New marriage legislation means that the way in which a marriage is registered in England and Wales changed on 4 May 2021. You will no longer sign a marriage register during the ceremony, instead you will sign a marriage schedule, or for Church of England marriages, a marriage document. This is a one-page document which contains the details of both people getting married which are needed to register the marriage.
Registering your marriage or civil partnership
All marriages and civil partnerships that take place in England or Wales are registered at the register office for the area where the marriage was solemnised or the civil partnership was formed. The details are recorded by the Registrar into the electronic register.
Certificates are only available after the event has been registered.
If the event occurred at a Register Office, on approved premises or a Registrar attended religious premises, the Registrar will retain the paperwork required for the registration.
If a marriage took place in a Church of England church, the marriage document produced by the clergy will need to be returned to the register office before the event can be registered. This must be done within twenty-one days of the marriage.
The marriage schedule will be provided by the Superintendent Registrar in the registration district of your marriage and will contain all the details required to complete the marriage registration. For a civil partnership formation the Civil Partnership Registrar in the registration district of your formation will provide the schedule.
Each person will still be required to give notice of marriage or civil partnership at their local register office and the ceremony will remain the same, it is only the way the marriage is registered that has changed.
If you are marrying in the Church of England or Church in Wales you will need to contact the Church in the parish where you intend to marry.
Applying for a certificate
Please apply for your marriage or civil partnership certificate after the marriage ceremony or civil partnership formation has taken place.
Important - If you are requesting a certificate for an event that took place more than three months ago you must apply through our main copy certificate process.
Where the marriage or civil partnership took place on religious premises, certificates cannot be issued until the marriage document or schedule has been delivered to the register office and the event has been registered onto the electronic register. The registration will be completed within seven days of receipt of the marriage document or schedule and any certificates requested can then be issued.