Legal requirements

Hello, I wondered if anyone could help. My fianc?? and I (both British) are living in New Zealand at the moment but are planning to get married in the UK at Xmas 2013. I'm aware that there are some legal requirements that we need to follow but can't seem to find information anywhere that helps! I know that we have to reside in the UK for a number of days before we can legally get married....but I'm not sure how many days (possibly 16?), or if they have to be working days. Also, if we get married over Christmas and there are more holidays than normal will they still count? Does anyone know if this legal requirement is due to UK law, or the requirements for getting married in a catholic church. This is the on,y information I have been able to find online: And it mentions that we may be able to 'give notice' if we live abroad and in a commonwealth country. I am a teacher and our long summer holidays happen over December which makes it the best time for us to come home and get married. I won't break up until 14th Dec (approx) and I'm worried we won't have enough days to legally reside in the country, plus get married, plus have a honeymoon before back at work at the end of January! I'd love to hear if anyone has any ideas. We got engaged 3 months ago and I'm only just starting to think about it all! Ha ha! Xx


  • My iPad has changed all the formatting! Sorry it's so hard to read!
  • Hiya,

    Would you consider having the wedding in Scotland?

    There is no residency requirement there; you can give notice from abroad & then just have to be there in person to collect the marriage schedule etc from the registrar (link to the General Register office below).

    The other thing I'd suggest is contacting the registry office where you would like to get married (if you have an idea now) and asking them direct what the requirements are, and how you go about giving notice from abroad. 

    Sorry not much help!! 



  • Snowy xSnowy x Posts: 1,100

    I know that you must give atleast 15 days notice of intent, which means it really depends what day your reg office closes for christmas and wheather you manage to squeeze in giving notice beforehand, then you would probably have to wait until they reopen at the beginning of january to actually have the ceremony, We planned our original wedding within 3 weeks, so its completely doable, but it all depends how big a ''do '' your planning

  • Hello! Thank you for the replies. I'd love a wedding in Scotland 2012Bride, but unfortunately all my extended family live in Surrey, so we'll be getting married there.

    Snowflake, thanks for the advice. I hadn't thought about the registry office closing for Xmas, I think I'd better email them and ask.

    If I could map it all out perfectly I'd like to get married before Xmas, partly so I can pig out over Xmas without worrying about fitting into my dress!! Ha ha! But then we could also leave for our honeymoon early in the new year, but I'm not sure if it'll be possible.

    I'm still hoping I can give notice of intent from NZ but not sure how to find out.

    Also, does anyone know the difference between giving notice of intent, and announcing the banns? Do I need to do both for a catholic church wedding?

  • Hi Silver_eye, we're in a similar position, but it's easier for us as we're only in Amsterdam, not so far away. You need to give notice in the UK within a year before the wedding, and when you do, have been in England for 8 days before hand. Are you planning any other trips back before the wedding? We're getting married in July and giving notice on 2nd January as we're back for 2 weeks over Christmas / new year. What you do and where you are between giving notice and actually getting married doesn't matter! Bank holidays don't affect the residency requirement either. 

    Hope that helps!

  • Hi Charliedee, great to hear from someone else in a similar position!

    Your info really helps. I'm very glad to hear that it's only 8 days before the wedding! We are actually visiting the UK this xmas - basically to try and plan as much as we can! We have the church, but haven't yet spoken to the priest, or sorted venue, food, flowers, dress etc....! Eek! But we have a year so I'm hoping that'll be fine. It's just hard knowing that this is my one chance to do things in person.

    Hopefully we will be able to organise the wedding date whilst we're home this xmas, which means we'll also be able to give notice. We leave on Jan 17th, so HOPEFULLY just within a year's notice. I wouldn't want to get married later than the first week of January if I can help it!

    Hope you have a great trip back. How long have you been living in Amsterdam for?

  • PS Can I ask where you managed to find out this info - is there a website or somewhere you can direct me? image

  • Sorry, I meant the 8 days is how long you need to be in the country before giving notice, then it needs to be at least 15 days before, so if you do it all in one go it's 3 weeks, but sounds like you'll be able to get the notice done nice and early. If you already know the venue, then thats fine - you don't need the definate date when you give notice, its more a case of your notice "expires" after a year (if that makes sense?) Its probably worth you booking an appointment now anyway for as late as possible in your trip back this Christmas so you've got it covered!  I was really paranoid about not being able to get an appointment so booked our appointment in August! 

    I think I found the info on the direct gov website, but it looks like they've since simplified it to the link you found, not very helpful. I double checked with the registry office though when I booked the appointment.

    We booked the big stuff about a year in advance, some stuff like photographer and band we've just booked by phone and I'll be heading home with a big to do list over Christmas! I'm sure you will have lots of fun planning while you're back, I think living abroad helps you to be more focussed when you're picking things as you know you have to do it before you go back!

    We've been here for 2 years now, time has flown by! How long have you been in NZ for?

  • Hi Charliedee, sorry for the delay in replying!

    Thanks for all the info. I think I'll take your advice and book an appointment for when I'm home this christmas. I need to start making a list of things to do!

    I've been here almost four years, and my partner almost five. We met here image I think you're right that living abroad helps you be more focussed but I think it might add to the pressure too! I'm really not sure how to get everything sorted. I'm sure it'll come together. Whereabouts in the UK are you going to be getting married?

  • Thanks Sam! I'll check those websites out! image

  • No worries image Here's to a great wedding being planned image 

    Good luck and Cheers image image

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