marriage signing book

This is serious. This is all about making sure that you are going to be legally married. The following points will concentrate on the legalities, not any religious or cultural influences.

  • As of 13 March 2014, same-sex couples can now have a marriage licence, except in Northern Ireland. Same-sex couples who marry in Northern Ireland will be treated as civil partners
  • If you are transsexual, your gender will be recognised as the one on your birth certificate. If you have a gender recognition certificate, you can get a new birth certificate with your new gender on it. This means that if you live in Northern Ireland, you will not be able to marry someone whose sex is the same as the sex on your birth certificate.
  • You must be over 16
  • You must be free to marry, i.e. you must be single, divorced or widowed, and if you have been in a civil partnership, that partnership must be dissolved
  • If you are under 18, you must have both your parents’ permission to marry. If you were brought up by someone else, then whoever has parental responsibility must give their consent.

If you were not brought up by your natural parents, it would be wise to check with a solicitor or with the Citizen’s Advice Bureau to make sure you have permission from the right people. On a more personal note, it’s quite unusual to get married at under 18, and people can change quite rapidly between the ages of 14 and 25. After that, the change is slower. Whenever you make choices that are unusual, it is wise to think carefully about what you are doing and discuss it with a professional counsellor or someone who you know is wise and sensible

You must not be too closely related to the person you are going to marry, so you cannot marry:

  • your son or daughter (including if you are their adoptive parent)
  • your parent (including if you were adopted by them)
  • a sibling (including half-brothers and sisters)
  • your aunt or uncle (including half-brothers or sisters of your mother or father)
  • your niece or nephew (including the children of your half-sisters or brothers)
  • a grandparent
  • a grandchild
  • You can marry an adopted brother or sister
  • You can only marry step-relations or in-laws under certain circumstances, so you should check with a solicitor or the Citizens Advice Bureau first

Where can you obtain a licence?
From a register office, approved wedding venues and most churches (not Roman Catholic, and not for same-sex couples – check with your church).

You must give the register office at least 28 days’ notice that you are going to get married. If you are not citizens of a European Economic Area Country, you’ll need to show the register office your passports or visas when you give them notice. If you are transgender and you are already in a civil partnership with the person you wish to marry, you can notify the registry office on the day of your wedding, so long as you have your gender recognition certificate
For more details, check out this website:

The law changes all of the time and these are just advisory notes ato get you started, we strongly recommend that you complete your own thorough research.