Legal Preliminaries to Marriages and civil partnerships

How to give notice of marriage or civil partnership and what to do if you want to hold the ceremony abroad.

Notice of a marriage or civil partnership

A notice of marriage/civil partnership:

  • has to be prepared to enable your ceremony to take place
  • is valid for 12 months from the date it is prepared
  • is only valid for the venue specified on the Notice

The fee for completing a Notice of marriage or partnership is £35 per person (or £47 per person if you are subject to immigration control).

We will only be taking Notices for ceremonies due to take place within three months of date of notice or to comply with short term residency rules.  

There needs to be a 29 day waiting period from when you prepare your Notice before your ceremony or formation can take place. This can be extended by the Home Office to 71 days if you are subject to immigration control.

See what paperwork you need for a notice of marriage or civil partnership if you are a:

How to arrange giving notice

You can contact a register office in Suffolk to arrange giving notice for a marriage or civil partnership.

Documents required for a notice

You will be told which documents to bring when you book your appointment. All documents must be current and original.

The documents will include some of the following:

  • passport
  • full birth certificate
  • decree absolute
  • death certificate of former spouse/civil partner
  • proof of residence
  • any documents relating to a change of name

If you were born after 1 January 1983, and don't have a current passport, you must bring a parent's full birth certificate or passport. If your parents were not married at the time of birth, you must bring your mother's birth certificate or passport.

See what paperwork you need for a notice of marriage or civil partnership if you are a:

People subject to immigration control

There is a special process for people who are subject to immigration control and wish to register a marriage or civil partnership.

You must arrange an appointment with the Ipswich or Bury St Edmunds Register Office to register. 

Marrying outside of England and Wales

You can marry outside England and Wales, but you need to research marriage in your chosen country and find out if you need to go through any legal processes beforehand.

GOV.UK has advice on getting married abroad.

There are many tour operators and travel companies that specialise in arranging overseas marriages.