Preparing for the Big Day

Late arrival

Although it may be traditional for the bride to be late, it is important that your ceremony starts promptly as the Registrar may be attending other ceremonies after yours. Late arrival may result in your ceremony not going ahead.

Identification

You do not need to bring any identification with you on the day.

Photographs and video

We ask that your guests refrain from taking photos during the ceremony, however, a nominated photographer may take photos of the entrance of the bride and on the exchange of rings. For reasons of data protection photographs cannot be taken of the actual signing of the marriage register. There will be plenty of opportunity for photos afterwards with a blank register.

Music and readings

Many couples choose to have music when the bride makes her entrance, while they sign the marriage register and as they exit the room together. If you would like to enhance your ceremony and make it more personal, you may wish to include readings or choose your own music (although please note that neither must be religious in nature). You should provide copies of any readings or titles of music choices to the Registrar before the ceremony.

Witnesses

The marriage ceremony will take approximately 20 minutes. Herefordshire registration service policy states that witnesses should be aged 18 or over and capable of understanding the events which have taken place. The minimum requirement is for two adults to witness the ceremony and sign the marriage schedule. If an interpreter is required they must sign as a witness.

Religious blessing after a ceremony

Marriages in approved premises may be followed by a religious blessing provided the Registrars have left the building. There must be a clear break between the civil ceremony and the religious proceedings. The blessing should not take place before the civil marriage ceremony.

Marriage certificates

From 4 May 2021 marriage records in England and Wales will be held on an electronic register.

What this means for you

You may need to make arrangements to order your marriage certificate depending on where you are getting married.

At your ceremony you and your partner will sign a marriage schedule or marriage document instead of the register on the day. You can each include up to four parents on the form (for example, mothers, fathers or step-parents).

After the marriage ceremony this document is sent to the local register office, where the details are added to the register. After that you can get your marriage certificate. You can order further copies of the marriage certificate.

In Herefordshire, if your ceremony is at:

One of our venues or an approved marriage and civil partnership venue

  • You will sign a marriage schedule and your marriage certificate will be posted to you after the details have been entered onto the electronic register

A religious building, but not Church of England

  • The marriage schedule will be issued by the Register Office in the district where your marriage will take place – and after the ceremony the signed schedule must be returned to that Register Office within 21 days
  • Details of the marriage will be entered onto the register within the following 7 days and a marriage certificate can then be issued
  • Marriage certificates will be available from the registration service in the area where your marriage took place

A Church of England building

  • You will sign a marriage document instead of the register during the ceremony
  • The minister or their representative will be expected to return the marriage document to the local Register Office within 21 days after the ceremony
  • Details of the marriage will be entered onto the register within the following 7 days and a marriage certificate can then be issued
  • Your marriage certificate will be available from the registration service in the area where your marriage took place