How to Get Married in the United Kingdom - The Complete Guide

If you’re reading this, you’ve probably realized that getting married in the United Kingdom is either on your bucket list or at least on your radar. It might be the most logical step to take after getting together, but for some of us, it can be a scary proposition. You see, getting married in the UK isn’t exactly as easy as you think. In fact, it requires quite a bit of planning and dedication to get right. But with the right strategy, you can get married in the UK and not stress about anything else for months or even years on end! So here are some helpful steps to getting married in the UK:

How to Get Married in the United Kingdom - The Complete Guide

If you’re reading this, then you’ve probably already met your soulmate but you may have never quite know it. The British are known for their long and loving marriages but this doesn’t mean that finding your match is an easy feat. The rules and regulations of getting married in the UK can be restrictive though and not everyone knows where to begin. The following article will take you through some important considerations before, during and after getting hitched to prepare you for the wedding reception. If this article has helped you in any way, please share it with someone who might benefit from it.

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What to expect when you get married in the UK?

Getting married in the UK can be a very exciting and fulfilled experience. You will face a series of challenges and decisions that will have a lasting impact on your life. 

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What to expect after you get married in the UK?

After you’ve tied the knot, you’ll experience a lot of empty space around you. Your spouse will have left the country and you’ll be on your own. If you’re lucky, you may meet other like-minded individuals through your local chapter of your national or local social organization. Otherwise, you’ll have to make do with little communication from home and your new family.

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Attitudes towards getting married in the UK

In reality, you’re in good company if you get married in the UK. According to a report, more than three out of four people in England, Scotland and Wales are married. Your marriage will be celebrated throughout your home country and around the world. You may find that people there are more welcoming and accepting of couples who got married abroad. This is likely the case because you’ve already gone through so much together and have become part of each other’s lives in a big way.

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Where to get married in the UK?

The options for getting married in the UK are pretty limited. You can either get hitched in your home country (which will be celebrated like no other) or in the country you’re currently living and working in. If you’re unable to choose a country because of reasons such as language barriers, cultural differences or health issues, you may wish to consider trying another country’s culture first. This will allow you toamiliarize yourself with the traditions, customs, cuisine and landscape and help you to feel more at ease should you one day choose to tie the knot there.

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Officiant needed for wedding in the UK

The need for an officiant for a wedding in the UK can be a difficult one to find. You can usually choose between a priest or a rabbi but they are usually required to marry you and perform the ceremony. A wedding officiant can be quite expensive and it’s always a good idea to get a recommendation from people you’re close to. A friend or family member can often offer insight into what you like and don’t like about different people and help you to make the right decision.

Wedding bands in the United Kingdom

Wedding bands are a traditional way of decorating a wedding. Traditionally, they are made of gold and are often adorned with gemstones. When you get married in the UK, the wedding bands that you choose will have an important bearing on the ceremony. You can either choose to have plain wedding bands or you can opt for wedding bands that are specifically designed to represent your relationship.

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Getting married abroad in the United Kingdom

Wedding abroad in the UK can be a very exciting and fulfilling experience. You will face a few challenges, however, as with any type of travel. Make sure that you are well-traveled, well-fleshed and healthy enough to deal with the extra strain that big travel will place on your body and mind. You will also need to acclimatize yourself to a new culture and learn new skills. For example, you’ll need to learn the language and customs of the country where you are getting married.

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The Basic Requirement For Getting married in the United Kingdom 

Requirements and rights in the UK

Anyone can get married in the UK as long as they are:

  •     Aged at least 16 (those under 18 in England and Wales will need the consent of a parent or guardian)
  •     Not already married or in a civil partnership
  •     Not closely related (you cannot marry parents/children, grandparents/grandchildren, siblings or half-siblings, or adopted children)

To be married in the UK, you might need to apply for a UK visa if you are not a citizen or permanent resident of the country. This will either be a family visa or a marriage visitor visa depending on how long you intend to remain in the UK. On the website of the UK government, check your visa needs. If you marry a citizen of the UK and have been in the country for at least three years, you are eligible to apply for British citizenship.

Most other nations recognize marriages performed in the UK. Nonetheless, you should clarify this with the embassy of your own nation.

Gay marriage and same-sex partnerships in the UK

The legal recognition of same-sex marriages performed abroad has been a long time coming in the UK. In some countries, like the United States, same-sex marriage is the law, so to get a marriage license you will need to perform a marriage ceremony. To avoid performing a marriage ceremony for someone you don’t know well, you can get married in a same-sex relationship in another country.

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Civil/domestic partnerships in the UK

Civil partnerships in the UK began in 2005 as a way for same-sex couples to legally recognize their relationship. Following the legalization of gay marriage, civil partnerships were extended to opposite-sex couples in 2019 as an alternative to getting married in the UK. 

In terms of prerequisites, privileges, and procedures, marriage and civil partnerships differ little from one another in the UK. The main distinctions relate to the formality of the day. Like civil marriages, civil partnerships are legal unions. A partnership agreement must be signed by the couple and two witnesses. Unlike marriages, there are often no vows exchanged. A ceremony or even a religious blessing might be included if the couple forming a civil partnership so chooses.

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Necessary paperwork and documentation in the UK

To get married in the UK, you will typically need to have the following documentation:

  •     Passport or valid ID that includes details of your name and age/date of birth
  •     Proof of home address, for example a utility bill
  •     Proof of any name changes, for example copy of a deed poll
  •     Decree absolute or final order if you’ve been in a marriage or civil partnership before
  •     Death certificate for your former spouse/partner if you are a widow
  •     Proof of current immigration status, along with any required visas, if you are from outside the UK
  •     Details of where and when you intend to get married 

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The cost of a getting married in the UK

Getting married is an expensive business. This is especially true in the UK, which is one of the highest-spending countries when it comes to weddings. According to the 2021 National Wedding Survey, the average wedding cost in the UK is £17,300, excluding engagement ring and honeymoon costs.

Here is a rough breakdown of average costs:

  •     Venue – £7,600
  •     Wedding dress – £1,300
  •     Photographer – £1,200 (an extra £1,000 if you have a video of the day)
  •     Groom attire – £500
  •     Catering – £3,000 to £4,000 total (around £65 per head)
  • Drinks – £1,500
  • Flower displays – £1,500
  • Evening entertainment – £1,000
  • Bridal hair and make-up – £150
  • Wedding car – £150 to £500
  • Registrar costs – £46 for civil ceremony, £86 for
  • Notice fees – £35 plus around £50-75 if documents need checking
  • Wedding insurance – between £20 and £300 depending on coverage
  • Marriage visitor visa – £95 (if required)
  • Engagement ring – £2,500
  • Honeymoon – £3,500 to £4,500
  • Prenuptial agreement – £2,000 (if you have one)

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Top wedding locations in the UK

According to Hitched, the most popular wedding venues in the UK by region are:

  •     Great Fosters, Surrey (South East England)
  •     Kew Gardens (London)
  •     Thornton Manor, Cheshire (North West England)
  •     Boreham House, Essex (East of England)
  •     The Mill Barns, Shropshire (West Midlands)
  •     Tunnel Beaches, Devon (South West England)
  •     Carlton Towers, North Yorkshire (Yorkshire and the Humber)
  •     Dodford Manor, Northamptonshire (East Midlands)
  •     Healey Barn, Northumberland (North East England)
  •     The Shore, Loch Lomond (Scotland)
  •     St David’s Hotel, Cardiff (Wales)

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Summing up

Getting married in the UK can be a very exciting and fulfilling experience. You will face a series of challenges and decisions that will have a lasting impact on your life. These will include: Finding the right person to share your life with Deciding where you’ll get married Finding a wedding venue Deciding on your wedding dress Deciding on your wedding accessories Getting ready for your wedding day If you are lucky enough to find your perfect match, you will have an unforgettable wedding. Do you have a question about getting married in the UK? We would love to hear from you. You can send us a question on our Facebook page or send us a message on our website. We are always happy to help!