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Step 1: Choosing How, When & Where

HOW - Types of marriage

Bride and Groom on bench: Image copyright Trish Photography The first step in planning and arranging a marriage ceremony is to decide what kind of marriage you would like. You can marry in either 2 was in Scotland - by a religious or belief ceremony or by a civil ceremony.

A civil marriage may take place in a registration office or at any place agreed between the registration authority and the couple and may be solemnised only by a registrar or an assistant registrar who is authorised by the Registrar General for that purpose.

A religious or belief marriage, may take place anywhere and can be solemnised only by a minister, clergyman, pastor, priest or other person approved to do so under the Marriage (Scotland) Act 1977.

HOW - Types of Civil Partnership

A civil partnership registration may take place in a registration office or at an approved place and may be registered only by a registrar or an assistant registrar who is authorised by the Registrar General for that purpose.

WHERE - Choosing WHERE to have your ceremony

Bride, Groom and Piper: Image copyright Trish Photography The next step is to decide where you would like to be married and the date.

If your ceremony is more than 3 months ahead, you may wish to secure the date and time of your ceremony at Gretna Registration Office in order to proceed with other arrangements i.e. wedding reception, honeymoon etc. If you would like to make an advance booking for a ceremony up to one year ahead please complete the pdf icon Enhanced Fees List Booking Form [205kb] (please see Step 3: Fees to pay for the correct fees.  The fees increased on 1 April 2015) and return with the appropriate fees. Do not send your M10s or CP10s at this time.

  • If you choose an approved venue for your ceremony then you should telephone that venue direct and check the availability of your preferred date. The venue will make arrangements on your behalf for a Registrar to conduct the ceremony.
  • If you opt for a religious marriage (which includes other belief systems) then you should contact the venue and also the person you wish to conduct the ceremony to ensure their availability. If you are planning a religious ceremony you will be required to attend the registrars office within 7 days of the date of your marriage to pick up the marriage schedule, which will allow the marriage to proceed

WHEN - Choosing WHEN to have your ceremony

Bride and Groom: image copyright Trish Photography Timing is important. Once you have determined a date you will need to ensure the legal requirements to your marriage or civil partnership are fulfilled. In every case you will need to do the following:-

1. Lodge your intention to marry or to enter in to a civil partnership with the Registrar in the district where it is taking place. This is done by each party completing an M10 form (Marriage Notice) for marriage or a CP10 form (Civil Partnership) for a civil partnership.

The minimum notice period is 29 days for both a marriage and civil partnership. Please be aware if you leave things late you could be faced with the need to postpone your ceremony.

The marriage notice form and civil partnership form may be downloaded or issued from any Registrar's office in Scotland. The notice forms can be handed into the Registrar's office or posted along with any other necessary documents and fees.

2. Although both parties do not need to attend personally to hand in your notice forms, if you are planning a religious marriage, you must attend the registrar's office within 7 days of the date of your marriage to collect the marriage schedule. This is required to allow the marriage to proceed.

Next - Step 2

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