Changes to marriage law
Changes to marriage law from May 4 2021
- The marriage register will be replaced by a marriage document or schedule
- Marriage certificates will no longer be issued immediately after the marriage ceremony: they will be issued by the register office in the district where the marriage took place, after the marriage has been entered onto the electronic register
- As well as father’s details being included on the marriage certificate, couples can now include mother’s details, and step-parent or other parent details.
Changes will be introduced in England and Wales from 4 May 2021, that affect how all marriages are registered. Marriage will remain a verbal contract, formed when you say the legal words to each other in the presence of your witnesses and the registrars or religious officiant. At the end of the ceremony you will no longer sign the marriage register; instead you will sign a marriage document or schedule, which will be used to enter the information onto an electronic register. Only after this, can a marriage certificate be issued to you
The marriage document or schedule will contain the details of the couple getting married – their names; dates of birth; marital status; occupation; and address; along with where and when the marriage takes place. You will also be able to include your mother, father and / or parent's details as well. This is recorded for family history purposes, and up until now only father's details have been included. The schedule will be prepared by the registrars in the district where you are marrying, and the information taken from the notice of your intention to marry. If you are marrying in a Church of England church, banns will still be called, and clergy will prepare a marriage document from that information. After the ceremony, the registrar will record the information from the schedule onto the electronic register.
Civil marriage in a register office or approved marriage venue.
The marriage certificate can only be issued after the information has been entered onto the electronic register. A marriage certificate will no longer be issued to you on the day of your marriage but will be issued and sent to you in the post, within 15 working days of the date of registration of your marriage in the electronic register. The certificate can be sent to an address of your choice.
Church of England (CoE) marriage
For couples getting married in a Church of England church in Bromley, the vicar at the church where your marriage will take place will prepare a marriage document for you to sign at the end of the ceremony. This will contain the same information as a marriage schedule.
A marriage certificate will not be issued to you on the day of your marriage. It is the responsibility of your vicar to ensure that this marriage document is delivered to us at the register office within 21 days of your ceremony taking place, to allow us to register the marriage. We will register your marriage within 7 days of receipt of the schedule. Certificates can be ordered online and will be issued within 15 working days of receipt of your order. If you have ordered certificates prior to the schedule being returned to us, certificates will be issued within 15 working days of the registration of your marriage.
There may be some circumstances where those marrying in a Church of England church are required to give notice of intention to marry, rather than having banns called. Your vicar will be able to advise you of this. In these circumstances you will need to follow the process for getting married in another religious building. (See religious marriage (non CoE).
Religious marriage (non CoE)
For those couples getting married in a religious ceremony at a non CoE church or other religious venue in Bromley, you will need to make arrangements with us for the collection of the marriage schedule which must be delivered to your religious officiant. If a registrar has been booked to attend your ceremony, the registrar will bring the schedule with them on the day. A marriage certificate will not be issued to you on the day of your marriage. It is the responsibility of your religious officiant to return the schedule to us at the register office within 21 days of your ceremony taking place to allow us to register the marriage. We will register your marriage within 7 days of receipt of the schedule. Certificates can be ordered online and will be issued within 15 working days of receipt of your order. If you have ordered certificates prior to the schedule being returned to us, certificates will be issued within 15 working days of the registration of your marriage
Address for return of marriage schedule or document
Please ask your vicar or religious officiant to email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to arrange an appointment for the return of your marriage document.