Changes to the marriage registration process - May 2021

The way marriages are registered in England and Wales changed on the 4 May 2021.

The Marriages, Civil Partnerships, Births and Deaths (Registration Etc.) Act 2019 came into force on 4 May and 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.

In line with the Act, we have moved away from the paper register to an electronic 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.

A Marriage Schedule document will now be required to complete a legal marriage and will be signed by the couple and their witnesses at the ceremony. The marriage will then be registered in the electronic register by the Registration Service, on receipt of the Marriage Schedule following the ceremony.


Marriages at our register offices or licensed venue

  • You will not be invited to sign a marriage register, but will be invited to sign the Marriage Schedule.
  • You will have the option to include up to four parents (for example your mother, father, parent or step-parent) in the Schedule and subsequently on your marriage certificate.
  • You will not receive marriage certificates on the day of your marriage, instead these will be sent after your ceremony by post, within 7 working days of the ceremony.

Marriages in religious buildings (not Church of England)

  • On the day of the ceremony, you will not be invited to sign a marriage register, but will be invited to sign a Marriage Schedule.
  • You will have the option to include up to four parents (for example your mother, father, parent or step-parent) in the Schedule and subsequently on your marriage certificate.
  • You will not receive marriage certificates on the day of your marriage.
  • You must return the signed Schedule to the register office in the district where your marriage took place within 21 days. The Registration Service will register your marriage within 7 working days of receiving the Schedule.
  • You can order your marriage certificates online once your Marriage Schedule has been delivered to the local register office.

Church of England marriages

  • On the day of the ceremony, you will not be invited to sign a marriage register, but will be invited to sign a Marriage Document.
  • You will have the option to include up to four parents (or example your mother, father, parent or step-parent) in the Marriage Document and subsequently on your marriage certificate.
  • You will not receive marriage certificates on the day of your marriage.
  • You must return your signed marriage document to the register office in the district where your marriage took place within 21 days. The Registration Service will register your marriage within 7 working days of receiving the Schedule.
  • You can order your marriage certificates online once your Marriage Schedule has been delivered to the local register office.

Summary of the marriage registration process

Marriages at a register office or licensed venue

  1. Give Notice of marriage at you local register office.
  2. You Marriage Schedule will be issued by our registrar, who will bring it with them to your ceremony.
  3. You will sign your Marriage Schedule at your ceremony and it will be kept by the registrar for electronic registration.
  4. Your marriage certificates ordered at the time of booking your ceremony, will be issued and sent to you within seven working days of your ceremony.

Marriages in religious buildings (not Church of England)

  1. Give Notice of marriage at you local register office.
  2. You Marriage Schedule will be issued by our registrar and posted to you for delivery to the Church.
  3. You will sign your Marriage Schedule at your ceremony and your religious officiant will return to the local register office for electronic registration.
  4. Your can order your marriage certificates online, once your Marriage Schedule has been delivered to the local register office.

Church of England marriages

  1. Calling of the Banns at your Church.
  2. You Marriage Document will be issued by the church.
  3. You will sign your Marriage Document at your ceremony and your religious officiant will return the Marriage Document to the local register office for electronic registration.
  4. Your can order your marriage certificates online, once your Marriage Document has been delivered to your local register office.