In England and Wales civil registration began on 1st July 1837. A marriage certificate is the record of the ceremony of marriage between two people.
Civil registrars and Church of England clergymen were allowed to issue a marriage certificate.
From 1898 Roman Catholic priests and ministers of non-conformist ministers were also allowed to issue a marriage certificate.
Approved locations for marriages taking place in England and Wales are, a Church in England or a Church in Wales or a register office. The opening hours of most register offices are 10am – 4pm Monday to Friday, and 10am – 1pm on Saturday.
Provided it is approved for civil marriage, other locations can be used for a marriage ceremony.
Religious buildings are also approved as long as they are registered for the solemnisation of marriage. These would include Baptist, Christadelphian, Hindu, Independent, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Latter-day Saints, Methodist, Moravian, Mosque, Pentecostal, Roman Catholic, Spiritualist, Unitarian, and United Reformed. One of the party getting married should live in the registration district of the building. There are times where a Registrar will be present to register the marriage officially.
A copy of a marriage certificate will be available at the General Register Office 18 months after the event is registered.
For a marriage certificate issued in England and Wales, the following note is added:
‘This certificate is issued in pursuance of section 65 of the Marriage Act 1949. Sub-section 3 of that section provides that any certified copy of an entry purporting to be sealed or stamped with the seal of General Register Office shall be received as evidence of the marriage to which it relates without any further or other proof of the entry, and no certified copy purporting to have been given in the said Office shall be of any force or effect unless it is sealed or stamped as aforesaid.’
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