Legal Preliminaries to Marriage
Questions and Answers covering the legal requirements for Giving Notice and Getting Married
Before a marriage can take place, the law requires that each
person gives a notice of marriage, unless you are marrying in a
Church of England and ‘banns’ are being read.
The person giving notice must be able to prove that they have
resided in that district for the previous 7 clear days and also
that their partner has also for the seven clear days immediately
preceding, resided in a registration district. This is
normally found by checking to which Local Authority you
pay your council tax.
Q1. What does a residency of 7 clear days mean?
A1. 7 Clear days
The residency period is for a minimum seven full, consecutive
days immediately preceding the giving of your notice.
So effectively it is 9 days
| First Day
| Seventh Day
| Give Notice on or after
This is a legal requirement for both the
bride and the groom to give notice in person, a minimum of
15 clear days and a maximum of 12
months before, the date of your marriage. A fee of £35.00
each is payable.
You will be asked to produce evidence
Name and Surname
Proof of address
Q2. What does 15 clear days mean?
A2. 15 clear days
Once you have both given notice, you must wait
at least 15 clear statutory waiting days before the marriage can
During this time your notice is on public display to allow for
'Statutory waiting days' are the 15
consecutive days between the giving of the notice and the issue of
| Notice given & Displayed
| Authority Issued & free to Marry
The 18th May would be the first day
that the couple could legally get married.
If you both live in the same district, you
should both attend your local registration office preferably
together to give your notices of marriage. No one else can do this
The appointment takes approximately 30 minutes
If you live in different registration
districts then each of you will need to give notice separately in
your respective district, ideally within two weeks of each
Your notice is publicly displayed for 15 days,
after which the marriage authorities will be
Q3. What are Marriage Authorities?
A3. Marriage authorities
Your marriage authorities will be issued on
the due date. If you gave notice and you are being married at
a civil venue or Register Office in Northumberland, then the
Ceremony Co-ordination Team will retain them.
Outside of Northumberland, it is your
responsibility to make sure that your marriage authorities, when
due, are sent to the Superintendent Registrar in the district
that you are being married or the celebrant of the religious
premises if they carry out the egistrars duties i.e. the
people dealing with the legal parts of your wedding arrangements.
These should be delivered as soon as possible after the due
Your marriage authorities are vital and if
they are not received in the appropriate office your wedding may
not be able to go ahead as planned.
Q4. Where in Northumberland are they displayed?
A4. Where in Northumberland are they displayed?
Any marriage or civil partnership notice taken
in Northumberland is displayed at the Northumberland Register
Office in Morpeth Town Hall.
Am I allowed to marry?
If you’ve been married before, you have to
prove that you are now free to marry. You have to
produce original documents to prove that you are divorced or
Where do I live?
How do I find out which Registrar I have to go
to see? Normally a good check is to find out which authority
takes council tax payments for the property where you live.
This is very important when you live close to
the boundary of two authorities. Remember the Ceremony
Co-ordination Team will help you.
Q5. What is the correct documentation?
If you live outside of Northumberland
If either you or your partner, live outside
Northumberland but are getting married in Northumberland, you must
ensure that your marriage authorities are sent
The Ceremony Co-ordination Team
Alnwick Register Office
27, Fenkle Street
Foreign Nationals subject to immigration control
Notice of marriage, must be
given to a 'Designated'
Registration Office, for Northumberland the nearest office is
Newcastle Register Office.
You do not have to give notice in the
registration district in which you live, it can be at any of the
Designated Register Offices, BUT you both must attend for the
appointment at the same time and at the same place.
We have a statutory duty to report any
marriage we suspect has been arranged for the sole purpose of
evading statutory immigration controls.
Q6. What are Immigration Control rules?
A6. Immigration control
If you are planning to get married or form a
civil partnership while in the UK and are subject to immigration
control the following conditions will apply.
You will need to give notice to a registration
officer at a Designated Register Office having completed the
required 7 x 24 hour days' residence. The residence can be set up
anywhere in England and Wales, either in the same district or in
different districts. You can go to any Designated Office regardless
of where the residency / residencies were set up, however you do
have to attend together. Newcastle is the designated Register
Office that covers Northumberland although you may attend any other
Register Office to give notice.
For further information regarding immigration
status please telephone the Home Office on 0870 606 7766 or
visit the Home Office web site
Q7. Where are the Designated Register Offices?
Urgent weddings (Registrar General’s
In the event of someone who is terminally ill wishing to
an application can be made to the Registrar General outlining the
special circumstances of the couple with a view to reducing the
Ceremony Co-ordination Team Tel:
01665 602870 or
Tel: 0845 600 6400 option 4 or
Q8. What if I am unable to attend to give notice because I am
housebound or detained?
A ‘housebound’ person is one about whom a
statement has been made by a registered medical practitioner
stating that, due to illness or disability, they ought not to move
or be moved from their home, hospital or any other place that they
are at the time and that their illness or disability is likely to
immobilise them for at least 3 months from the date that the
statement is made.
A ‘detained’ person is one who is detained under the Mental
Health Act 1983 or who is in prison.