Changes to Marriage Law from 4 May 2021

The changes in brief:

  • The marriage register will be replaced by a marriage document/schedule
  • Marriage certificates will no longer be issued on the ceremony day
  • All parents’ details can be included

Changes, introduced in England and Wales from 4 May 2021, that will affect how all marriages are registered

Marriage will remain a verbal contract, formed when you say the legal words to each other in the presence of your witnesses and the registrars/religious officiant. At the end of the ceremony you will no longer sign the marriage register.

Instead, you will sign a marriage document, or Schedule, which will be used to enter the information onto an electronic register.

The Marriage Schedule

The Marriage Schedule will contain the details of the couple getting married, name, date of birth, marital status, occupation, address and where the marriage took place.

You will be able to include your mother, father and/or parents’ details. This is recorded for family history purposes (up to now only fathers’ details have been included).

The Schedule will be prepared by the registrars in the district where you are marrying, taken from the notice of your intention to marry. The registrar will bring it with them to the marriage venue. You, your witnesses and the registrar will sign the schedule at the end of the wedding ceremony.

After the ceremony the registrar will record the information from the schedule onto the electronic register.

The marriage certificate

The marriage certificate can only be issued after the information has been entered onto the electronic register - a marriage certificate will not be issued to you on the day of your marriage but will be issued within 7 days of being uploaded to our system.

Obtaining your certificate

The marriage document will need to be delivered to the registrars office by the minister/vicar within 21 days of your ceremony to allow us to register the marriage and issue your marriage certificates.

Certificates can then be ordered through our Contact Centre on 020 8921 5015/6 and will be issued within 7 working days of us receiving the marriage document.

There may be some circumstances where those marrying in a Church of England church are required to give notice of intention to marry rather than having Banns called. Your minister will be able to advise you of this. In these circumstances you will need to follow the process for getting married in other religious buildings.

Getting married in a Church of England church

For couples getting married in a Church of England in Royal Greenwich, the minister at the church where your wedding will take place will provide a marriage document for you to sign at the end of the ceremony. This will contain the same information as the marriage schedule.

Getting married in other religious buildings

For couples getting married in a religious ceremony at a non-Church of England Church or other religious venue in Royal Greenwich, you will need to make arrangement with the council’s Registrar’s office for the delivery of the marriage schedule to your religious officiant (unless Registrars are booked to attend the ceremony).