Any two people can get married in the UK provided they are:
To be legal, a marriage in the UK must take place in a register office, a building approved for civil marriage, an Anglican church, or any other religious building registered for the solemnisation of marriage.
A civil marriage ceremony can take place in any register office in the country, or at any venue approved to hold a civil marriage.
In Scotland, a religious marriage can take place anywhere and may be solemnised by anyone authorised to do so under the Marriage (Scotland) Act 1977. Elsewhere in the UK, if you want to marry by religious ceremony other than an Anglican church, the religious building must usually be in the registration district in which you or your fiancé live. You can get married in any Anglican church as long as the vicar of the church of your choice agrees.
You can get married as long as you have both lived in a registration district for at least seven days immediately before giving notice of marriage (this requirement does not apply in Scotland). This includes couples travelling from overseas to marry in the UK.
You must give notice of your intention to marry at your local register office. If you plan to marry in a different area, contact the register office for the district in which the marriage is planned. If you or your spouse-to-be are subject to immigration control, you can only give notice of marriage at a designated register office.
In Scotland you must submit a marriage notice to the registrar, for the district in which your marriage is to take place, at least 15 days before your wedding day.
You need to show the superintendent registrar documentary evidence of your name, age, nationality (passport preferred) and address. You will also need:
On your wedding day you need to bring with you at least two other people to witness the marriage and sign the marriage register. A wedding ceremony can be customised in a number of ways but there are certain words which must be said to make the marriage legal. Once you are married, you will receive a marriage certificate.
Same sex couples who are aged at least 18 and who want to form a civil partnership in the UK must first give notice. This involves stating your intention to register a civil partnership to a registration authority. Evidence must be produced of identity and nationality and the ending of any former marriage or civil partnership. Once given, your notices are publicised by the registration authority for a period of 15 days. After that period has expired, a civil partnership can then be formed at a register office or approved premises. A partnership formation takes effect when the couple sign to register their partnership in the presence of two witnesses and a registration officer.
Civil partners have equal treatment to married couples in a wide range of legal matters, including:
There is no such thing as ‘common law marriage’ and couples who live together enjoy few of the same rights as married couples or civil partners. If you and your partner split up, for example:
If your partner dies and they have made a will you will have to pay inheritance tax if you inherit more than a certain amount. If they haven’t made a will:
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