Weddings are expensive. I think this is something that we are all aware of. However, even if you try to budget as much as possible, there are still some costs that are unavoidable. For example, you have to give notice, hire a registrar, and buy a marriage certificate.
Therefore, we’ve take it upon ourselves to help you out with this. It can be awful to be keeping to a budget only to have legal costs break the bank. We have scoured our sources to bring you the most up-to-date facts about the cost of the marriage process.
Our information is accurate for wedding ceremonies in England and Wales, and most of our prices come from the gov.uk website. Where we have listed the prices of different councils, make sure to check the information against your local area. All fees are accurate for 2019/2020 dates.
You know the line in every wedding rom com scene that causes a collective gasp? “If anyone here knows any reason these two should not be joined in matrimony, speak now or forever hold your peace.” Well, it can be a great dramatic twist to an onscreen romance, but it is mostly unnecessary. This is because couples have to give notice of their wedding beforehand. This doesn’t mean inviting people, but instead telling their local authorities about their plan to wed.
Both parties should visit their respective register offices and “give notice”. The formal notice is then published for anyone to object about the union (for legal reasons only) before the actual date. If both of you are British or EU citizens, then the process is relatively simple; just pay £35 per person to cover the administration. However, this cost can vary if either of you are from outside the European Economic Area, and could be up to £47 per partner.
You must give notice at least a month before the date of your wedding, and must marry within 12 months of giving notice.
In order for your marriage to be legal, a registrar must be present. Here, the price varies depending on where you are marrying. Typically, a registrar will cost £46 if you’re marrying at a registry office, or £86 at a registered religious building. However, prices will be different at approved premises. Check with your local area, as well as your planned venue.
For example, in Bath, prices vary from £200 (in the Guildhall’s Russell Room on a Monday to Thursday), to £490 (for a Sunday or bank holiday in an approved premises). In Essex, a registrar for a religious building costs £97, community venues range from £209 to £349, and approved premises start at £576, while a Sunday or public holiday wedding will cost you £626. In this area, any adjustments to your booking will cost you £25.
Remember that the above prices are just for the registrar to attend. You will need to pay the chosen venue as well. This is a surcharge for the venue, as well as needing to pay for room hire. This will vary wildly from venue to venue, so just make sure you read the small print carefully!
For example, you may choose to hold your ceremony and reception at the same venue and you may save some money. Priston Mill, in Bath, will charge you £150 to hold your civil ceremony at the venue. Meanwhile, Hunters Hall in Norfolk has a venue surcharge of £295.
Before we talk too much about how much certificates cost, we want to highlight the fact that this fee is sometimes included within venue hire. So, make sure you read the small print when you are budgeting.
Otherwise, a marriage certificate will typically cost £11. There are, as always, exceptions.
Certificates will be sent out within 15 working days of application. However, if you need yours urgently you can pay £35 for next day delivery. Also, if you do not have your GRO number (General Register Office) then you will need to pay an additional £3.
Furthermore, you will need to pay around £50 if you tied the knot abroad. If you need your certificate for use in another EU country, you will need an MSF (Multilingual Standard Form). This will typically cost you £22.
Aa you have seen, all of these steps can be a lot more complicated if you’re involving countries other than the UK. The same can be true if either you or your partner have been married before. Of course, part of the process of giving notice ensures you’re not already married. However, if you had a divorce, or an annulment, outside of the UK, then you will need to provide these documents. In ordered to have these checked, you’ll have to pay £50 to your local register office.
Changing your name
If you are a woman who chooses to take your husband’s surname, then you do not need to pay for a formal change of name. The same applies for if you keep your name, or, in the case of same-sex couples, if you take a combination of your surnames.
In all other circumstances, you must change your name by deed poll. This involves a fee of £36.
- Giving notice: £70
- Hiring a registrar: £46 and above
- Adjustments to your booking: varies
- Marriage certificate: £11
- Name change: £36
Of course, you may be happy to leave the price as these bare necessities, but it is likely that you will want to have more. Although there are ways to budget everything, most couples will want nice clothing, rings, and possibly a wedding cake.
If you are worried about more hidden costs of weddings, be sure to check out this article.
Finally, good luck in planning your wedding! We know how expensive it can be, and we thought it was important to shine a line on some common hidden costs. We hope you can find the venue of your dreams on our website. And, congratulations!