Living abroad? The legalities of getting married here...

Article Published: Thursday 3rd September, 2015 - 10:12am

For anyone living abroad but planning a wedding in this country, some amended legislation could prove something of a hitch to the planning process. Nicola from The Guild of Cornish Celebrants - who offer couples the opportunity to have a bespoke ceremony wherever and whenever they desire - has come to the rescue to help explain the impact of the law, and how to successfully navigate your way around it in order to achieve the day of your dreams...

"The notice of marriage has to be given by all couples wanting to marry in England & Wales, other than if you are marrying by Banns in the Church of England," she explains. "To give your notice of marriage involves you making an appointment to have an interview at the Register Office. This should be the Register Office which covers the address where you have been living for the previous 7 full days before the appointment. You will have to produce various documents to the Registrar who is taking the notice and pay a fee of 35 each."

"There is then a waiting period before the certificates which allow the ceremony to take place can be issued this is the bit that has changed. The period of waiting from giving your formal civil notice of marriage has been extended to 28 days. Previously it was 15 so this is quite a difference. This period can also be increased to 70 days should one of you be subject to immigration control. The effect of this is that if you who live abroad and wish to come home to marry you will either have to make two trips back to England, one trip of at least 9 days in one Registration district to give your legal notice of marriage, and the second to have the actual marriage ceremony. Both of these have to fall within a calendar year."

"The alternative option is to come back for one period of a total of 38 days over a month. This is potentially expensive, time consuming and stressful, as can pose problems at work! If this situation is affecting you we can offer a solution. We would advise you to legally marry in the country where you live then come home for a celebratory wedding ceremony. We can write a bespoke ceremony, which incorporates all the elements of a traditional wedding ceremony if you would like them. So you can have a best man, bridesmaids, father of the bride traditions, exchange of vows and rings, as well as any other customs you would like to add."

For more information on how The Guild of Cornish Celebrants can create a beautifully bespoke, personalised ceremony at a location of your choice to reflect your individual wishes and beliefs (incorporating spiritual or religious music and prose, together with rituals such as hand fasting) get in touch or visit: