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UK Laws

Minimum Age | Fees | Civil Ceremonies | Civil Licence | Religious Ceremonies |
| England and Wales | Northern Ireland | Scotland |

Minimum Age

In all areas of the UK the minimum age you can legally marry is 16. In England, Wales, Isle of Man, Guernsey and Northern Ireland you will need written parental consent if you are under 18. In Jersey parental consent is required if you are under 20. In Scotland, however, you can marry at 16 without the consent of your parents.


There are fees involved for marriage ceremonies and these will be subject to regional differences. Typically you should expect to pay between £90 - £100 for a Civil Ceremony (this excludes any fees that might be charged if you book an alternative venue), and between £150 - £250 for a Religious Ceremony (variable factors will include items such as the use of church bells, church organist etc.). Check with your local Registrars Office or Parish Priest for more details.

Civil Ceremonies

A Civil Ceremony is conducted by a Registrar, either in a Registry Office or a venue that holds a Civil Licence. The ceremony is not allowed to contain religious elements, although you may choose to include music, poetry or readings to accompany the ceremony. You can also discuss the vows you intend to take with the registrar and customise them to suit.

Civil Licence

In England, Wales and Northern Ireland a Civil Ceremony can take place in an approved venue (such as a hotel, castle etc.) that holds a Civil Licence. The law states that you cannot marry outside, or in a temporary or movable structure (such as a marquee). A Civil Licence is not required for alternative venues in Scotland, but different laws apply.

Many establishments that hold a Civil Licencel offer a full wedding service and will be able to provide you will a lot of advice and support.

Religious Ceremonies

These will differ depending on your faith, but will generally take place in a church, or place of worship. However, in Scotland it is the local Minister who performs ceremonies in alternative venues, not the Registrar.
If you are intending to have a Religious Ceremony you will need to contact the Minister of your faith in the locality you wish to be married in.

England and Wales

Civil Ceremonies

A Civil Ceremony can take place in a Registry Office, or a venue that holds a Civil Licence. If you intend a Civil Ceremony in England or Wales the procedure you need to follow is:

Further information can be obtained from your local Registry Office or from:

Registrar General
Smedley Hydro
Trafalgar Road
Tel: 01704 569824


Religious Ceremonies

For details of Religious Ceremonies you should contact the local Minister of your faith, as they will differ in procedural requirements.

Northern Ireland

These differ from ceremonies in England and Wales in the following ways:

For details of Religious ceremonies you should contact the local Minister of your faith. For some faiths the local Registrar may not be involved.

Further information should be obtained from you local Registrar's Office or from:

The Registrar for Northern Ireland
Oxford House
49 - 55 Chichester Street


The Law in Scotland is different to the rest of the UK in the following ways:

Further information can be obtained from:

The General Register Office for Scotland
New Register House

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