FAQs: Marriages and Civil Partnerships

Do we have to be resident in the area to have a marriage or civil partnership in Moray?

You do not have to be a resident in the local area; anyone can have their ceremony in Moray. You must be 16 years old or more and otherwise not prevented from entering into marriage/civil partnership. This extends to the whole of the UK and any part of the world.

How much notice am I required to give the registrar before I want to get married or have a civil partnership ceremony?

You must both complete and submit a marriage/civil partnership notice form, including supporting documents and fee, to the registrar for the district in which the marriage is to take place. The notices must be submitted early enough to satisfy the registrar that you are free to commit one another. Marriage/civil partnership notices should be submitted no later than 29 days before the date of the proposed ceremony. Be aware that if you leave things this late then you may be faced with the need to postpone your special day.

What are the implications of civil partnerships regarding death and succession for same-sex couples?

Civil partnership gives same-sex partners the same rights of inheritance as marriage.

I want to register the marriage/civil partnership as a ‘surprise’ for my partner. Is this possible?

No. By law both parties of the marriage/civil partnership are required to submit notice forms to the registrar of the district in which the registration of the marriage/civil partnership is to take place.  This means that both parties must independently complete and sign the declaration on the marriage/civil partnership forms.  Failure to give proper notice can result in registration of the marriage/civil partnership being postponed or prevented from proceeding.

What do I need to provide for a marriage/civil partnership ceremony?

When giving or sending the marriage/civil partnership notices to the registrar, you must both supply the following:

  • your birth certificate;
  • proof of residency (eg. utilities or council tax bill—dated within the last three months);
  • evidence of your nationality (eg. passport)—if you are not a British citizen or were born after 1st January 1983;
  • a decree of divorce or dissolution or annulment or a certified copy decree—if you have been married or in a registered civil partnership before and the marriage or civil partnership has been dissolved or annulled;
  • death certificate of your former civil partner or spouse—if you are a surviving civil partner or widow or widower; and
  • marriage/civil partnership notice fees.

Please note: If any of these documents are in a language other than English a certified translation in English must also be provided.

If you and the person you are registering a marriage/civil partnership with are related in any way, please contact the registrar’s office for advice.

Please do not delay giving notice simply because you are waiting for any of these documents to come to hand. If time is getting short, it is better to give notice first and then pass the documents to the registrar when you have them. Remember they must be made available to the registrar before the marriage/civil partnership ceremony.

If you are subject to immigration controls, notice of marriage/civil partnership cannot be accepted until specific conditions have been met. For further information, please contact any registrar’s office.

What should we do before our marriage/civil partnership is solemnised?

First, complete a marriage/civil partnership notice form and arrange for the date and time of your marriage/civil partnership ceremony as early as possible. In particular, you should:

  • make advance arrangements with the registrar - this is important if you want a special or popular date;
  • arrange for two people, aged 16 years or over, to be present at your ceremony to act as witnesses; and
  • be sure to let the registrar know if you change your plans or decide to postpone your marriage/civil partnership registration.

Where can a marriage/civil partnership ceremony take place?

A marriage/civil partnership ceremony may take place at any registrar’s office. It may also be held at any other venue agreed between you and your partner, the senior registrar and venue owner. A civil partnership can only be registered by a registrar who has been authorised by the Registrar General.

Who can have a civil partnership registered?

Any two people, regardless of where you live, may have your civil partnership registered in Scotland provided that you are:

  • of the same sex; both at least 16 years of age on the day they wish to register their civil partnership;
  • not related to each other in a way which would prevent them registering their civil partnership;
  • each unmarried or not already registered as a civil partner (any person who has already been married must produce documentary evidence that the previous marriage has been ended by death, divorce, annulment or dissolution); and
  • capable of understanding the nature of a civil partnership and of consenting to its formation.

Why can't I sign the register page with my own pen?

The ink used for registers must be of a quality to ensure a clear and permanent record. Ballpoint pen ink can fade in time and can also be erased. Using the pen provided by the registrar ensures security and longevity of your signature.

What documents will I receive after the marriage/civil partnership ceremony?

After the marriage/civil partnership has been entered in the register, the registrar will give you an extract of the entry. All extracts incur a small fee.

Can our ceremony guests throw confetti?

Many venues will allow confetti to be thrown outside their premises, however always check with the person who is going to conduct your ceremony.

I want to register a marriage/civil partnership abroad. What documents will I need to provide?

You should contact the Consulate/Embassy for the relevant country for advice on what documentation will be required.

I am registering a marriage/civil partnership abroad and require my birth extract ‘authenticated’. How do I go about this?

An authentication can be provided by NRS for a fee.

Please note: an authentication is not acceptable to every foreign government and some ask for an ‘apostille’ to be written on the back of an extract.  This procedure is governed by international convention and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office is responsible for adding this. If you require an ‘apostille’, please contact the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.

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