Marriage and Civil Ceremonies

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Frequently Asked Questions

Marriage and Civil Partnership Questions and Answers

Before the day

Are all couples required to wait the minimum 29 day notice period?

Yes, unless they are granted dispensation under exceptional circumstances.

The date that notices are lodged will begin the 29 day minimum notice period.

Can couples who lodge notice now extend their notice period if required?

No, the notices are valid for a maximum of 3 calendar months, after this time new notices mut be submitted if there are any changes to the date.

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 UK, 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 on the NRS Website.

Have the regulations on face coverings changed since the last update?

There are no current regulations regarding face coverings however members of the public are advised to follow Scottish government guidance and are of course welcome to wear a face covering if they wish to do so.

What are the differences between a marriage and a civil partnership?

It is now possible for couples who are the same or mixed gender to choose to enter into a marriage or a civil partnership. Scottish Government have now released a guide on the differences and legalities of these relationships to help couples to make an informed choice, you can view the guide here. Remember your local registrar is happy to help you with any questions or to help you enter into a marriage or civil partnership.

Do I need to pay a deposit when I book my Marriage Ceremony?

Yes, we require a £90 non-refundable deposit at the time of booking.

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.

On the day

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.

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.

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.

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. Please see are fees and charges page on this website, if you need more information please contact us.

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?

Ceremonies tab 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 lice 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.

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 have photographs taken and a film recording of our ceremony?

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.

Can we throw confetti?

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

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.

How do I change my name once I am married?

In Scotland there is no formal change of name process after marriage and a person may assume the surname of their new spouse following their marriage. This might mean changing your name to theirs or double-barrelling it with your own. Or you might decide to keep your original surname. The choice is yours!

Once you have decided what you want your name to be after you get married, there are a few basics you should know:

Taking Your Husband’s or Wife’s Name After Marriage

To do this you need to send a copy of your marriage certificate to all relevant authorities, such as the DVLA, and your bank. Check if the organisation you are contacting require to see the original marriage certificate or will accept a copy.

You can also apply for a new passport: if you want to book your honeymoon tickets in your new name, you can apply in advance.…/name-marriage-and-civil-partnership

Keeping Your Surname

If you decide to keep your surname you don’t have to do anything as none of your personal records or accounts will need to change.

Using a Double-Barrelled Name

If a woman or man wants to double-barrel their surname, they will often just need to send copies of the marriage certificate to relevant authorities along with a note stating their new chosen surname, including which order you want the names in and whether it is hyphenated.

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

£10 within the calendar month thereafter £15. If you need to get any extra copies of your marriage certificate you can order them online or by calling one of our registration offices