Marriages - FAQs

Getting Married in Scotland | Getting Married Abroad | Renewal of Marriage Vows |Civil Partnerships | Marriage FAQs

What difference is there between a Registrar and a Non Belief/Faith Celebrant?

If the ceremony is conducted by a Registrar the paperwork and ceremony arrangements are all included as one service. A civil ceremony is conducted by a registrar who can add personalised content to a ceremony.

When using a non-belief or faith celebrant you still need to contact the local registrar to complete the legal paperwork. The schedule you sign on the day of your ceremony must be collected on the week of the wedding which can only be done by the couple being married or civilly partnered. The Schedule must then be returned to the Registrar within 3 days of the ceremony.

I am a national of a country within the European Economic Area, can i get married in Scotland?

From 1 July 2021, changes will come into effect which bring European Economic Area (“EEA”) citizens within scope of the referral and investigation scheme.

The referral and investigation marriage scheme applies to couples where one or both parties could gain an immigration advantage from the marriage or civil partnership and allows the Home Office to investigate and take enforcement action where appropriate. Holders of relevant marriage visas (such as a marriage visitor visa or fiancé visa) or those with an appropriate immigration status (exemption from immigration control or settled in the UK) are exempt from referral to the Home Office.

Under the changes, those giving notice of intention to marry or register a civil partnership before 1 July 2021 will continue to do so under the current system.

However EEA citizens with

  • an immigration status granted under the EU Settlement Scheme (EUSS) or
  • a pending application to the EUSS, or
  • Irish citizens

will be exempt from the referral scheme.  These groups will also remain exempt from the requirement for a mandatory marriage visitor visa if they are travelling to the UK for that purpose.

EEA citizens (with the exception of Irish nationals) will no longer be able to use their national ID card as evidence of nationality when giving notice of intention to marry or register a civil partnership.

A person with EUSS status will be required to share their status through the online EUSS status checker tool.  The holder must request a six digit ‘share code’ and provide this code to the registrar when they give notice to marry.  This code can be requested by the individual on the ‘view and prove your settled or pre-settled status page’ on GOV.UK at:


I am in the UK on a working VISA, can I get married in Scotland?

If you are a national of a country outside the European Economic Area (EEA), and Switzerland for example, Australia, Canada, New Zealand or the United States etc., and you intend to get married or to register a civil partnership in Scotland, then you will need an entry clearance.  If you are already in the UK and are subject to immigration control but do not have a VISA which is specifically for the purpose of being married or entering a civil partnership we will have to refer the marriage to the Home Office for their approval. This can increase the notice period from 29 to 70 days so it is recommended you submit your paperwork to the registrar as early as possible. Further information is available here.


Where can I have my ceremony?

Any venue with owner’s permission. This could include a hotel, on a boat, family home, woodland, a beach, a field, your old school, your garden, a tea room, the place where you first met.  You can book any venue that hires out rooms for social events or gives you permission to do so as long as we receive a copy of the public liability insurance. Before the ceremony we would make arrangements to carry out a visit to the venue. Each area of Argyll and Bute has their own ceremony rooms for holding a ceremony.


What time/days of the week do you conduct your ceremonies?

Ceremonies are carried out Monday to Saturday during times set by the local registrar. If you have special requirements, please discuss these with us and we will look at the options available.


If we are getting married outside, what happens if it’s raining on the day?

When you are booking your ceremony, your registrar will explain that you must have a wet weather alternative in case of poor conditions on your wedding day.


How much does it cost for a civil wedding?

The cost of your wedding can vary and will depend on where and when your wedding is to take place. The registrar will provide you with up to date information on current fees.


How long can a ceremony last?

We want to help you in making your ceremony a memorable day for you and your guests. The ceremony can be as long as you wish it to be, ideas and suggestions can be discussed with the registrar beforehand once you have handed in your paperwork.


How can I make my ceremony special or unique?

Our website has many suggestions on different enhancements that can be included in your marriage ceremony.  when submitting your paperwork for marriage to the registration office you can make arrangements by phone, email or in person to discuss your ideas with the registrar.


Can we include music?

A selection of music is available at our offices but please feel free to discuss choosing your specials pieces of music. Our main registration offices have facilities to play music either by Bluetooth or CD player. You can also decide to have live music to compliment your ceremony if you wish.


If I wanted my ceremony to have some religious element to it, would that be okay?

You can have whatever you want in your ceremony; after all, it is your day, we would just request that a guest or family member reads out the religious wording.


What pen can I use to sign my marriage schedule?

All Marriage schedules are permanent records and therefore all signatures on the schedule must be made with a fountain pen with archive quality permanent black ink.


What name do I sign on my marriage schedule?

You sign with them name on the marriage schedule which will be the same as the details you gave on your marriage notices.


How long do I need to wait after my wedding before getting my marriage certificate?

If having a civil ceremony then once the registrar returns to the office they will register your marriage and post your marriage certificate to you that day.

If you have had a religious or other belief ceremony, the marriage schedule has to be returned within 3 days of the wedding. Once it has been returned, it will be registered and your certificate posted out to you that day.


I have lost my marriage certificate how much does it cost for a replacement?

£10 within the calendar month thereafter £15


Can you provide witnesses?

You will need two witnesses for your wedding, both aged 16 years of age or older. Your registrar may be able to provide witnesses for you if your ceremony is due to take place Monday to Friday; this will of course be discussed when booking your ceremony.


Do we have to have wedding rings?

You can choose whether to exchange rings or not during your ceremony, if you choose not to have rings be assured it will not affect the validity of your marriage. The registrar will check this over with you before the day of your wedding


Can we throw confetti?

Confetti can be used, but only outside the building. Please remind your guests to dispose of empty boxes carefully.


Our registrars are happy for photographs/video recording to be taken during the ceremony as long as it doesn’t distract from the dignity and solemnity of the ceremony. The registrar will discuss this with you before your wedding day.


If being married by a registrar you will be asked if we can have permission to use some for your photos for inclusion on our social media pages, registration page or for promotional purposes.