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gentlehobbit in dw_britglish

On Weddings, next question

I've poked around quite a few UK government and wedding advice sites since my last questions, but I can't find an answer to these three questions:

Does a couple (in England) have to complete their Marriage Notice Form at the Registrar, or can they download it, fill it out and sign it at home and then bring it in with their required documents (birth certificate, passport, driver's licence, etc. etc.) at the time they're giving notice?

Are any witnesses or "guarantors" needed to sign the Notice Form as well (rather like on a passport form)?

Also, what exactly does it mean when the Registrar "makes a schedule" for the couple once the 15 days of posting the Notice Form has finished? To me, a schedule is like a time-table, detailing several things that all have different times. However, from context, it seems just as if this is the wedding date? Or is it more a period of time in which the wedding is allowed to take place? Or is it open spots in the Registrar's own schedule when he or she is willing to perform the ceremony? If it's a period of time, can it begin pretty much as soon as the 15 days are over?

Thank you for any help.


It may have changed since 2004 when I did it, but back then you did it all there - in fact the official filled in the form all but our signatures. If you can't find the form online, that would suggest you can't.

If you have UK passports and utility bills showing address, then no guarantors needed. You might if one person is a foreign national - especially from a country where many people try sham UK marriages for immigration - especially the ones without English as a first language...

'Makes a schedule' I think is just scheduling an appointment for the wedding - I remember being suddenly clueless about whether we cared which day it was on and what time but having to answer. Though I imagine you could always come back to pick a date if really necessary. We were doing the paperwork in the borough where we lived, as required, but wanted to marry in the next borough as Wandsworth registry office is lovely inside (and MrK worked next to it!), so I'd assumed we'd have to check the date with Wandsworth, but turned out they were on the same bookings system as Fulham.
Thanks for your answers! I haven't found any direct place one can download a form for England, but there does seem to be places to download it for Scotland and Ireland. I know that those two countries occasionally differ with their laws and procedures, so I'm not necessarily taking that as "proof". However, given that I also haven't seen any of the English sites state that the form absolutely must be completed at the Registrar's, then unless anyone at DWBritglish knows for sure that one can't, I'd really like to use the form for a scene I've planned in my story.

The couple in question would still take their completed forms in to the Registrar along with their proper documents at the same time so that the Notice can be posted for 15 days, etc.,, and so that the Registrar can be satisfied that all the legalities are being followed. The marriage would take place some time after the 15 days (probably another two weeks after that).

Do you think that scenario would be okay, given there is no direct instruction on the internet one way or another about the forms? Would it be plausible?

Thanks again for your help! :)
Scotland does more than "occasionally" differ - it's a completely different legal system. Things got tightened up in the 19th and 20th centuries, but the formalities in Scotland moved from shockingly lax to, I think, still easier than in England and Wales.
Completely different legal system? Wow. Off to Google I go...
The USA system is closer to that in England and Wales than the one in Scotland is!
Yeah. I'd need to go and ask a "USA-pickery" site to know about them too. :)

Now i've done my Googling, I know a little more about "Scots-law"... :)
If you can't find the form for download, there's probably a good reason... (And remember that not only does Scotland have a separate legal system, but Ireland is an entirely separate, independent country! So nothing from Ireland can be seen as a precedent for England or the wider UK.)
Yes, I know about Ireland. I suppose I use that name in context, so... Ireland (as in "Northern" and as opposed to Scotland, Wales or England within the UK), or Ireland (the island near the European mainland and the rest of the British isles) or Ireland (as in Eire/Republic of Ireland).

It's really, really important to specify "Northern Ireland" if you don't mean the Republic of Ireland.
You don't complete your own form, the Registrar completes it for you based on answers you give. And since part of the point is that you and your (hopefully) spouse-to-be are privately asked questions about each other, they don't want you knowing in advance what the questions are.

No witnesses or anything like that required. Just ID - generally proof of identity and proof of residency, and if appropriate then proof of eligibility to marry. Foreign nationals can require extra checks, but my husband (German) didn't get put through them as we're presumably a very low-risk category for forced marriages.

I... genuinely am not sure what the making a schedule thing means. But we booked our wedding date almost a year before giving notice, so it can't simply mean that. You can't give notice more than 12 months in advance but if you want to book your venue that far out then you'll need to book the Registrars at the same time. So we booked our venue/Registrars in... April 2012 I think, for a June 2013 wedding. We gave notice in our home town in February 2013, went to the Registry Office associated with the venue (as we got married 100 miles from where we live) in April 2013 - which was actually a bit earlier than they were happy with even though it was within their own guidelines, but we couldn't get down again on a weekday before the wedding.

And the Registrar you give notice to will not necessarily be one of the ones who conducts your ceremony - even if you're getting married in your home county. It's all random who you see at any time and you don't find out who's conducting your ceremony until you meet them with 15 minutes to go. (I know! It's a bit rubbish really. Fortunately we got a really, really good registrar so no cause for complaint, but it was nervewracking not knowing. And I think I'm glad that I only found out later that the third registrar present was not, as I thought, a trainee but an inspector. She was only introduced to me by name, no explanation given as to why she was there.)

If you're finding this all a bit hard to work out don't worry - I went through the whole process without really knowing what was going on. The information available is all very patchy, and if you have the misfortune to be marrying where there's an uncommunicative council then it really can feel like flying blind. (I rang mine ahead of our meeting because we had to have decided vows, readings and music ahead of that meeting... but they had provided no guidance on any of those things like duration, number, content etc. I was told, rather curtly, that if we didn't know what we wanted yet then we shouldn't be having the meeting. As if guidance was going to rain down from heaven the sky if we held the meeting 4 weeks later.)
Wow. That bit about the forms completed with private questions really answers what I needed to know. Oh well. Back to the drawing board again! :) Thank you for that info. I would have had a scene that really didn't make sense!

That business with not knowing who your Registrar is going to be really does sound rather nervewracking! I'm glad that you got a good one in the end, even if there was an unexplained extra person present.

Thank you so much for your answers!
you and your (hopefully) spouse-to-be are privately asked questions about each other

Wow - I am gobsmacked by this! (I'm English but haven't ever bothered getting married). Would you be happy to give a couple of examples of the questions? I think we'd have failed - I only found out two weeks ago that my OH has German 'O' Level, and we've been together over twenty years. And he doesn't know what my father's name was, for example, because my father died a loooong time ago and the subject has never come up.
They're very easy, just confirming the same information you're giving about yourself. And they use some common sense anyway - I couldn't remember my husband's actual job title and it turned out I said something different to him, but obviously close enough that they weren't concerned. (He's a software engineer/consultant/programmer/something.)

There were definitely no questions about fathers' names because we discussed afterwards the fact that we would both have tripped up on them. I didn't know his dad has middle names, and he didn't know my dad has none.

If you're in a genuine relationship, there's no reason you wouldn't pass that section of the interview. Unless one partner has lied for years about never having been married before - but then comes clean to the Registrar. But I doubt that happens often. (Oh, unless you've been creative with your age! But by the time you're getting married you probably should be being honest about that...)
Thanks for the explanation! I had no idea at all that this was happening.
We got asked each other's middle names. That was embarrassing. Neither of us had ever bothered to ask each other, given that we never actually use them.
Wow, how awful - it sounds as if the Registrar must have quite a lot of discretion as to whether they believe it's a genuine relationship or not!
Ooops! That was easy for us as even if we hadn't known the situation for years, it had come up a lot during our (endless - actually still not entirely concluded) debates about The Name Changing Situation.