Applying for a civil ceremony in the UK
March 18, 2013 1:55 PM   Subscribe

We're getting married in a civil ceremony in London, UK this autumn and I have a couple of questions about dealing with the registrar.

We're not getting married at a registry office but at another venue. The venue and date are pencilled in but before we go ahead with the booking, the venue has suggested that we make sure a registrar will be available for the date/time we would prefer. Apparently the registrars get booked up really quickly.

I've looked at the website for the registrar in question and it advises that it will be necessary to visit in person to 'give notice'. My question is, will it be possible to book a registrar for the wedding, even provisionally, and then visit later to give notice and do the rest of the checks/paperwork? Or is it impossible to line up a registrar until all these formalities have been completed? Visiting in person will be difficult for a couple of weeks, and I don't want to lose our venue slot (or be too late to book a registrar for the time we want).

Also, we are getting married in Islington, London, but live elsewhere (and not in the same area as each other). The website seems to suggest that giving notice has to be done in the area you live in, not the area you're getting married in. So do we give notice in each of our home districts, and then just book the registrar with Islington? It's very confusing!

I'll be calling the registrar tomorrow but just wondered if someone out there could advise on how this works, so that I'm better prepared for the call. Thanks.
posted by prune to Law & Government (4 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Hi, I live in Islington but got married in Camden last year!

Yes, you absolutely book them first, the giving notice bit really is just an old-fashioned formality. You have to give notice at least 3 weeks before you get married so you have plenty of time.

Yes, you give notice at your 'home' registry offices.

Good luck with the wedding planning and feel free to message me if you want recommendations for wedding suppliers in North London (our photographer was particularly awesome).
posted by Lotto at 2:05 PM on March 18, 2013

I'm going through this now. Just a warning that this whole thing is both easier and more complicated than it seems. Here's what I have so far:

When I called back in February to book the ceremony, they walked me through the process and charged me a £25 booking fee. This is in addition to the ACTUAL ceremony fee that is paid later. I'm having my ceremony at the registry office, but I would imagine the process is the same for a registrar who will travel to your venue.

For what it's worth, we wanted to get married on a Saturday afternoon in September, but there was nothing available after 11AM on any weekend. We had to push it back to October, so definitely book your ceremony as soon as.

The next week I received a letter with the date and time of the ceremony and some additional info about what documents we needed to bring. It also said that I had until the 15th of April to give notice. I can also confirm that you can give notice in the place where you live, but you'll have to inform them of the address where you are getting married. (at least, according to the info in letter I was sent)

Special caveat: Are you an EU citizen? Non-EU citizens must give notice at specially designated registrar districts. Leeds and Birmingham have the special designation, so pretty I'm sure there would be one in London if you need it. Ordinarily, we could have given notice where we live in Warwickshire, but we're doing it in Leeds because of my Foreign National status.

I've recently booked my appointment to give notice in Leeds. When I called two weeks ago to make the appointment, they had nothing available until the first week of April. I don't know what all Giving Notice entails, how long it takes, or why they would be so booked up, but there you go. I had to pay the Giving Notice Fee of £70.

The good news is that everyone I've spoken to has been very helpful and carefully walked me through everything. They took both payments over the phone. I agree it's all very confusing, but the people I spoke with seemed to know exactly what needed to be done and how to make a complicated process seem easier. Good luck!
posted by Eumachia L F at 3:56 PM on March 18, 2013

Yes, book the registrar for your ceremony provisionally now. Giving notice means that an actual notice of your intent to marry is put up in your local registry office so that people have the opportunity to object.
posted by plonkee at 1:57 AM on March 19, 2013

Ah thanks for your answers everyone, that was really helpful and reassuring. I spoke to the registrars today and they were very nice and I managed to book the slot I wanted. Super excited!
posted by prune at 12:29 PM on March 19, 2013 [1 favorite]

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