Marriage registration changes

From May 4th 2021, the registration of all marriages will change. Our Q&A webinar, links to information, FAQs and resources are given on this page to help you transition to the new process.

From May 4th 2021, the way in which marriages are registered will change. It will mean the paperwork will be a little different for clergy and administrators. This page will guide you through the new process and signpost you to information, official guidance and resources to help you with the transition.

Why is the marriage registration process changing?

The new registration process will enable all marriages to be recorded and stored online which has many practical benefits. As the changes were being considered, it was also an opportunity for the General Register Office (GRO) to enable the details of mothers to be included on the marriage certificate for the first time. It is an historic change which we are all a part of.

How will this impact on the paperwork required for church weddings?

It will impact in these three main ways:-

  1. The responsibility for registering the marriage now lies with the local civil Registrar of the district where the marriage takes place
  2. Church marriage registers as we have always known them will be closed.
  3. The marriage certificate will be issued to the couple by the Register office, usually by post. The church will no longer give couples a legal certificate of marriage.

Watch our webinar

Broadcast on Monday, April 26th, the Revd Canon Sandra Millar, Head of Life Events, and Neil Turpin, Chief Clerk at the Faculty Office, offered this explanatory and Q&A webinar session.

FAQs

We’ve compiled and answered as many questions as we can relating to the changes – this document covers many of the most commonly asked questions, so please refer to it before contacting us or your diocesan office>> Marriage-Registration-FAQs-lastupdate7May21

Useful links and resources

  • Details for how to access to the Marriage Document has now been issued via Diocesan Secretaries and Archdeacons by the GRO. If you have not received these details, or have any problems following the instructions, please contact your Archdeacon or Diocesan Secretary.
  • This simple flow chart may help you get used tot he new process – you might like to pin it to your office wall for easy reference: WeddingsFlowChart
  • The revised Guidebook for the Clergy is available now on the Government website. You will find it on this page.
  • New Church Marriage Record books are now available to order from Church House Publishing. You don’t have to buy these – you can use your own record book if you wish – but the Church House Publishing product is fully compliant with all the requirements for this record-keeping. (Please note that due to very high demand, the Register is already being reprinted. You can order now for delivery when new stock becomes available – the registers can be completed retrospectively, so even if you have weddings happening now but don’t have the book yet, you can enter them later).
  • You can now buy an (optional) commemorative keepsake of the marriage for couples to take away on the day, available from Church House Publishing.
  • If you’d prefer to download a black white version of the keepsake card for free, follow this link.
  • If you would like to mark the closing of the old Marriage Registers in some way after May 4th, this brief outline of prayers and thanksgiving may be helpful. At the Closing of the Marriage Registers

How the Life Events Diary can help

The Life Events Diary is a bespoke software package for churches to manage the data collection and admin required for baptisms, weddings and funerals. You need to collect personal information for all of these services, and the Life Events Diary keeps it safe, secure and in line with GDPR. It can also help you manage and use the data to keep in touch with all those contacts.

In light of the marriage registration changes, it will be possible to create a completed Marriage Document from within the the Life Events Diary ready to print off for each wedding. You’ll be collecting details about couples for each wedding anyway, so it will already be stored in the Diary. With a few simple clicks, you can import a couple’s details into the Marriage Document. Watch the tutorial video if you’d like to see how easy it is.

NB: Having a Life Events Diary account is entirely optional – you can still obtain and complete the Marriage Document without one – simply download it as instructed by the GRO. The aim of the Life Events Diary is to streamline many of the tasks you need to do for Life Events administration, and this is one of the things it can help with too.