There are lots of things to think about when planning your wedding. To help, we have outlined everything you need to do on this page.
You can get married in the UK if you are:
- 18 or over
- free to marry (single, divorced or widowed)
- not closely related
What you need to do
Give notice of your intention to marry
You can give notice at either Aykley Heads House register office or Bishop Auckland register office.
After you have both given your notices of intention to marry you will be given a ceremony pack. The pack gives you information about making your wedding personal, with readings, music and personal promises.
You must plan to have your wedding at least 28 days after you give notice.
Plan and book your wedding
There are two options for your wedding in County Durham:
- a civil ceremony: this can take place in a register office or a licensed venue such as a hotel and is a non-religious ceremony performed by one of our registrars
- a church wedding: this is a religious ceremony performed in a church
Registrar booking fee
You will need to pay a non-refundable booking fee of £50. Changes to bookings will result in another £50 booking fee becoming payable.
This fee needs to be paid to the superintendent registrar at least six weeks before your wedding is due to take place.
The Civil Partnerships, Marriages and Deaths (Registration Etc.) Act came into force on 4 May 2021.
The Act provides for the modernisation of marriage registration for the first time since 1837, by introducing a marriage schedule system and registration in an electronic register. The process is moving away from the old paper register, introducing a more secure system for keeping marriage records.
What this means for couples on the day of their ceremony
- You can include more than one person, as mother / father / parent, to be recorded in the marriage entry and on marriage certificates, instead of only fathers' names.
- There will be a schedule to be signed by the couple, their witnesses and the superintendent registrar and registrar officiating on the day. This will replace the handwritten marriage registers currently in use.
- No certificates can be provided at the ceremony.
How the wedding will be registered
The schedule will be returned to the Local Registration Service whereby the schedule will be input to the electronic register as a record of the event.
- If you are having a civil wedding, or a ceremony in a religious building where a civil registrar will be present, we will return the schedule for you.
- If you are having a wedding in a religious building without the presence of a registrar, the marriage schedule will need returned to the Local Registration Service as soon as possible so it can be registered.
How to purchase official certificates of the marriage
- After your ceremony you can order certificates online or by telephone.
- Please note that we are unable to produce the certificates until the marriage has been entered to the electronic register.
- If you were married in a religious building, without the presence of a registrar the marriage schedule will need returned to the Local Registration Service as early as possible. Certificates cannot be issued until this has been received and registered.
Why we have moved to this new system
- The old system for registering a marriage is outdated and only allows for the father's name of the parties involved to be recorded.
- It would be too costly to amend or replace all 84,000 open marriage registers, blank certificates and associated paperwork across England and Wales in the current system.
When the changes were introduced
- 4 May 2021.
- Registration Service
- 03000 266 000