Monday, 27 June 2011

Your wedding - your responsibilities

There is a lot to think about in the weeks and months running up to a wedding but one thing that you can't get away from is the fact that you must fill out and submit paperwork to the registrar to give notice of your intention to be married.

The paperwork is called an M10 Marriage Notice and can be collected from the registrars or downloaded from the General Register Office for Scotland website - here:
Each party must fill in a separate form so that the registrar can be satisfied that you are both aware of the proposed marriage.

The earliest that this can be done is 3 months before the wedding date and the latest is 15 days before. My advice is to do it three months in advance and get it out of the way. The registrar must be satisfied that you are free to marry each other and so you will need to provide divorce or annulment papers if either of you have been married before or a death certificate if either of you is a widow or widower. If either of you is not a UK citizen, please contact the registrar as soon as possible to check what paperwork you need to provide with your M10 form. There is a fee to be paid when you submit your forms and you'll find up to date details of this at the GRO website above.

The paperwork must be submitted to a register office in the district in which the marriage is to take place. Please check carefully the opening hours of the register office you want to use as some are only open on certain days for limited hours. You can submit your M10's by post but please be sure to attach the correct postage and my advice is to send it registered post. If it doesn't have the correct postage it will be rejected at the register office.

Once the registrar has your paperwork, he/she will prepare a Marriage Schedule which is the paperwork that we will sign on the day.

The Marriage Schedule must be collected by either the bride or the groom in person during the seven day period leading up to the wedding. Nobody else can collect it.

Please check that the details are correct when you collect it. It must be delivered to me before the marriage ceremony can commence. I can't start the ceremony until I have that piece of paper in my hand - there are no exceptions to this rule.

Once you have made the required legal declarations during the ceremony and I have pronounced or declared that you are husband and wife, the Marriage Schedule must be signed straight away in permanent black liquid ink. I will provide the fountain pen for this on the day.

Both the bride and groom sign, I sign and the two witnesses sign. The schedule must then be returned to the registrar from whom it was collected within three days so that the marriage can be officially registered. Anyone can do this. It does not have to be the bride or groom and it can be popped through the letterbox if the register office isn't open. You will then receive a marriage certificate to prove that you are married.

To summarise:
  • Fill out and submit the M10 forms to the registrar between three months and fifteen days before the wedding date
  • If you post them - make sure you attach the appropriate postage and send by recorded delivery.
  • Collect the Marriage Schedule from the registrar during the seven days before the wedding. Only the bride or groom can do this.
  • Deliver the schedule to me before the ceremony can commence.
  • Return the signed schedule to the register office within three days. Anyone can do this
For any queries about the legal paperwork side of things, the best person to speak to is the local registrar. They are helpful and knowledgeable and will keep you straight about things.

I will do my best to remind you about all of this and I always go over it when we meet but I can't emphasise this enough:


I make no apologies for putting the above in big bold block capitals - you do not want to get to four days before the wedding and suddenly realise that the M10's haven't been submitted.