Your FAQs - Answered


Nikita Thorne Guides for Brides
Nikita Thorne Updated:
20th of July 2023

Giving Notice is a very important part of the civil marriage and civil partnership process in the UK. In this guide, we will run through the most common questions we get from couples about this process, how to Give Notice and why it is necessary.

Please note, the process may vary slightly from county to county and depending on your circumstances or immigration status, so we do recommend speaking with your local Registration Office if you have any specific questions.

Your Giving Notice FAQs - Answered

Giving Notice is a key part of the process to ensure your civil wedding ceremony can go ahead and your marriage or civil partnership is legally binding. Giving Notice may sound daunting, but it’s actually a very straightforward process and your local registration service will be happy to guide you if you are unsure! Here are all your most common questions answered.

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Who needs to Give Notice of marriage or civil partnership?

The marrying couple needs to Give Notice of marriage. The meeting takes place between the two of you and a Superintendent Registrar.

Why do we need to Give Notice before we get married?

Giving Notice is an important part of the legal marriage process to ensure that your marriage or civil partnership is legally able to take place. The process is there to protect vulnerable individuals from being coerced into marriage and prevent sham or illegal marriages from taking place. So, it is a really important part of the legal process.

While this may sound scary, from personal experience, there really is nothing to worry about! It is a simple and easy process as long as you bring the correct documentation to the appointment and of course, that you are both free and consenting to marry each other

How much does it cost?

There is a statutory fee to Give Notice and this is £35 per person. If you are a foreign national and subject to the Home Office referral scheme, the fee will increase slightly to £47.

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There may also be additional fees depending on your circumstance, for example, if you have been divorced before outside of the UK, there will be an additional fee to check these documents. If you are unsure, contact your local registration office to understand what additional fees you may need to be aware of.

We recommend checking the government website or with your local registrar if you are unsure about any additional documentation or fees you may need to pay for.

How do we pay for our appointment?

This will vary from county to county, however, I was able to pay our Notice fees online as I booked the meeting. Some registration services may require you to be ready to pay on the day of the appointment.

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When do we need to Give Notice of marriage?

Your Notice of marriage appointment must happen at least 29 days before your marriage or civil partnership ceremony. So, if you intend to marry on the 30th of June, your Notice appointment must take place no later than the 1st of June. Our recommendation is to not leave it too late and to plan ahead as busier districts may require booking a bit in advance.

If you are a foreign national and subject to the Home Office referral scheme, your notice could take up to 70 days to complete. So you'll need to be able to account for this additional time.

You must get married within 1 year of the appointment taking place or you will need to go through the process again.

Can we Give Notice online instead of in person?

No, while the government considered moving Notice appointments online during the pandemic, this was not changed. You will need to attend an in person meeting with a Superintendent Registrar at your local registration office.

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What wedding plans will I need to make before Giving Notice?

You and your partner will need to have booked your venue and secured the ceremony with the relevant district, as this information is included in the documentation you sign during the appointment.

If circumstances change and your ceremony location moves to a different place, you’ll need to contact your registrar and you’ll likely need to go through the process again.

Where do I need to Give Notice of marriage?

You’ll need to make an appointment at your local registration office within your home county to Give Notice of marriage. There is a rule in place that you must have lived in that registration district for a minimum of 7 days prior to the appointment. However, from personal experience, I had to book my appointment about a month in advance due to availability, so this shouldn’t be too difficult to plan for, especially if you are organised.

My partner and I live in different counties, where do we Give Notice?

We spoke to Kathryn Oram from Cornwall Council to answer this question. She says "If you and your partner live in different counties, you must still attend the Registration Office in your district to give notice. In other words, you will need to go to different registration offices if you live in different counties. In this instance, you do not need to both attend the different notice appointments. You can give your different notices on different dates, but the “clock starts ticking” for the expiry date of your notice linked to the dates on the first notice."

The process is undertaken in your home county as it is more likely that people will know you in this county and can therefore object to the marriage if necessary.

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What happens at the Notice of Marriage appointment?

Essentially, you and your partner will attend a meeting with a registrar to ensure that you are free to marry and both consenting to the union. This will involve:

  • Confirming your identity (name, date of birth and nationality)
  • Confirming that you have the legal right to marry in the UK
  • Confirming that there is no legal impediment that prevents you from getting married. For example, you’ll need to confirm that you are not closely related to each other, that you are over the age of 18 and that you are not already married or in a civil partnership with another person, among some other things.

You’ll be interviewed together and separately by the registrar and you will need to bring the correct documentation to the appointment.

You will also need to individually sign a legal document confirming that you intend to marry each other or form a civil partnership and there is no legal reason preventing you from doing so.

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What questions are asked at the Notice of Marriage appointment?

The questions asked during the Notice of Marriage interview will vary based on your individual circumstances and depending on the county where you're giving notice. But don't worry, you and your partner will find it easy to answer these questions and you don't need to be nervous about this stage of the process at all!

What happens after the appointment?

Your Notice will be posted in your local registration district for 28 days. This is so objections can be raised if necessary. It is very rare for this to happen, but it is important to the process.

If you are a foreign national, then the notice period may be longer (70 days depending on your immigration status). We recommend being organised and checking with your registration service if you are unsure.

While each district may differ, when my partner and I went to our appointment, the registrar reassured us that in this district, the Notice isn’t posted on a big board for all to see our personal details (though it may sound like that is the case). Only partial details are available for viewing.

Districts will either display notices on a notice board / in a binder or via an electronic display, (not on the internet, website or intranet). But in all cases the information is available for the public to view during the hours the registration office is open, free of charge.

If an objection is raised, it has to be a legal objection and evidence will be required. Rest assured, making a false objection to marriage is a criminal offence.

What documents will I need to bring to the appointment?

The documents you’ll need to bring to your Notice of marriage or civil partnership appointment will depend on your circumstances. All documentation will need to be in their original format. You’ll also need to bring any translations if necessary.

The documentation you may need includes:

  • Proof of name, date of birth and nationality - e.g. a valid passport.
  • Proof of address - e.g. utility bill or driving license.
  • If you have been married before, you’ll need to bring evidence that you are not currently married, such as a Decree of Absolute following a divorce or a death certificate if you are widowed.
  • If you have changed your name, you’ll need to bring documentation related to that (i.e. change of name deed)
  • If you are a foreign national (including EU and EEA) you’ll have some additional documentation you need to bring.

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From the experts

An important point to remember is that if you are currently using a name which is not on any documents that you intend to bring as evidence, you will also need to bring with you additional paperwork showing a link between the name you are using and your name on the documents. For example – if you have reverted back to your maiden name after divorce/dissolution – you will need to bring your marriage/civil partnership certificate as well as your decree absolute, final order or equivalent documents following the divorce/dissolution.
Cornwall council logo
Kathryn Oram, Cornwall Council & Registration Service

Please note: You will be sent away if you do not have the correct documents with you - so it is always best to double check with your local registration service if you are unsure of the documents you need to bring to your appointment. They will be able to provide you with a list of documentation required and what is acceptable to bring.

We’re getting married in a church, do we need to Give Notice?

If you are marrying in the Church of England or Church of Wales you do not need to Give Notice unless one (or both) member of the marrying couple is a non-EEA national. In this instance, you’ll need to Give Notice.

For church weddings, Banns are read out to the congregation on three Sundays in the 3 months prior to the wedding taking place. This is the opportunity for individuals to object if necessary. The vicar will still need to check documentation to ensure the marriage is legally allowed to take place. Read the requirements here.

For all other religious marriage ceremonies, you will need to follow the procedure of Giving Notice at a registration office.

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How do we go about Giving Notice?

The process of giving Notice is really straightforward. Here’s how you do it.

1. Book your wedding venue and ceremony

As with many elements of the wedding planning process, you need to choose where it will all be happening before you can Give Notice (this may be at a registration office, town hall or a civil ceremony licensed venue). The location of your civil ceremony will be included on the document you sign at the Notice Meeting, so it is vital that you have this confirmed as well as the time your ceremony will be taking place prior to the meeting.

2. Make an appointment at your local registration office

Next, you’ll need to make an appointment for the Notice meeting with your local registrar. These tend to take place between 9am - 5pm on weekdays, so don’t be surprised if you need to find a suitable day when you are both off work to attend the appointment.

Remember, you’ll need to Give Notice a minimum of 29 days before the civil ceremony is due to take place.

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3. Ensure you have all the correct documents

You’ll need to attend the meeting with the Superintendent Registrar with all the documents required. So, give yourself time to ensure that you have everything you need, especially if you have misplaced some documents and need to order official copies.

4. Attend the appointment and Give Notice

Attend the appointment with the Superintendent Registrar and complete the process of Giving Notice. Arrive on time and with all the correct documents to ensure it is a smooth process.

Once the meeting is over, your Notice will be posted (available for public display) for 28 days (or 70 days depending on immigration status). This is the waiting period. This will allow for individuals to come forward if they have any legal objections to you and your partner getting married or forming a civil partnership.

As previously mentioned, this is very unlikely to happen but it is important to ensure vulnerable individuals are protected and illegal marriages do not take place.

5. Complete the process

After your 28/70 days Notice is complete and no objections have been received, you are free to go ahead with your wedding ceremony (yay!). You’ll be informed by the registration office that the process is complete.

Your marriage schedule (the legal document produced from the details you gave at your notice of marriage appointment) will automatically be issued in the district in which your marriage will take place.

It is always advisable to check with your registration office when giving your notice of marriage / civil partnership what happens after the “waiting period” to ensure that the legal document – the schedule – is with the right person for the day of your ceremony.

Kathryn says that if you are unsure of anything as you are going through this process, the best people to speak to are your local registration office: "Getting married or forming a civil partnership is one of the most special and exciting events of your life. Your local registration service is there to help, and the friendly, knowledgeable staff are available to make the process as easy as possible for you. Please contact your local office who will be able to guide you along the way. If you reside in Cornwall we have 11 registration offices across the county and you can make an appointment for any one of them to give your notice of marriage in."

Now you know what’s needed for the legal side of getting married, you’re ready to plan your day. Find venues perfect for your civil ceremony on the Guides for Brides Wedding Venue Finder.

Disclaimer: Guides for Brides is a wedding information platform and not a legal service. The article above is designed to be a simple guide to help couples know what to expect when giving notice and links to official pages where necessary. We always recommend checking official sources to ensure you have the correct information and documentation.

Nikita Thorne Guides for Brides

About the author


Nikita Thorne

Nikita is a wedding planning expert and newlywed having tied the knot in 2023. She is the host of Guides for Brides - The Wedding Podcast and regularly speaks at wedding industry conferences and national wedding shows to inform and inspire couples who are planning their big days. She keeps on top of the latest wedding trends in design and fashion and loves to see the new innovative ideas from wedding professionals across the country. If you need practical planning advice, Nikita has been through the entire wedding planning process, so is your best contact!

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