Legal requirements

Quill feather pen used to sign documents

How do we go about getting married?

Congratulations on taking your first steps towards marriage or civil partnership in Sutton.

Please ensure you have read the information below before booking your ceremony or notice of marriage / civil partnership appointment.  

What is a notice of marriage?

A notice of marriage is a legal declaration which must be given individually by each of you in person.

The notice of marriage is venue specific and valid for 12 months from the date of the notice appointment, so before booking an appointment you need to have decided where and when you would like to get married and have made a provisional booking with the venue or local registration service.

If after giving notice you change the ceremony venue or the date is moved beyond 12 months from the date of your appointment, you must give notice again.  The notice fee (per person) is £35.00 or £47.00 depending on your immigration status see ‘where and when can we give notice’ below for more information.

Please note:  You need to ensure that you are able to complete the legal notice requirements prior to booking your marriage or civil partnership ceremony, ie:

  • you are free lawfully to marry,

  • you have all of the relevant original and valid documentation to hand in order to give notice.  

If your ceremony cannot proceed due to outstanding legal paperwork then your fees would be non-refundable.

After my notice appointment when can I get married?

Your notice must be displayed publicly for 28 clear days before a marriage authority can be issued.

In some instances, a referral to the Home Office may be made, for example if you or your partner:

  • are from outside of the European Economic Area (EEA) or Switzerland

  • have limited or no immigration status in the UK

  • cannot produce enough evidence

If a referral is made the Home Office may increase the legal wait period from 28 days to 70 clear days before marriage authorities can be issued.  The registrar will inform you during the notice appointment if a referral is being made. A fee is chargeable for this which will be taken at the appointment.   

Please do ensure that you plan ahead as a legal marriage or civil partnership cannot take place if the marriage authorities are not issued.

Where and when can we give notice?

The requirements are different depending on your nationality.  Please read the following information carefully.

If you are a British citizen or an EEA national you must each give notice of marriage or civil partnership at the Register Office in the district where you live.

You must both have lived in the district for at least eight days immediately before you give notice.  

If one or both of you are non EEA nationals then you must have lived in a district of England and Wales for the eight days immediately before giving notice and both parties must attend the appointment together at a Designated Register Office.

What documents do we need to take our notice appointment?

The documents required are prescribed by law and the requirements are slightly different depending on your nationality; please check the details below to ensure you bring the correct documentation as if anything is missing, expired or a photocopy, we won’t be able to take your notice and you will need to book a new appointment.

Please select the option below depending on your nationality for details of the documents required for a notice appointment:

We are both either British citizens or EEA nationals

One or both of us are non-EEA nationals - please contact a designated Register Office for further information

If you have been previously married please note you must bring your decree absolute to your notice of marriage appointment. A decree absolute will contain one of the following:

  • An original seal of the Principal Registry in London or the district registry or designated county court at which the decree or dissolution was granted.
  • An electronic image of the single family court seal on final decree absolute/orders issued on the dissolution of a marriage or civil partnership issued by the Family Courts in England and Wales.

This has been in place since 27 April 2015. A digital decree absolute for those who apply to the HMCT Service Centre, where the process has been managed end to end digitally.

Please note that whilst a decree may be issued digitally there is still a requirement for a paper version, not the digital image on a mobile phone or tablet etc. to be presented to the Superintendent Registrar

What happens after we’ve given notice?

Once you have successfully given notice and:

  • the legal wait period has passed,

  • any investigations by the Home Office have been carried out (if appropriate)

  • any foreign divorce documentation has been cleared by the General Register Office (if applicable)

Then your authorities to marry or form a civil partnership will be issued which means that your legal ceremony can take place.

However, as mentioned above, if you change your venue or the date of your ceremony beyond 12 months from the date of your notice appointment, you will need to make another appointment, pay the fee/s and give your notice/s again.

How do we make a notice appointment?

Notice of marriage can be booked by calling 02087706790

Book a notice of marriage

Book a notice of civil partnership

Please ensure you book the correct appointment type.

  • Notice of marriage – opposite sex or same sex couples

  • Notice of civil partnership – same sex couples only