Somerset Registration Service have their own dedicated website for all your civil wedding and partnership needs.
Follow the links below for information about giving notice, planning your ceremony and other advice.
You can browse the directory of all venues licensed for civil ceremonies, and the new supplier directory of Somerset wedding businesses.
Register vs Schedule - Big Changes To Marriages on 4 May 2021
New legislation kicking in on 4 May is set to really modernise marriage registration for the first time since 1837. The Marriage Schedule System will move away from the current paper register (the traditional book that is signed by the couple and their witnesses), introducing a more secure system for keeping marriage records. The electronic register will also allow for the names of multiple parents of the couple to be included in the marriage entry and on marriage certificates, instead of only fathers’ names as is currently the case. This is the same system that is already in place for registering Civil Partnerships, so it’s more a matter of catching up with them!
There are two differences that couples will notice at their ceremonies. Firstly, they will not sign in an old fashioned register ‘book’. Couples and their witnesses will sign a single sheet of paper called a ‘Schedule’ that is unique to the couple.
Secondly, it’s no longer possible to provide a certificate of marriage on the day of the ceremony. They will be posted to couples within 5 working days. Don’t worry, you are legally married from the moment you say your vows!
Couples who have already given notice don’t need to take any special steps. The Registration Service is taking care of all the changes to paperwork and will give couples the option of adding extra parents to the schedule on their big day.
Parents may include natural, adoptive or step mothers and fathers, or other legal parental figures. This would include non-binary identifying parents, or where legal guardianship has been transferred by parental order. The inclusion (or not) of parent details is down to personal choice. Brides and grooms can choose the order the details are listed, if they have a particular preference.
The new changes do present a technical hitch for some couples. Some honeymoon offers require proof of marriage to validate a special offer, or the couple may be travelling to a country where couples must be legally wed to share a room. As the certificate will not be available for up to 5 days, couples are advised to check in advance what other proof businesses or travel destinations will accept.
Our registrars will offer couples the opportunity to take a photograph of their signed schedule at the end of the ceremony, though there is no guarantee that this will be satisfactory evidence for all purposes.
Registrars across the county are being prepped for the new changes, and our Somerset team are excited to start implementing the new, more inclusive system. With more streamlined paperwork behind the scenes and a better representation of modern families on couple’s landmark documents, this really is a welcome move for the wedding industry.
Links to our services
Marriages and partnerships – Guidance on how to plan your perfect ceremony, including a pre-ceremony check form.
Giving notice of marriages and civil partnerships – You need to book an appointment to give notice of marriage. Guidance on giving notice and how to book your appointment.
Venue directory – A detailed listing and links to all Somerset and North Somerset venues licensed for civil ceremonies.
Supplier directory – A selection of Somerset wedding businesses offering services to add those finishing touches to your special day.
Venue location map – An interactive location map of all our ceremony venues.
More information – Further details about civil partnerships and conversions, ceremony costs and other questions you might have.
Registration Office contact details – Phone, email and addresses for all offices in Somerset and North Somerset.