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Marriage - arrangement and ceremonies

I want to get married - what do I do first?
A civil marriage ceremony can take place in any register office in England or Wales or at any venue that has been approved to hold a civil marriage.

From 29th March 2014, same-sex couples may marry in all register offices and approved premises.

If you want to get married at a Church or Chapel, check with the venue - some would require a notice of marriage to be given at your district register office. Also, some venues would require the attendance of a registrar on the day.

Not all religious premises will offer same-sex marriages, you will need to check this when making the arrangements

These are questions that most people ask us, but if you find you need further information or want to book an appointment to give notice or check the date for your wedding then contact us at the Register Office.
How do I arrange to get married?
What is a Notice of Marriage?
What documents will I need to give notice?
Where can I marry?
What will the cost be?
What will happen on my Wedding Day?
I want to get married abroad - what do I do?

How do I arrange to get married?
You should first contact the superintendent registrar of the district where you wish to marry. You may provisionally book your marriage date with the superintendent any time prior to the marriage date, you will however need to pay a 50% non refundable deposit at the time of securing your chosen date. You may marry at any register office or, approved premises of your choice in England and Wales. However, for a marriage in an approved premises you will also need to make arrangements directly with the venue. For a marriage in a registered building, you may need a registrar to attend - please check with the venue. In addition, both parties need to personally give a formal notice of marriage to the superintendent registrar of the district(s) where you live.

You and your partner must also have lived within a registration district in England and Wales for a period of not less than seven days on the day you give formal notice of marriage.

What is a Notice of Marriage?
Before you can marry in Wales or England you must give formal notice of your intention to marry to the Superintendent Registrar of the district in which you reside. If you both live in the same district you should ideally attend your local register office together. If you live in different registration districts then each of you will need to give notice separately in your own district. You will need to make an appointment to do this.

After giving notice you must wait 28 clear days before the marriage can take place. (In some circumstances the waiting period may be extended up to 70 days).

A notice is valid for twelve months. You may not therefore give notice of marriage more than twelve months before the date of your marriage.

What documents will I need when I give Notice?
You will need to provide proof of your identity, age, nationality and home address to enter a legal notice of intent to marry. When you make your appointment with the Superintendent Registrar, you will be advised of the documents required for this purpose.

If either of you have married before, whether in this country or abroad and that marriage ended in divorce, you will need to show proof of your divorce.

If either of you was divorced in Wales or England we will need to see the court-stamped copy of the decree absolute (the final divorce document). If the divorce took place in a foreign country, we will need to see the original document issued by that country and an English translation if it is recorded in a foreign language. If no documents were issued in the foreign country we will tell you what we can accept as proof of the divorce.

If either of you is a widow or widower, we will need to see a certified copy of the death certificate of your late partner. In some cases, you may need to produce your marriage certificate.

If either of you is under 18, we will need to see proof that your parents or guardian agree to the marriage. If your parents are divorced we may also need to see the court order that gives custody to one of them.

The Superintendent Registrar will give you advice on this matter.

Where can I marry?
There are various options for marriages in Wales and England.

You can choose to marry by civil ceremony in any Register Office in Wales or England, even though you do not live in the district covered by that office. You may also marry by civil ceremony in any approved premises.

You may also marry in a registered building (church or chapel) situated in your registration district. You must have prior permission to do so from the minister, priest, etc.


The Merthyr Tydfil Register Office
Merthyr Tydfil Register Office is located in Ty Penderyn, 26 High Street, Merthyr Tydfil.
The town is renowned for its Iron industry and the Ironmaster Richard Crawshay. There are also many other famous people being connected to the town including Wales's best known composer Joseph Parry and fashion designer, Julien Macdonald.

We have two marriage venues at this location, the Register Office and the Fountain Room. The office is located on the upper ground level. The main entrance is at the corner of the building and there is a disabled and pram/buggy entrance at the side of the building . We are central for all local amenities and the surrounding area is suitable for photographs. Cyfarthfa Park, which just 5 minutes away, has several beautifully kept areas that are always popular for photographs.

The register office holds the Bride, the Groom and two witnesses and is available at the statutory fee, Monday to Thursday (normal office hours) 
The Fountain Room at Merthyr Tydfil is situated in the same building and holds a maximum of 62.   The 62 will consist of The Couple, the 2 witnesses, The Superintendent Registrar, Registrar and an allowance for 1 Photographer/Videographer followed by 55 guests.   

Marriages may take place at the Register Office or The Fountain Room, Merthyr Tydfil at the following times:

Monday-Thursday (Register Office)
Morning: 9.30 am - 11.30 am
Afternoon: 1.30 pm - 3.00 pm 
Monday-Friday (Fountain Room)
Morning:9.30am - 11.30pm
Afternoon: 1.30pm - 3.00pm

Saturday and Sunday (Fountain Room)
All day: 9.30am - 3.00pm

Approved Premises
Since 1st April 1995, civil marriages can take place in buildings other than a register Office as long as they have been approved by the local authority. These venues include castles, restaurants, hotels, civic buildings and country houses.

Marriages are not allowed to take place in the open air, in a tent, marquee or in temporary or moveable structures such as boats or hot air balloons.

Venues licensed to hold civil marriage ceremonies in the County Borough of Merthyr Tydfil are:-

Cyfarthfa Castle
The Guest Club, Dowlais
The Fountain Room, Ty Penderyn

Redhouse Old Town Hall-Hen Neuadd y Dref
See Approved venue search for further venues in England and Wales.

For details of marriages at Approved Premises, please telephone the Superintendent Registrar.

What will it cost me?
The fees for the attendance of the registration officers at marriages in approved premises are set by individual local authorities and will not be the same throughout the country. This is in addition to any fees charged by the premises. You will need to contact the premises you wish to be married in for information on the fees they charge.
What will happen on my Wedding Day?
You must agree the form of words to be used and any readings or music, with the Superintendent Registrar before the day of the wedding.

Before The Ceremony
The parties may decide to arrive together or separately, and they can either enter the marriage room together, or one of the parties can be escorted in to his/her waiting partner. If you are marrying in a register office or approved premise, the registrar will see you both in private before the ceremony. This is to check the details to be entered into the marriage register and to collect the fee. You will each be asked for the following information:
Your full name, age, occupation and the address of your residence on the day of your marriage.
The full name and occupation of your father and whether he is retired or deceased.
It is your responsibility to provide two witnesses to the marriage who are usually friends or relatives. They must be able to understand what is taking place and be able to give evidence of what they have seen and heard in the unlikely event that this should become necessary. We therefore ask that they be over the age of 16.

On your wedding day it is normal for us to request that your guests enter the marriage ceremony room prior to your arrival, so that your entrance is the first time they see you.

If arriving separately we would ask that Party 1 arrives 30 minutes before your scheduled ceremony time, your guests should arrive (and be encouraged to enter the ceremony room) 15-20 minutes prior to your scheduled booking and Party 2 should arrive 10 minutes prior to the scheduled ceremony time.

We only put out one team of registrars per day and more often than not, we will have more ceremonies before and/or after yours to attend, so it is vital that you and your guests arrive on time for the ceremony to begin.  Due to other marriage commitments, unfortunately, if either party is late arriving and your scheduled ceremony’s commencement is delayed, then it is possible that our staff will have no option but to leave your venue to conduct the next scheduled ceremony / ceremonies. Should this happen, we will do our very best to reschedule you at the end of that working day but it could be a lengthy delay for you and your guests.

During the ceremony
Background music is played before and after a marriage ceremony and readings are permitted as enhancements to a wedding. These must be non-religious. Couples may request or supply their own music for their marriage ceremony at the register office.

Video cameras can be used during the ceremony and a photographer is allowed to take photographs during the ceremony. Time will be given at the end for others to take photographs. Photographs are not allowed during the signing of the register.
Your ceremony will take a maximum of 30 minutes.

After the ceremony
Once the ceremony is over, the Registrar will ask you to check that your details have been correctly entered into the marriage register. Please check them carefully, as there can be problems if errors have to be corrected later. You will then be asked to sign the register in the name under which you contracted the marriage . Your two witnesses will then be asked to sign, followed by the Superintendent Registrar or Minister who conducted the marriage ceremony and finally, the Registrar.

Adding personal touches to your ceremony
Although you cannot incorporate any religious content into a civil marriage ceremony, you may be able to add individual touches such as non-religious music and/or readings.

I want to get married abroad, what do I do?
If you have any enquiries about marrying abroad, you should contact the Embassy or High Commission of the country concerned, who will advise you further.


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