Registration of Marriages

Your responsibility is to ensure that the legal requirements of marriages solemnized in accordance with the rites and ceremonies of the Church of England are met; this includes marriage preliminaries, authority for the marriage, the solemnization of the marriage and the completion of the marriage document/schedule.

For full details of the legal requirements see the Guidebook for Clergy


The Marriage Document 

This records the details of the parties to the marriage, the witnesses and the officiating minister and is used by the registrar to record the detail of the marriage in a central electronic marriage register.

The marriage document is used only for marriages following ecclesiastical preliminaries, i.e. Banns, a Common Licence, or an Archbishop of Canterbury’s Special Licence. When it has been signed by the parties to the marriage, the witnesses, and the officiating minister, it is your responsibility to return it to the local register office. Alternatively, and with your agreement, the parties or a relative can return the marriage document to the local register office on your behalf. Once received at the register office the marriage is registered, in the electronic register (Registration Online, RON), and the parties can then be issued with a marriage certificate.

Register of Marriages 

In addition to the electronic marriage register, all churches need to hold a physical Register of Marriages. They are available to be purchased from Church House Publishing here. 

Every church building needs to have its own register. It cannot be shared between churches in a benefice or even multiple buildings within a parish. 

If for any reason a register of marriages has been shared between places then a new register for each additional building should be purchased and the Archdeacon's office consulted as to correct entries. Please do not copy entries across as legal advise needs to be followed to correct any marriages entered in error.

Banns of Marriage

The preliminaries for a marriage according to the rites of the Church of England or the Church in Wales should be either entirely ecclesiastical or civil, i.e. in no circumstances should there be publication of banns in respect of one party and the issue of a superintendent registrar’s schedule for the other.

Please refer to the Faculty Office booklet:  “Anglican Marriage in England and Wales. A guide to the law for Clergy.” This can be ordered from the Faculty Office here.

Every church building needs to have its own record of Banns read. It cannot be shared between churches in a benefice or even multiple buildings within a parish. 



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