Marriages & Partnerships
Your guide to getting married or forming a civil partnership in Somerset & North Somerset.
What is Giving Notice, and how does it happen? Here is our step by step guide to the legal requirements of forming your partnership or getting married. You don’t need to have planned your entire wedding from hen do to honeymoon before you get started, but you need to have all the legalities in place at least 28 days before your big day. This guide will tell you what you need to do, and when to do it.
Coronavirus Guidance: we are so sorry that our online booking system is not available at the moment. We are booking urgent notice appointments manually for now. If you have a ceremony booking within the next 3 months, please email us using the subject “Urgent Notice Appointment” and we will call you to arrange that. If your ceremony is further than 3 months away, please wait for now to allow us to deal with the most urgent cases first. See all the guidance below on what would normally happen, and we will get back to business as usual as soon as we can. Check our homepage or follow us on Facebook for the latest updates to our services.
What is “Giving Notice”?
It’s the legal declaration that you intend to marry or form a partnership. You will have a private appointment with the Registration Officer to give details of your ceremony date and venue and details about yourself. The notice will then be publicly displayed in the Register Office for 28 days before permission is granted.
When do I need to give notice?
You may give notice up to 1 year in advance, but it must be at least 28 days before your wedding or civil partnership.
How do I book an appointment?
We’re so sorry that we aren’t currently taking any bookings for giving notice during the current Coronavirus lockdown. Please check our home page or Facebook for the latest updates to our services. We hope to get back to business as usual as soon as possible.
You may book online for an appointment at any of our Register Offices by clicking here. (This link has been temporarily removed while our diaries are closed). If you’ve had a foreign divorce, you will need to phone us for an appointment and let us know, to ensure we allow enough time to deal with your paperwork.
Remember that you’ll need to have booked your ceremony date and have all the relevant paperwork in place before you can give notice.
What information do I need to provide?
You’ll need to let us know the date and location of your ceremony, so make sure that’s all booked first – both with the venue and with our registrars.
You will both need to provide original documents to confirm your name, age, nationality and marital status.
- a valid British/EEA passport
- if you do not have a valid passport and were born before 1 January 1983 then you must provide a full birth certificate showing parents’ details.
- if you do not have a valid passport and were born after 1 January 1983 you need to bring your own full birth certificate AND your mother’s valid passport or mother’s full birth certificate. You can bring your father’s full birth certificate if he was married to your mother at the time of your birth, or subsequently married her. The reason you need to provide this information is that if you were born before 1 January 1983 nationality was determined on the birth certificate, but if you were born after 1 January 1983 nationality is not proven
- proof of residency in the form of a full or provisional driving license, current year council tax bill, utility bill (dated within 3 months) or bank statement (dated within 1 month).
- proof of marital status – If you have been married before, you’ll need to provide a Decree Absolute, Death Certificate, Dissolution of Civil Partnership document as appropriate. If you are using a Death Certificate, you must be named as the spouse. If you have had a foreign divorce, you’ll need to phone us for an appointment at it may be more complicated to deal with. You do not need to prove that you have never been married.
- if you have changed your name by deed poll or statutory declaration, you must provide original documents.
How much does it cost?
What should I do if I don’t live in Somerset?
What should I do if I want to get married outside Somerset?
You should still give notice in Somerset, if this is where you normally live. You must book the time and location with the Registration Office in the area where you intend to marry or form your partnership and enter these details on your notice form. This may apply if you’re planning to form a union abroad. Check the legal requirements of your destination.
What if I’m not an EU or EEA citizen?
Further detailed guidance on visa requirements, fees and conditions can be found on the GOV.uk website.
What if I've had a divorce in another country?
Do I need to give notice if I’m having a religious ceremony?
Marriage ceremonies performed by other religious denominations may require you to give notice at a Registration Office. You may also need to book a Registrar to attend the wedding with a register. Please check specific requirements with your place of worship.
Do we both need to give notice?
Yes, you must both give notice to prove that you are both free and legally able to marry or form a partnership with each other.
Do I need to have chosen a venue?
Yes – your marriage or partnership must take place at the venue you have named in your notice. If you change venue, you will need to give notice and pay the fee again.