Skip to main content
Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council

Big plans, bright future

Our Lady and St Bede's Catholic Academy, Stockton will be closed on Tuesday 26 September 2017 whilst engineers repair a gas leak. Read more

Marriage and civil partnership ceremonies

bmds

Your marriage or civil partnership ceremony is very unique and personal to you. We want to do everything we can to ensure that you enjoy your ceremony.

We will offer guidance, suggestions and give you the opportunity to discuss your requirements before your memorable day. Please contact the Register Office for further information.

In order to get married or to register a civil partnership, couples must be over 18 (or provide evidence of parental/guardian consent if aged 16 or 17), not closely related to each other and be free to marry one another i.e. not in an existing marriage or civil partnership. We can offer information on the following:

  • Legal requirements for marriage and civil partnerships
  • Religious Marriages
  • Marriage (Same-Sex Couples) Act 2013

 

Legal requirements

If you wish to marry or form a civil partnership you must declare you are free legally and lawfully to do so, this is called giving 'Notice'. It is a legal requirement to give formal notice of intention to marry or form a civil partnership to the Superintendent Registrar in the district in which you live. This may or may not be the same district where the ceremony is to take place. If you live in different districts you must each give a separate notice to the Superintendent Registrar of your own district.

Giving notice means making a legal declaration that you are both free to marry each other and will require you to provide certain documents and pay a statutory fee. You may do this up to one year before the date of the ceremony and it must be done in person. If you are getting married at the Register Office, in an 'approved premise' or another religious building (except Church of England) you should give your notice of marriage within 12 months of the date of the wedding.

You will need to make an appointment at the Register Office and provide the following documentation:

(A fee for non-attendance of Notice of Intention to Marry/Form a Civil Partnership appointment may be made when a customer does not cancel/re-arrange the appointment.)

  • Valid British passport, and/or
  • Full Birth Certificate (if you were born after 1983 and do not hold a valid passport you will need to provide your full birth Certificate, along with your mother's Birth Certificate). Please note that if you hold a valid passport it is not an essential requirement to see your birth certificate.
  • Proof of current address e.g. Driving Licence, current council tax bill, bank statement dated within 1 month or a utility bill dated within 3 months of the appointment.
  • If you have previously been through any form of marriage or civil partnership and have now divorced we need to see the Decree Absolute/Dissolution Order with a County Court stamp.
  • If you have previously been married and your spouse has died we need to see a copy of the death certificate. If you were not the informant of the death we will also need to see a copy of the marriage certificate.
  • If you have changed your name by deed poll or statutory declaration we will need to see evidence of this.

The notice of marriage will be displayed the day following your appointment and will remain on display for 28 clear days prior to a ceremony taking place.

Anyone who knows of a legal reason to object to the proposed marriage can do so within this timescale.

The authority/schedule is valid for 12 months but is restricted to the venue for which it has been issued. If the authority expires before the ceremony takes place or you wish to change the venue then new notices will have to be given and another statutory fee paid.

If either or both of you live in Scotland or Northern Ireland and wish to get married in England or Wales please contact the contact the Register Office for further information and advice.  

The above also applies if one or both of you is not a British Citizen or EEA national and subject to immigration control.

For information on marriage and civil partnership fees, please see our table of fees and charges.

If you would like more information on where you can hold your ceremony in the Borough, please see our approved venues list. 

 

Non-Statutory Additional Celebratory Commemoration/Blessing

Couples sometimes ask if, following their legal civil marriage at an Approved Premise, they can have an additional celebration, commemoration or blessing of the parties’ choice? In order that there is no confusion around your marital status we have provided some guidance below:

• A civil ceremony commences with the registrar’s questioning of the parties and concludes with the departure of the registration officers.

• There needs to be a clear break between the legal civil marriage and any other celebratory type ceremony.

• The proceedings of any other ceremonial event must not be interlinked in any way with the civil marriage ceremony (i.e. they must not be seen as part of the same proceedings).

• The couple and their guests should understand that any other ceremony is not the formal marriage ceremony and does not have any legal standing.

• If taking place before a civil ceremony, the couple need to clearly understand and recognise that they are not legally married.

 

Religious marriages – Church of England

If you wish to be married in the Church of England, you should seek advice from the relevant clergy at the church. They will arrange for the Banns to be called, or a Common Licence to be issued. We would not expect to be involved with these marriages unless they ask you to contact the Register Office.

 

Same-sex marriages

The Marriage (Same-Sex Couples) Act 2013 obtained Royal Assent in July 2013. If you are a couple not already in a civil partnership and would like a marriage ceremony, we can now conduct and register your marriage. 

Should you require any further information please contact the Register Office.

 

Conversion from a Civil Partnership to Marriage

If you have registered a civil partnership ceremony in England and Wales you now have the opportunity to convert this partnership to a marriage with effect from 10 December 2014.

Conversions will not be available for civil partnerships which took place outside England and Wales (i.e Scotland, Northern Ireland or abroad).

For more information and relevant fees please contact the Register Office or read our Further Questions and Answer sheet.