Getting Married Explained: What do I really need to do?

Getting Married Explained: What do I really need to do?


We’re a major provider of photo booth services to parties and events in Buckinghamshire and the surrounding area. During our time, we’ve set up booths at celebrations of just about every sort. But a sizeable chunk of our trade comes from weddings.

A great wedding often depends on hundreds of elements coming together– but they could all, technically, be dispensed with. What matters is the core of the wedding. No, we’re not talking about true love (though that definitely helps); we’re talking about the technical change in your legal status that occurs when you tie the knot.

But what are those technical changes? And how do you make them? Let’s take a quick tour of the steps that make the difference between a wedding and any other big posh party.

Giving Notice

You can’t technically just get married at the drop of a hat; you’ll need to provide the relevant authorities with notice of the impending change. This is basically a written statement (which you’ll be signing) which informs your local register office of the time, place, and type of ceremony. You’ll need to give notice at least 29 days before the wedding itself, in person. You’ll book an appointment at a given time, and pay a small administrative fee. Once notice is given, you’ll have twelve months to go through with the wedding.

Giving notice requires that you prove who you are, where you live and what your plans are. Your driving licence or a recent bank statement will prove your address. If you’ve been divorced or widowed, you’ll need to bring along a decree absolute or final order (in the case of divorce) or your former spouse’s death certificate (if you’ve been widowed). If you’re marrying a foreign national, you may also need to provide their visa, as well as a passport-sized photo of both of you. Divorcees will need to pay a little extra to have their extra documents checked.

All of your paperwork will need to be in English – but a translation accompanying the original is fine. If your circumstances are unusual in the slightest, then give your register office a call. They’ll be able to answer your questions!

What Venues are Available?

Things get a little complicated depending on whether the ceremony will take place in a religious venue or not. This is especially so if you’re gay, as certain venues, like Anglican churches, will be off-limits. If you’re not religious, you might want to instead get married in a secular venue, like a hotel.

In either case, your venue may come with its own licensed registrar; if not you’ll need to pay extra to bring one in. The exact cost of the registrar will vary depending on the venue, with the register office tending to be the cheapest.

Do we need to Exchange Vows?

For your marriage to be binding, you must verbally consent to it. That’s the ‘I do’ bit. Your vows can actually be personalised to a considerable degree, and your wedding will probably feel a lot more special if you vary the formula at least slightly. Be sure to run any proposed changes by your registrar before the big day – the chances are that they’ll have an informed opinion.

Civil ceremonies are rounded off by signing the paperwork. You’ll need two witnesses present to sort this out – both of them over 16 and of sound mind. If you’re planning a religious ceremony, then might be exempt from this, so be sure to check where your venue stands. The citizen’s advice bureau provides a detailed explanation.


Find Out More About Our Booths