I want to get married in Scotland. What paperwork do I need?

Anne JohnstonWedding tips and inspiration4 Comments

Bride and Groom smiling at Glen Clova Hotel

Planning your Scottish wedding is a hugely exciting time. You’re spending months dreaming about your perfect day with your beautiful venue, how gorgeous you’re going to look in your dress, how you’re going to have your nails done and much, much more. But as well as all the fun stuff there’s some paperwork (I know, yaaaawn!) that you have to complete to make sure you’re marriage is legal in Scotland.

As a Dundee, Angus and Perth wedding photographer with more than 4 years under my belt I know that the paperwork might seem daunting to you and I want to help take some of your stress away. You don’t want to get home from your stunning honeymoon in Mauritius to find out that the man you’ve spent two weeks of wedded bliss with isn’t actually your husband so here’s what you need to complete and when you need to do it.

What are the different types of marriage in Scotland?

In Scotland you can be married in one of three ways. Regardless of what type of ceremony you choose you have to give notice of your intention to marry to the registrar for the district where you’re getting married.

A civil ceremony between opposite-sex or same-sex couples is conducted by a registrar or assistant registrar and can take place either in a registration office or at any place agreed between you and the registration authority.

A religious or a belief ceremony can take place anywhere in Scotland by an approved celebrant of a religion (eg Christian or Hinduism) or belief system such as humanist ceremonies. Same-sex couples can choose a religious or a belief ceremony as long as the religious or belief body agrees to it.

Your ceremony can also be conducted by an independent celebrant. With this type of ceremony there isn’t a belief system dictating how the ceremony should take place and you can incorporate spiritual and religious elements if you want to.

Wedding vows

How and when to give notice of your proposed marriage

To give notice of your marriage to the district registrar you must complete a Marriage Notice Form (also known as an M10) and it’s normal for this to be in the registrar’s hands 10 – 12 weeks before your ceremony. The minimum period is 29 days before the proposed marriage but if you leave it this late you’re risking your wedding being postponed. Oh, imagine that nightmare!

Both of you must complete and sign the M10 and provide your birth (or adoption) certificate, your passport and proof of your home address. If you live abroad, have been married before or are in a civil partnership, extra information will be required.

You can find out more on the National Records of Scotland website.

The all important Marriage Schedule

No marriage can go ahead in Scotland without a Marriage Schedule! Once the registrar has your Marriage Notice Form and is satisfied that there’s nothing legally stopping you getting married s/he will prepare a Marriage Schedule no more than 7 days before your ceremony.

If you’re having a civil ceremony the registrar won’t issue the Marriage Schedule to you in advance but will take it with them on the day of your ceremony.

If you’re having a religious or belief ceremony it must be collected personally by either you or your future spouse. Don’t think you can send a friend round to the office to collect it. The Marriage Schedule must be produced to the person conducting the ceremony before the marriage ceremony takes place.

Immediately after your wedding ceremony, the Marriage Schedule must be signed by you and your spouse, your two witnesses and the person that conducted the ceremony.

Signing marriage schedule

Don’t forget to register your marriage within 3 days

Once you’ve exchanged your vows and signed the Marriage Schedule there’s one more step to make sure that you’re legally married and that is to register your marriage. If you have a religious or belief ceremony you must take the Marriage Schedule to the district registrar and register your marriage within 3 days of the ceremony taking place. If you’re flying away on honeymoon you can ask a friend to do it for you. If you have a civil ceremony the registrar will take the Marriage Schedule away with them after the ceremony and register your marriage.

Signing marriage schedule

How much does it cost to get married in Scotland?

There are statutory fees set by the Registrar General by Act of Parliament. From 1 January 2011 these are:

For each person submitting a notice of marriage to the district registrar – £30

For solemnisation of a civil marriage – £55

For each extract of the entry in the register of marriages (applied for within a month of registering the marriage) – £10

You will have to pay additional fees to your celebrant if you have a religious or belief ceremony. Additional fees may also apply if you’re having your registrar conduct your ceremony at a venue other than the registrar’s office.

For more information visit the National Records of Scotland website.

Now that I’m married, who do I need to tell?

Once you’re married then begins the fun of telling lots of companies that you’ve got married and changed your name, although you don’t have to change your name if you don’t want to. In no particular order there’s your bank, DVLA, the passport office, your employer, your doctor, your dentist, all the utility companies for your household bills and hey, maybe even your hairdresser! Some of these may need you to provide legal proof which is where the extract of the entry in register of marriages comes in handy.

Are you planning your wedding right now? Has this blog helped you with your wedding planning? Jump into the comments and let me know. I’d love to hear from you and always reply.

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