Legal requirements for getting married

Before you can marry in England or Wales, each party to the marriage has to arrange to begin the legal process.

Civil ceremony

If the marriage is to be a civil ceremony, or a religious ceremony in a church other than a Church of England or Church in Wales, you must give ‘legal notice of the marriage’.

Where one or both parties to the marriage is a non-UK or EEA national, and the marriage is in the Church in Wales or Church of England, the vicar will have to refer you to the register office to arrange to give notice of marriage.

You can give notice up to one year before the date of the marriage. This will begin the process that will eventually allow a registrar or other authorised person to register the details in their register after the marriage ceremony.

Religious ceremony

If the marriage is to be a religious ceremony in a Church of England or Church in Wales, the vicar, prior to the ceremony, will usually arrange for banns to be read or a common licence to be issued and then he will register the details in his own register after the ceremony.

Where one or both parties to the marriage is a non-UK or EEA national, and the marriage is in the Church in Wales or Church of England, the vicar will have to refer you to the register office to arrange to give notice of marriage.

If it is a religious ceremony in a building of any other religious denomination, you must give legal notice as described below.

Giving notice

When you have chosen the date and the venue for the wedding, you must arrange to give notice to the Superintendent Registrar of the district in which you live. If you and your partner live in different districts, each of you must give notice in your own district. You must have been resident in the district for at least seven days immediately prior to giving notice.

If you are not a UK or EEA national, you may not be able to give notice in your district of residence but the registrars will advise you on where you will need to do this.

If you live in Caerphilly county borough, the register office is at:

Penallta House
Tredomen Park
Ystrad Mynach
Hengoed
CF82 7PG

You will need to make an appointment to give notice of marriage during our opening hours. Please contact us to book an appointment.

It isn’t possible to give notice more than 12 months in advance of your wedding although it is possible for a provisional booking to be made, sometimes up to 3 years in advance of the date.

Documents that you will need to bring with you

When you make an appointment to give notice, the registrar will explain what documents you will need to bring such as passport, birth certificate, divorce papers and proof of residency. These documents are legally prescribed so often other documents will not be acceptable. You may not be able to give legal notice unless you can provide the required documents so this must be discussed with the Superintendent Registrar before you attend the register office.

There is a fee to pay for giving notice. Visit register office charges and fees for details.

Authority to marry

The purpose of giving notice is for the Superintendent Registrar to ensure you are lawfully free to marry and to complete the preliminary legal documentation of your marriage.

Once you have given notice, the details (not including the date and time of your ceremony) are on public display for 28 days. You cannot marry until the 28 days have passed. In some cases, this waiting period can be extended to 70 days. The registration officers will clearly explain the waiting period when you contact them.

Collecting your 'authority to marry' document

Following this legal waiting period, your ‘authority to marry’ will be issued in the district in which the marriage will take place. The registrars will advise you about how the authorities will be given to the appropriate person who will register your marriage.

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