Legal formalities around getting married

If you are marrying in the Church of England or Church in Wales

Once the vicar has agreed to marry you he/she will deal with all the legal formalities involved and arrange for banns to be called or for a common licence to be issued.   

If you are marrying in any other religious building, or a register office or approved premises

You must each give notice of ceremony and, no matter where you intend to be married, the notices of ceremony must be given at the register office(s) for the district(s) where you live.

Please note that most Superintendent Registrars will operate an appointment system for the giving of notice. If you are giving notice of ceremony in Barnsley, please contact us to arrange this.  

Your notice of ceremony is a formal, legal statement about your intention to marry.

Each of you must give notice of ceremony in person; no-one else can do this for you.

Your notices of ceremony must be given at the register office for the district in England or Wales where you have lived for at least the previous seven days. (If one, or both, of you is not usually resident in England or Wales please ask the Superintendent Registrar for further advice about when and where to give notice of ceremony.) It doesn't matter if you move address once you have given notice of ceremony.

Once you have given notice of ceremony you must wait at least 28 days before your ceremony can take place.  In extreme circumstances you can apply for this time to be reduced and consideration will be given as to whether this can be granted.

A fee for this will apply. 

A notice of ceremony is valid for twelve months, so you cannot give your notice more than twelve months in advance of the date that you are due to marry.

If you live in the same district, the Superintendent Registrar at your local register office will take both notices, one from each of you. You should both attend together to give your notices of ceremony.

If you live in separate districts, each of you will have to give notice at your own local register office. You are asked to give information about yourself and the person you intend to marry as well as details of where the ceremony is to take place.

Once you have given your notice of ceremony, it will be displayed on a public notice board in the register office for fifteen clear days. This is to allow any member of the public who knows of a legal reason why the ceremony should not take place to notify the Superintendent Registrar.

If everything is in order, at the end of the fifteen day waiting period the Superintendent Registrar will be able to issue the ceremony authority.    

The ceremony authority is the legal document that confirms that the ceremony can go ahead.

If you are marrying/forming a civil partnership at your local register office or an approved premises within the district where you normally reside, the ceremony authority will be issued automatically on the day of the ceremony.

If you are marrying at a religious building, or outside the district where you normally reside, you will need to collect the ceremony authority from the register office where you gave notice of ceremony and deliver it to the appropriate person dealing with your ceremony. The Superintendent Registrar will advise you about this at the time you give your notice of ceremony.