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.
What is “Giving Notice”?
It’s the legal declaration that you intend to marry. You will have a private appointment with the Registration Officer to give details of your wedding date and venue and details about yourself. The notice will then be publicly displayed in the Register Office for 28 days before permission to marry 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.
How do I book an appointment?
You may book online for an appointment at any of our Register Offices by clicking here. Alternatively, you can phone us for an appointment. Look at our contact page for the most convenient option. 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?
Giving notice costs £35 each. You will need to pay at the time of your appointment, and we accept cash, cheques or cards.
What should I do if I don’t live in Somerset?
You need to have lived for at least 7 days in the district where you give notice, but you don’t need to get married in that district. If you’re not a Somerset resident, you should give notice at your local Registration Office.
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 and enter these details on your notice form. This may apply if you’re planning to marry abroad. Check the legal requirements of your destination.
What if I’m not an EU or EEA citizen?
If either of you are not a citizen of the EU or an EEA country and wish to marry in the UK, you will both need to give notice at a Designated Register Office. A list can be found by following this link.
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?
If you have had a foreign divorce you’ll need to book your appointment by phone, not online. The appointment will be slightly longer and may have a different fee. Divorce documents vary from country to country and our registration officers will need to establish the correct procedure once they’ve seen your paperwork.
Do I need to give notice if I’m having a religious ceremony?
Church of England clergy are authorised Registrars so if you intend to marry in a C of E Church there is no need to give notice with us. Some churches may require residency if the church in which you intend to marry is not your usual place of worship.
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 each other.
Do I need to have chosen a venue?
Yes – your marriage must take place at the venue you have named in your notice of marriage. If you change venue, you will need to give notice and pay the fee again.