Getty Images

8 Legal Things You Need To Know Before Your Wedding

It's easy to get caught up in the beautiful details of the big day, but do you know the legal requirements of getting married? Before you walk down the aisle, take note of these legal things you need to know.

19 Mar 2019

For civil ceremonies: you must both give notice of marriage in your local register office - whether or not you wish to marry in that district - at least 28 days before the marriage can take place.

For Church of English and Church in Wales ceremonies: you don't usually need to give notice of your marriage to your register office; your local minister will arrange for your banns to be read. For more information visit

For other religious ceremonies: you'll need to give '28 days' notice of the marriage to the register office.

Civil ceremony venues: Local authorities in England and Wales may approve premises other than register offices where civil marriages may take place. Applications must be made by the building's owner or trustee (not the couple). In Scotland, you can legally marry outdoors.

If you're marrying in a church: discuss readings with the minister or priest, and the ceremony's music with the musicians. If it's a civil ceremony, you also need to check what readings and music are permitted as nothing religious is allowed. For more details on civil ceremonies, see our guide to register office weddings.

Same-sex couples: can marry in England, Scotland, Wales and the Republic of Ireland, except on Church of English, Catholic Church or Church of Wales premises. Northern Ireland only allows civil partnerships. Find out more at

Marrying abroad: Double-check your paperwork is 100% sorted. You may need new copies of your birth certificates and to make an affidavit swearing there's no impediment to your marriage. If you want a legally recognised religious or civil ceremony, you need to follow the procedure of the law in that country. For more information visit

Changing your name: You can change the name on your passport up to three month before the ceremony, but it will be 'post-dated' so you can't use it before your wedding. And don't forget any travel visas or inoculations you might need, either. For more information, see our guide to changing your name after marriage.