Wedding Daze

The Wedding Countdown

Once you have decided when you would like to get married, the first step is to book the date of the service with the priest, minister, registrar or other authority. When the date is confirmed you can start to make serious arrangements.

CHURCH OF ENGLAND

You can be married in the Church of England or the Church in Wales if neither of you have been married before. It is your parish priest's decision whether to marry two people in church if either of you are divorced.

Generally couples marry in the home parish of one of the partners. If you would like to get married at a church outside your local parish, you will need to be on the church electoral role, and have attended public worship at that church 'regularly'.

Once you have met the vicar to discuss church fees, and he has learned more about you. he will arrange for the Banns to be read. The Banns are a public announcement of your intention to be married, and they need to be read out on any three Sundays prior to your wedding in the parish of both the bride and groom. If the Banns cannot be read then the vicar is still able to issue a common licence allowing you to be married in the parish. providing that either you or your partner have lived there for 15 days prior to obtaining the licence.

You will need to give your vicar as much notice as possible, a minimum of six weeks but preferably more, as there is every chance that your parish church will be busy with weddings All year round.

The fees, set nationally each year, cover the use of the church and the services of the priest. In addition, there will be fees for bell ringing, the organist, choir and hearing that will vary according to the parish church council.

For more information contact:

General Synod of the Church of England,
Church House,
Great Smith Street,
London SW1P 3NZ.

Church of Scotland,
Department of Communication,
21 George Street,
Edinburgh EH2 4YN.

If you are to be married in any other religion you should first see the head of your place of worship. He or she (will be able to advise you best on what you need to do. You will also be required to give notice of your intention to be married to the superintendent registrar of the district in which you intend to get married. You can do this by certificate or by licence:

BY CERTIFICATE

This is the most common form of notice and it requires that one of you has lived in the registration district for at least seven days prior to giving notice to the register office, and then there must be another 21 days before the marriage can take place. If you and your partner live in different districts you will need to give notice in both.

LICENCE OR 'SPECIAL LICENCE'

This requires that one of you has lived in the registration district for at least 15 days prior to giving notice. This is a more expensive option but it then allows a marriage to take place after only one clear day of giving notice. Be ready to provide certain documents to show the superintendent registrar. These may include a passport or some other form of identification. If either of you are divorced you will need to show a decree absolute of your divorce.

For more information contact:
Jewish Marriage Council,
23 Ravenshurst Avenue,
London NW4 4EL
(0181 203 6311)

Catholic Marriage Care,
Clitherow House,
Blythe Mews,
Blythe Road,
London W14 0NW
(0171 371 1341).

CIVIL CEREMONIES

You can get married in a register office providing you give notice by certificate or licence in the district where you wish to be married. If this is different to your local area you must register there as well.

You will have to book the register office or venue as far in advance as possible. A civil ceremony can be very short, perhaps only 15 minutes. It will require two witnesses to attend. There is a standard fee payable for the registrar and service.

For more information:

Registrar General for England and Wales,
ONS,
Smedley Hydro,
Trafalgar Road,
Birkdale
Southport PR8 2HH
(01704 569824)

General Registrar office for Scotland,
New Register House,
Edinburgh EH1 3YT
(0131 334 0380)

General Register for Guernsey,
The Greffe,
Royal Court House,
St. Peter Port,
Guernsey GY1 2PB
(01481 7252277)

Superintendent Registrar for Jersey,
State's Offices,
Royal Square,
St. Helier,
Jersey JE1 1DD
(01534 502000)

LICENSED VENUES

You can now get married in a wide and ever growing number of different venues: from castles to yacht clubs, beautiful hotels, piers and even football clubs. The total cost to cover the attendance of the superintendent Registrar and the service will vary according to the venue. The superintendent registrar will be able to provide current fees. If you have decided to be married at a licensed venue you will need to notify the registrar for that area, and if it is not your local registrar you will need to give notice to them too.

There are many licensed venues on this website as well as several books available which list licensed venues. Make a list of alternative venues and ring to check the availability for your intended date. When you have narrowed the list down to 1 few options, visit them.

Getting Married Abroad

More couples than ever before are deciding to get married abroad, either for a quieter or more intimate occasion, or as a popular option for second marriages. The good news is that, thanks to rapidly increasing demand, there are now a great many companies offering a wider choice of destinations, from the more popular Caribbean to South Africa. The tour operators will look after all of the detail of the ceremony and some also offer additional services such as a cake, Champagne, a photographer and entertainment if you wish.

Your tour operator should be able to advise you on all the legal requirements for getting married at your chosen destination, and will also advise you on what paperwork you will need to provide. According to the country in which you are marrying, you may be required to be there for a certain number of days before you can get married. It is therefore not uncommon to have a seven-day holiday. Followed by your wedding and then a honeymoon
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