If you’re wondering what the quickest way to get married in the UK is, then you’ve landed in the right place!
Months of planning along with a big budget to splurge on 24 hour experience is not for everyone! If you are leaning towards a quick wedding and wondering how to get married in the UK then here are some answers and guidelines that may help you.
You require around 30 days to legally get married in the UK. We’ll cover the documentation you need along with the quickest and cheapest way to plan your wedding.
You might even want to consider eloping, take a look at my ultimate guide to eloping in London over here.
How quickly can you get married in the UK?
Here is the law involved to make sure you have applied for the appropriate forms where necessary to have a quick wedding:
- You and your partner must give notice of marriage in your local Register Office, whether or not you wish to marry in that district. If you and your partner live in different places, you’ll both have to go to your own local Register Office to give notice.
- In England, 28 days notice must be given to the Register Office before the marriage can take place. You must get married within 12 months of giving notice. Both partners must be resident for seven days in England before the notice is given. Notice must state where the marriage is to take place and there is a fee involved to give notice.
- If one of the partners has been issued with a gender recognition certificate and was previously the civil partner of the person who they wish to marry, there is no requirement for the 28 day notice period. In this case, notice of the marriage and the marriage itself can happen on the same day.
- The UK permits opposite-sex couples to marry in a civil or religious ceremony only.
- Same-sex couples can marry in a civil ceremony too, but can only get married in a religious ceremony if the religious organization has agreed to marry same-sex couples. Unfortunately, same-sex couples cannot marry in the Church of England or the Church in Wales for the time being.
- Same-sex couples who marry abroad under foreign law are recognised as being married in England and Wales.
- Same-sex couples can find out more about their marriage requirements over here.
- Legally you are required to both be over the age of 16 and of course, neither of you should be bound by another marriage.
- If you were in a civil partnership which has now been dissolved, that is permitted.
- The marriage must be conducted by a registered officiant.
How many witnesses do you need to get married in the UK?
All marriages must be entered in the marriage register and signed by both parties, two witnesses, the person who conducted the ceremony and, if that person is not authorised to register marriages, the person who is registering the marriage.
Getting married in the UK must take place on government-approved premises:
- a Register Office
- premises approved by the local authority such as a hotel
- a church of the Church of England, Church in Wales
- a synagogue or any other private place if both partners are Jewish
- a Meeting House if one or both partners are either members of the Society of Friends (Quakers) or are associated with the Society by attending meetings
- any registered religious building (England and Wales only)
- the home of one of the partners if the partner is housebound or detained, for example, in prison
- a place where one partner is seriously ill and not expected to recover, for example, in hospital
- a licensed naval, military or air force chapel
Here is the official government list of approved premises in the UK.
What documentation do I need to get married quickly?
To speed up the process, make sure you have all the documentation you need ahead of time.
Documentation to bring along with you includes:
- evidence of name and address
- evidence of date of birth
- if one partner has been married before or in a civil partnership, documentary evidence that the marriage or civil partnership has ended, for example, a death certificate or decree absolute. Uncertified photocopies are not accepted. A certified copy of a decree absolute may be obtained from the court which decided the divorce. This can take about a week
- evidence of nationality
A multitude of documents can be used as evidence to support the information required, however, a passport or travel document is usually sufficient. It’s a good idea to contact the register office where you’re getting married to confirm the scope of documentation you need. You can find the official list of register offices in the UK here.
If you or your partner is not a citizen of a European Economic Area country, there will be additional documentation required. You can take a look at the government requirements and guidelines here.
Urgent marriages and civil partnerships
If you need to get married urgently due to a serious illness, there are applications to waiver the 28 notice period. You can find more information on that here. There is a risk assessment involved so this option is only viable for sensitive cases.
Tips to have a quick wedding in the UK
Although the 28-70 day notice period is required, there’s still a lot to plan in a month and time will most probably fly past. It always does when you’re planning a wedding, no matter how small it is! To make sure you can get you and your partner wedding-ready in a month, here are some tips.
- Decide on your date and where you’re getting ready so you can head over to the register office with all your details and documentation ASAP. Getting to the register office is your top priority so that you don’t delay the notice period.
- Create a budget plan so that you don’t make any impulsive time-pressed decisions that you’ll regret later.
Start planning your ceremony and how much effort you would like to put into it. A month is enough time to still make your ceremony purposeful and meaningful.
I have created a guidebook to help engaged couples work through their intention for their marriage and wedding. This helps you align during the planning process and connect deeper with each other. It also assists you with ensuring your wedding day feels personal and authentic to who you are as a couple. You can download this printable freebie here.
You may want to consider eloping to keep things simple but still fun!
- Alternatively, you could plan a registry office wedding which is also quick and effortless requiring minimal stress. You can access my complete guide to registry office weddings here.
- Once you have decided on your ceremony, get in touch with wedding vendors. If you need a photographer, check their availability. If you’re purchasing wedding attire in boutiques or online, sort it out sooner rather than later.
- Have a wedding notebook with your to-do-list and all the info you need. This helps you stay on top of things and allows you to make swift decisions when needed.
- Always remind yourself of why you’re getting married! Stay grounded in the love of your relationship so you don’t get carried away by any challenges that may arise.
If you’re still thinking of incorporating a venue to your wedding, you can take a look at 75 venues I love over here.