I love writing about planning weddings and buying wedding gifts but i thought i would research and write a little piece about the laws and rules of getting married in the united kingdom

I love writing about planning weddings and buying wedding gifts but I thought I would research and write a little piece about the laws and rules of getting married in the United Kingdom.

According, to the law of the land a man and woman can legally marry if they are 16 years of age and single. However, if you are age 16 or 17 you cannot legally get married if you don’t have parental or guardian consent. Also you cannot marry if you are same sex. Partners of the same sex who wish to get married to each other must register under UK law for a civil partnership ceremony instead.

You may also not marry direct bloodline relatives. These include parents, grandparents and siblings. Although, this may seem obvious to many people the law has to cover it… just in case! If they do marry the marriage will automatically be void even if they do not know they are related. If you are not related by blood i.e adopted then you are allowed to marry members of your adoptive family but not your adoptive parents.

In order to make a marriage lawful it can only take place at certain venues. First on the list is the most obvious and long standing – church. Next comes the registry office for those partners who just want the union to be made legal without all the pomp and ceremony. Several years ago it was made legal to be married in other buildings such as a hotel. All it takes is for the venue to have a license from their local authority. Unlike wedding ceremonies that are allowed to take place in the USA I haven’t yet heard of anyone who has been allowed to get married at the bottom of the North Sea as both partners are keen scuba divers or jumping from a height from a plane.. with a parachute, of course!

Other places where marriages are allowed to take place are hospitals if a partner is sick and may not recover, at home if a partner is housebound and a prison if one partner is a prisoner.

Now we know who can get married to whom and where what about the requirements that actually makes it legal? Well, there has to be one of two main ones whether the marriage is to be a religious or a civil ceremony. The marriage has to be conducted by someone who is registered to authorise marriages. The marriage also has to be entered in the Register Book, signed by both parties as well as two witnesses and the person who conducts the ceremony and is authorised to do this.

Prior to the ceremony both partners will be asked to submit written evidence to prove that they are who they say they are. Giving any false information is deemed as a criminal offence. Not a great start to married life!

Lots of couples opt to get married in far flung exotic destinations. Some marriages in some countries are not recognised in the United Kingdom. It is always best to add this to your wedding to do list to enquire about from your local Citizen’s Advice Bureau or from a lawyer. After all, wouldn’t you be gutted if you shelled out a fortune for a fairytale beach wedding and it wasn’t legal back home?

There it is, then.. a brief insight into the legalities of getting married in the United Kingdom. I hope it is helpful!

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