Marriage Certificates

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A marriage certificate is the record of the ceremony of marriage between two people. Civil registration began in England and Wales on 1st July 1837.

People who were entitled to issue a marriage certificate were a civil registrar, and a Church of England clergyman. Roman Catholic priests and ministers of non-conformist ministers were allowed from 1898.

For marriages taking place in England and Wales, approved locations are a church part of the Church or England or Church in Wales. Other locations are a register office. Most Register Offices are open between 10am and 4pm Monday to Friday, and on Saturday between 10am and 1pm. 18 months after the event is registered, a copy will be available at the General Register Office.

Any other building can be used for a marriage ceremony, provided it is approved for civil marriage. Also approved are religious buildings which are registered for the solemnisation of marriage. This would include Baptist, Christadelphian, Hindu, Independent, Jehovah's Witnesses, Latter-day Saints, Methodist, Moravian, Mosque, Pentecostal, Roman Catholic, Spiritualist, Unitarian, and United Reformed. The registration district of the building should be where one of the party should live. In some circumstances a Registrar will be present to register the marriage officially.

For marriage certificates issued in England and Wales, the following note is added:

'This certificate is issued in pursuance of section 65 of the Marriage Act 1949. Sub-section 3 of that section provides that any certified copy of an entry purporting to be sealed or stamped with the seal of General Register Office shall be received as evidence of the marriage to which it relates without any further or other proof of the entry, and no certified copy purporting to have been given in the said Office shall be of any force or effect unless it is sealed or stamped as aforesaid.'

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