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Preparing for marriage – legal fees and documents

Tags: wedding, marriage, legal

If TV shows and movies are to be believed, in order to get married in a church or registry office you simply turn up with your partner on your arm, say ‘I Do’ and walk out the door as husband and wife.

What they don’t show you (probably because it won’t make very good viewing) is the paperwork and fees required by law to make your marriage official.

If you and your partner are getting married or having a civil ceremony or partnership in England or Wales, here is a list of legal documents and fees you will need to prepare.

Legal requirements for getting married in a church

To get married in the Church of England, you will need the following:

  • You will need to pay a legal fee of £440 for weddings taking place in 2013, but this price may vary depending on your circumstances. You can view a breakdown of the legal fees on the Church of England website.
  • Most Church of England marriages require banns to be published before the wedding ceremony. Banns are an announcement made in church that state your intention to marry, and provide a chance for anyone to put forward a reason why the marriage may not lawfully take place. They must be read out in church for three Sundays during the three months prior to the wedding.
  • You will need to have at least 2 witnesses at the ceremony. There is no minimum age for witnesses, however if you’re thinking of having a witness below the age of 18, you should ask your Vicar for further advice.
  • You must register your marriage. The cost of registering should be covered in the legal payment you have made to the church.

If you want to have a religious ceremony, be it Catholic, Muslim etc, you will need to check with your local place of worship to find out what specific requirements they may have.

Legal requirements for civil ceremonies or civil partnerships in a register office

  • You will need to take proof of your name, age and nationality such as your passport, driving license or birth certificate. You will need at least 2 of these documents.
  • The registrar will need a recently dated document with your address on it such as an electricity bill or bank statement.
  • Each of you will need to pay a £35 fee.
  • The marriage will need to be officially registered. To register, there is an additional fee of £45, but this may cost more depending on the venue.
  • You will also need a marriage certificate to prove your marital status – this will cost £4.

Please note that there are different rules and regulations when marrying in Scotland and Northern Ireland. To find out more visit the UK government website.

For more help and advice on how to prepare for marriage, read our blog.


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  • User-anonymous Anonymous Flag

    September is quite a way off...Why not write to the boy you love in the USA and tell him about the situation you find yourself in. You do not say what age you are and I wonder if you are quite young since your parents are arranging a marriage for you. Is it possible for you to write a letter to your parents as well, telling them how unhappy you are about the wedding they are arranging. Doing it in a letter will allow them time to read it and reflect on it before giving answer. at the least it may help them to see that it is better to forget the idea of the marriage in September...even if they still disapprove of your American boyfriend.

    Mon 3, Jun 2013 at 6:06pm
  • User-anonymous Anonymous Flag

    please guys,help me,I am armenian and I love boy from USA,really love,but my parents against it and they want me to marry armenian boy whom I don't love,after long discussions they made me to tell my american guy that I am not sure if I love him/bit in real I love him so so much/ I don't know what to do,my love cnt come to Armenia untill November,and my parents are going to marry me in September,I can't get visa to America....and Im lost,I don't know what to do,my american boy doesnt believe anymore that I love him/he has the right,cause my behavior/ and now I dont know what to do,please help me

    Mon 3, Jun 2013 at 12:04pm
  • User-anonymous Anonymous Flag

    To get married in my own culture and religion - first you need to

    1. be sure its what you want
    2. find the courage to tell your dad
    3. find the courage to tell your aunties and grannies
    4. find out from your dad how they are expected to knock door
    5. he has to tell his family
    6. he and you have to answer the are your sure questions and village square things going down
    7. his family elders have to knock door, easy if you found out and told him where they got to goo knock

    (knocking door is a practice of approachiign future bride family home/elders of family home uninvited to ask for an audience)

    8. usually after knocking door the reply comes by hand emmisary with lettter saying when they can come back to explain what the want

    9. the mans relatives come back on date and tiem specified with letter and ideally dressed to teh nines in good cars

    10. they gert sent off

    11 womans father has to go and ask for permission from the elders in the family and has to tell them the family and they investigate to make sure
    a) that you are not related
    b) that they are not riff raffs
    c) lord knows but its a sombre affair and quite nerve wracing

    12 if you lucky dad comes home one day after like a month and says .... which team does he support... i like man U.... phew!!

    13..... man has to book registry and pay all the fees, buy your outfit and get all the doo ddah

    usually registry is a very small thing with mum, dad, of each side only

    14. after stay with mum and dad you can't move yet

    15 . knowing me knowing you

    all the brothers and sisters and nuclear unit of guy can come be hosted in your house and erm...chit chat

    usually lots of food eat chll hten after we all leave teh dads to talk and they usualy do it quietly and look grave and if you come in they both give you ugly looks....or grimm looks

    but when they are done voices get louder adn you get shouts for bring more iced water...

    phew...round 22 is over

    next man and woman plan

    man has to take a list from family of things for wedding

    usually he has a list of pepper, salt, sugar, drinks, clothes, suitcase and quran, mat, umbrella, watch, fabrics, gifts for inlaws and some traditional items....

    along list and its not a pinch of salt usually like 10 bags of salt 10kg and 500yams like three car boot fulls etccc

    anyway... day for wedding booked

    alfa, mc, all elders almagmate

    recite quran

    then recitation of the traditional requirements and the religious requirments or expectations of matrimony

    then the mc starts the business of explaining to the legt bride family to the right groom family

    then they call the bride elders to high table and the groom elders have to go greet them and be seated

    big smiles and claps once the groom family admited to table

    next call groom ask him if he remmebers he was asked to demonsttate he is ready for wife...

    he comes forth
    he has to prostrate so many tmes and compere willl say oooh your nose didnt touch mat do it again till everone is laughing wildly

    then he has to bring forth the letter

    then he has to bring forth letter opening money

    envelope money

    glasses to read letter money

    money for wives of the bride house

    money for grooms of the bride house

    for the mothers
    the fathers
    the aunties
    the uncles
    the brothers in law
    sisters in law
    the dead ancestors

    oh yes... he must pay up...

    then they read letter and they call hm

    ask him who are you

    he state name, father name, clan name, vllage name, tribe name, household name and which division of family and which tribe

    ahaaa show begin he must get it right or big embarrassment

    after this he has to then bring the thins on the list they ask are you ready for a wife, what did you bring...

    mc has list shouts out 20 bags of salt...and like alladin they appear etc etc

    then after this when it gets to trouseau...there is a break...he is asked to go to get some rest and to go and bring his friends

    when he goes the bride and about 15 others are veiled...when he returns he has to find his wife...

    heehhhhehe usually best to agree your wife will twitch her foot or something or else you in hot sooup

    then he brings the trouseu and bride umbrella to shade her from sun, watch so she konws what time it is when to ccok his dinner, clothes, dresses etc etc...... lots of shiny things

    important he must bring prayer mat, tesbeew praying beads, and also a jilbab and praer dress as well and important must be a beautiful Quran...

    then after all this groom is invited to the high table side table where he can sit

    tnen he has to go sit in crowd
    (,mind you usualy all groom family wearing same material all bride family wearing same material sso easy to comouflage)

    then wife is called

    she has to run around and find her husband put the cap on her husband

    who is hidden in crowd.

    next when she does then

    they are both called to kneel before elders

    many prayer and prayer this is the time you pray your grandaunty who like to pray long prayer isnot on high table cos you arent kneeling on cusihions...

    next move on to the imam he recites quran

    next he ask your dad for recitationn

    same for your mum

    then as the quran is recigted about 20 bowls on talbe for masjid, poor, needy etc and for famly when he recites for family they pay etc...into all bowls..

    then finish then ask husband and wife to hold hands and lsiten then he ask them 3 times if they agree and ask mum and dad of each if they agree

    then crowd can start to party

    its not over yet

    next husband family have to go to bride, wives of the house in his house must wash her feet and must go and sit with her and talk to her and usually emotional bcos you sit on the side of the crowd with our husband and bride dad make speech, bride mum make speech

    then begins

    once upon a time ti was aal night now end by 7 pm 8pm

    next after this during party we have a performer who praises each family and bride and groom family and praises Allah and ask them to show their respect to Allah and dance for joy and usually brides fathr does most dancing of joy and next bride and groom then rest of famly join then friends...

    and phew............that is an islamic wedding in southern nigeria

    sometimes it lasts for 3 days if the family has room to accomodate guests and the event inside their property...

    so its less rushed....nowadays but dont be mistaken

    marry in registry is not recognised by our elders or the mosque as a wedding...

    so you can't go registry and try move out....

    where are you going....

    are you cheap!!

    aha! welcome to AFrica

    now you know..........

    and erm.... is the church of england not in england

    if so why does it need the church of england name is church not enough

    or is that the one where they wera the white hat like celestial church of christ if so do they have to keep shoes on or off when marrying....

    just wondering.... eheheheheheh

    Tue 14, May 2013 at 2:02am
  • User-anonymous Anonymous Flag

    Disappointing to see so much about a religious ceremony in the Church of England and so little about ceremonies in other religions! Maybe better to have links to websites for all the major religions where details of "what is needed to get married" can be found?

    Mon 13, May 2013 at 8:31pm