Essential first steps

Giving notice

Both you and your partner are legally required to ‘give notice’ of your intent to marry. You need to book an appointment to give notice at your local Register Office. The earliest you can give notice is 12 months prior to the date of the marriage or civil partnership and you must give notice at least 30 days before the wedding.

You must give notice at the Register Office in the district where you have lived for seven full days immediately prior to you giving notice. You don’t have to attend the appointment as a couple, you could make two separate appointments, but you both have to give notice.

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Getting married abroad

If you wish to enter into a marriage or civil partnership abroad, you must follow the regulations of the country you want to get married in. You will also need to stay in the country for a specific length of time before the ceremony. Please contact the country's embassy for more information.

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Religious ceremonies

If you are planning to marry in a Church of England or Church of Wales, you must first discuss your marriage with the vicar. If he or she is able to marry you then they will advise you on the ceremony, the time scales and the necessary legal requirements including publishing Banns of the marriage, or for the issue of common licence. If your marriage is taking place in a religious building that isn't a Church of England or Wales, then you will need to give formal notice of marriage at your local Register Office once you have arranged your ceremony date.

Civil Partnerships

In 2013 the government implemented the Marriage (same sex couples) Act which has since enabled couples who had entered into a civil partnership to convert their civil partnership into a marriage. The conversion can take place in Wolverhampton, provided the civil partnership took place within England or Wales.

Once the civil partnership is converted to a marriage the civil partnership ends, and the couple are treated as having been married since the date that they originally entered into their civil partnership.

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Re-registering your children

When the parents of a child get married or enter a civil partnership, the birth should be re-registered to show that they are a child of the marriage. When a re-registration takes place, a new birth record is created replacing the previous one, and any future certificates will be issued from the new registration. If the natural mother is taking her new husband’s or wife's surname, then the child's surname can also be changed (provided they were originally given their mothers surname).

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