Changes to marriage registration

The Marriages, Civil Partnerships, Marriages and Deaths (Registration Etc.) Act 2019

The Act will modernise how marriages are registered for the first time since 1837, through issue of a marriage schedule system and registration in an electronic register. It will move away from the current paper register creating a more secure system for keeping marriage records, that is also more efficient and far simpler to administer and amend, if necessary, in the future. The electronic register will also allow for the names of parents of the couple (mother / father / parent) to be included in the marriage entry and on marriage certificates, instead of only their fathers’ names as is currently the case.

This will be implemented from 4th May 2021

What will change?

Ceremonies at Our Venues and Approved Marriage and Civil Partnership Venues

  • Couples will not be invited to sign a marriage register but will be invited to sign a marriage schedule which is an A4 document.
  • Couples will have the option to include up to 4x parents in the schedule and subsequently their marriage certificate i.e. Mother, Father, Step Mother and Stepfather.
  • Couples will not receive marriage certificates on the day of the marriage these will be processed in a specified timescale by the Registration Office in business hours for collecting/posting in line with  customer choice. 

Marriages in Religious Buildings (not Church of England)

  • From the date of implementation, if they have already collected their Certificates for Marriage (blue paperwork) couples will need to arrange to collect the marriage schedule for their ceremony to take place.   The Registration Team will contact couples in date order to make arrangements for this.
  • On the day of the ceremony, couples will not be invited to sign a marriage register but will be invited to sign a marriage schedule which is an A4 document.
  • Couples will have the option to include up to 4 x parents in the schedule and subsequently their marriage certificate i.e. Mother, Father, Step Mother and Stepfather.
  • Couples will not receive marriage certificates on the day of the marriage.
  • If you marry in a religious ceremony, the relevant person from the religious building will return the completed, signed Marriage Schedule to the register office in the area where your marriage took place within 21 days of your marriage. Once the completed, signed Marriage Schedule is received at the register office the details will be entered onto the electronic marriage register within the following 7 days; only then will a marriage certificate be available.

Church of England Marriages

  • On the day of the ceremony, couples will not be invited to sign a marriage register but will be invited to sign a marriage document which is an A4 document.
  • Couples will have the option to include up to 4x parents in the schedule and subsequently their marriage certificate i.e. Mother, Father, Step Mother and Stepfather.
  • Couples will not receive marriage certificates on the day of the marriage.
  • If you marry in a religious ceremony, the relevant person from the religious building will return the completed, signed Marriage Schedule to the register office in the area where your marriage took place within 21 days of your marriage. Once the completed, signed Marriage Schedule is received at the register office the details will be entered onto the electronic marriage register within the following 7 days; only then will a marriage certificate be available.

Information for places of worship

The General Register Office is publishing information and training for places of worship and the Clergy. GRO also publishes Authorised Person newsletters - GOV.UK and a GRO leaflet for the Clergy (PDF 267KB).

From 4 May 2021 places of worship will need to return their Marriage Register to the register office. We will contact places of worship in Redbridge to arrange the return of registers and certificates of marriage to ensure this is completed correctly and efficiently.

Marriage of British Subjects Facilities Acts (BSFA)

There will no longer be any provision to give notice to marry in countries that were formerly covered by these acts and therefore transitional arrangements will apply to couples who have already  given notice to marry here or in one of the relevant countries after the implementation date. 

For BSFA notices given in advance of the implementation date,  for a marriage in one the countries covered by these acts an Authority may still issue their certificate, subject to the usual caveats about marrying in these countries.  On or after the implementation date, couples will need to speak to the High Commissions of the countries concerned for further advice. 

For BSFA notices given abroad for marriages in England and Wales then both parties will need to give notice under the Marriage Schedule System, most likely at a Designated Register Office and may in some instances need to apply for a waiver.

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