How do we go about getting married?
What is the difference between a marriage and a civil partnership?
Church or religious weddings
What is a notice of marriage?
After my notice appointment when can I get married?
Where and when can we give notice?
What documents do we need to take to our notice appointment?
What happens after we’ve given notice?
How do we make a notice appointment?
How do we make a booking for a marriage ceremony?
Marriage, according to the law of this country, is the union of two people of the same or opposite sex, voluntarily entered into for life, to the exclusion of all others. This is made by a verbal contract between two people and is recorded in a marriage register. You cannot convert a marriage to a civil partnership.
A civil partnership is a written contract formed between two people of the same sex giving the couple the same legal rights as married couples. You can convert a civil partnership to a marriage.
The government has announced plans to introduce civil partnerships for opposite sex couples, however the General Register Office has stated that the implementation date has not yet been confirmed but, based on the current position, the earliest date for a notice to be taken will be 31 December, with the first civil partnerships under the standard procedure able to be formed on 29 January 2020. Please note that 31 December is the deadline by which the regulations must be in force but it is possible the implementation date could be earlier. An earlier implementation would mean that notices would be able to be given ahead of 31 December and civil partnerships formed earlier than 29 January 2020.
Further information can be obtained from:
Government Equalities Office
16-20 Great Smith Street
0300 200 3343
Please note that any bookings taken for earlier dates cannot be guaranteed and any cancellations or changes in ceremony dates would be subject to our terms and conditions.
If you are planning on to marry in the Church of England or Church in Wales you must carry out the legal formalities by Banns or Common Licence (please check with your Church). However, where one or both of you are non-EEA national(s) you will be required to give notice of marriage at a designated register office, such as Milton Keynes.
If you wish to marry in any other denomination of faith you must live in the district of the place of worship and will need to give notice of marriage in your local register office or, if one or both parties to the marriage is a non-EEA national notice must be given at a designated register office.
In the first instance, you should check with the church or place of worship you wish to marry in to see if they are available for the date you require and to confirm what is required.
If you wish to marry in a church outside of your district, then please contact the register office for that district for more information and advice.
A notice of marriage is a legal declaration which must be given individually by each of you in person.
The notice of marriage is venue specific and valid for 12 months from the date of the notice appointment, so before booking an appointment you need to have decided where and when you would like to get married and have made a provisional booking with the venue or local registration service.
If, after giving notice, you change the ceremony venue or the date is moved beyond 12 months from the date of your appointment, you must give notice again.
Your notice must be displayed publicly for 28 clear days before a marriage authority can be issued.
In some instances, a referral to the Home Office may be made, for example if you or your partner:
- are from outside of the EEA or Switzerland
- have limited or no immigration status in the UK
- don’t give the registrar enough evidence to show you’re settled in the UK
If a referral is made the Home Office may increase the legal wait period from 28 days to 70 clear days before marriage authorities can be issued. The registrar will inform you during the notice appointment if a referral is being made. A fee is chargeable for this which will be taken at the appointment.
Please do ensure that you plan ahead as a legal marriage or civil partnership cannot take place if the marriage authorities are not issued.
The requirements are different depending on your nationality. Please read the following information carefully.
If you are a British citizen or an EEA national you must each give notice of marriage or civil partnership at the Register Office in the district where you live.
You must both have lived in the district for at least nine days immediately before you give notice.
If one or both of you are non EEA nationals then you must have lived in a district of England and Wales for the nine days immediately before giving notice and both parties must attend the appointment together at a Designated Register Office.
The documents required are prescribed by law and the requirements are slightly different depending on your nationality; please check the details below to ensure you bring the correct documentation as if anything is missing, expired or a photocopy, we won’t be able to take your notice and you will need to book a new appointment and pay the appointment fee again.
Please select the option below, depending on your nationality, for details of the documents required for a notice appointment:
Once you have successfully given notice and:
- the legal wait period has passed,
- any investigations by the Home Office have been carried out (if appropriate)
- any foreign divorce documentation has been cleared by the General Register Office (if applicable)
Then your authorities to marry or form a civil partnership will be issued which means that your legal ceremony can take place.
However, as mentioned above, if you change your venue or the date of your ceremony beyond 12 months from the date of your notice appointment, you will need to make another appointment, pay the fees and give your notices again.
If you live within the Milton Keynes registration district or need to visit a Designated Register Office and wish to use Milton Keynes Register Office, then the easiest way to book your appointment is to use our online booking system, please ensure you have a credit or debit card to hand as payment will need to be made to secure your booking. If you are unable to access the online booking system, you can call 01908 372101 to book.
Please ensure you book the correct appointment type.
- Notice of marriage – opposite sex or same sex couples
- Notice of civil partnership – same sex couples only
If you are planning to get married outside of Milton Keynes you must contact the Register Office in that district to book your ceremony.
If you are planning to get married at a licensed venue in Milton Keynes you must contact the venue initially to check their availability for your preferred date before booking a Registrar to attend. Once you have made your booking you will need to make an appointment to give your legal notices of marriage (see relevant section above). If you live in the Milton Keynes registration district you will need to book this with us. If you live elsewhere you will need to contact the district where you live to arrange this.
To make a booking for an enhanced marriage or civil partnership in an approved venue within the Milton Keynes registration district or the Flowers Suite, Civic Offices or alternatively a statutory ceremony in the Register Office room please select the relevant link below to access our online booking service or call 01908 372101.
Please ensure you book the correct appointment type.
- Marriage – opposite sex or same sex couples
- Civil partnership – same sex couples only
We currently take ceremony bookings up to 2 years in advance.
There is a fee payable for booking our services so please have your credit or debit card to hand as payment will be taken at the time of booking.
We do perform several ceremonies per day and do our best to meet everyone’s requirements, however, during popular months you may have to be flexible on both time and date.
Please note: You need to ensure that you are able to complete the legal notice requirements prior to booking your marriage or civil partnership ceremony, ie:
- you are free lawfully to marry,
- you have all of the relevant original and valid documentation to hand in order to give notice.
If your ceremony cannot proceed due to outstanding legal paperwork then your fees would be non-refundable.
Last Updated: 5 August 2019