Last updated 7th May 2021
This page contains information and links to resources pertaining to marriage law for the benefit of clergy in the Diocese.
The principal statutory sources of law applying to marriage in England is the Marriages and Deaths (Registration etc) Act 2019.
From 4 May 2021, the way in which marriages are registered has changed.
All marriage registers must be formally closed and returned to the local register office together with all other marriage stock. Arrangements for this differ across the diocese, with each register office circulating information directly to the relevant clergy.
Marriage certificates are replaced by either a Marriage Document or, where notice of marriage has been given by the couple to the register office, a Marriage Schedule. The Marriage Document must be prepared by the officiating priest before the wedding but the Marriage Schedule will be supplied by the register office partially completed for use.
At the ceremony, the Marriage Document or Marriage Schedule will be signed by the couple, their witnesses and the officiating priest. The officiating priest then needs to ensure that the Marriage Document or Marriage Schedule is deposited at the local register office as soon as possible and not later than 21 days of the date of the wedding. The local Superintendent Registrar will then record the details and issue the couple with a Marriage Certificate, for which there will be a fee.
Anglican Marriage: Legal update April 2021
(Clergy training sessions 2021)
Anglican Marriage 2021 Legal update FAQs
Anglican Marriage: the legal context
Flowchart for clergy from 4 May 2021.
Checklist for new registration process
General Register Office summary of the resources available to clergy in respect of the changes to marriage registration.
General Register Office guide for the clergy
This has been re-issued to reflect the changes to marriage registration
General Register Office’s instructions for the closure of marriage registers
Marriage certificate and register stock - Closure, return and Destruction: Guidance for Clergy.
* Guidance for completing the marriage document
Habitual Worship as Qualifying Connection
Provisional Application Form.
D Evidence (Marriage by banns or common licence) - from July 2021
Specified evidence checklist.
Marriage Document: General Register Office explanatory leaflet
Explanatory leaflet for clergy to provide to couples who are to marry after 4 May 2021 (following banns, common licence or special licence).
The Marriage (Keeping of Records in Churches and Chapels) Regulations 2021
This details the new duty for parochial church councils to provide registers of marriage services and the information which must be recorded
Marriage Schedule: General Register Office explanatory leaflet
Explanatory leaflet for clergy to provide to couples who wish to marry after 4 May 2021 (following formal notice of intention to marry having been given to the local register office).
Marriage Schedule System: frequently asked questions
General Register - Marriage Schedule System Frequently Asked Questions
Wedding Welcome Form produced by the Church of England Life Events team.