Organising your wedding day can be a daunting process, with lots of decisions to make and information to find out. We can help you through the legal processes of marriage, providing you with information and advice every step of the way.
Important information about same sex marriages
The Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act 2013 received Royal Assent in July 2013. The latest announcement means that the first same sex marriages can be held on and after 29 March 2014. However, couples will need to ensure that they give 15 clear days notice of their intention to marry and this notice can be given on and after 13 March 2014.
If you have a booking for a civil partnership later this year and would prefer to change this to a civil marriage then please contact us. Your booking for a civil partnership is not automatically converted into a same sex marriage. You will need to give new notices for a civil marriage provided that the ceremony date is on or after 29 March 2014. A fee will be payable for this new notice. Your booking of the venue should not need to change.
If you are currently in a civil partnership and you wish to convert to a civil marriage, it is anticipated that the provisions to enable this will be in place by the end of 2014.
About this service
The first decision you will need to make is the type of ceremony you would like - a Religious Ceremony in a church or chapel or a Civil Ceremony, at the Register Office or in one of the many Approved Premises around the county.
How quickly can I get married?
In most cases you must give at least fifteen clear days notice before you can get married. Details of 'special procedures', which exist for people in extreme circumstances can be obtained by clicking on the external link to the General Register Office website or contacting your local Register Office.
What documents do I need to give notice?
Everyone must provide evidence of their name, age, nationality and address. A current Passport or Full Birth Certificate is essential. If you were born after 1982 and do not have a current passport, you will also need to bring your mother's birth certificate to prove British nationality. One other form of identification showing your name and current address is also required, for example a recent bank statement or utility bill.
If you have changed your name for reasons other than marriage you will need to bring along documentary evidence of the name change.
If you have been married before or have previously formed a Civil Partnership you will need to provide evidence that you are now legally free to form a marriage or Civil Partnership. Types of evidence available could include:
- A divorce decree absolute (copies of these can be obtained by contacting the court where the divorce proceedings took place).
- Final order of dissolution of a Civil Partnership
- Death certificate from a former wife, husband or civil partner. (if you are not the 'informant' on the death certificate, you will also need to bring the marriage or civil partnership certificate)
Please note that all documents provided must be originals. Any documents which are not in English will need to be supplied with a translation.
In some instances it may be necessary for the General Register Office to approve the validity of the documents. Please contact your local office if you have any questions.
How do I use it?
The key steps you need to take to book your ceremony are outlined below.
Decide on your venue and arrange the date and time for your ceremony with them. It is a legal requirement that marriages are conducted between the hours of 8am and 6pm. See the Approved Premises link or view the Contacts section of this page for venue information and office contact details.
Contact the Register Office for the District in which the venue is situated to check the availability of the Registrars. You can only make a provisional booking at this point, which will be confirmed when you 'give notice'. Full location and contact details for each office are available in the Contacts section of this page.
Both you and your partner need to contact the Register Office for the District in which you live to arrange an appointment to 'Give Notice'. Somerset is now a 'unified district, which means that if you live in Somerset you can give notice in any Registration Office in Somerset. If you and your partner live in different districts you will each need to go separately to your local Register Office. If you live in the same District you will usually be asked to attend together.
What happens next?
In most cases you will need to make an appointment to 'Give Notice' at your local Register Office and attend with your partner (if you both live in the same District).
Notice cannot be given more than 12 months before the ceremony and you should have lived in the District for at least 7 days before giving notice.
If you are not a member of an EEA country and subject to immigration control please contact your local Register Office for further advice.
What is covered?
You will be offered a private appointment with the Registration Officer and asked for details of the time, date and venue of the ceremony as well as your name, age, nationality, address, occupation and marital status along with proof as necessary.
These details are then put on public display at the Somerset Register Office in Taunton for 15 days, after which the 'Authority for Marriage' may be issued. If your wedding is taking place in a different District to which you live, you will need to make arrangements for the 'authority' to be forwarded to the Registrar or Minister conducting your ceremony as soon as possible.
How long does it take?
Each Register Office Marriage is given a 45 minute appointment. The ceremony lasts between 15 and 20 minutes.
How much does it cost?
Giving notice of marriage: £35 each.
A marriage ceremony at a Register Office
Marriage ceremony including certificate £49
A marriage ceremony at the Old Municipal Buildings:
Vivary Room seats up to 40 people £150
Tudor Hall seats up to 100 people £300
A marriage ceremony at an Approved Premises
Marriage ceremony including certificate,
Monday to Thursday - £420
Friday and Saturday - £450
Sunday - £500
Bank Holidays - £600
Where is it?
You can have a marriage ceremony at any approved premises or you can hold it at a Register Office. For further information about approved premises please see our Approved premises in Somerset page.