On 4 May 2021, the long-trailed changes to the way marriages are registered come into force.
Clergy have already been sent links to the government's training pages.
Clergy may share the link to the online training with parish administrators – and it should be shared with churchwardens where the parish or benefice is in vacancy.
Register of Marriage Services,
Churches will need a new Register of Marriage Services which is now available to pre-order via this link:
Obtaining the Marriage Document
GRO will be sending out very clear information about the marriage document and where clergy can get it from. The free on-line admin tool provided by the Church of England www.lifeeventsdiary.org will be updated to enable printing of the marriage document after 4th May.
Charge for Marriage Certificate
From May 4th Marriage Certificates will be issued by the Register Office and not the church, so couples should no longer be charged for a certificate. The Fees table , fees form and fees information for couples will be updated to reflect this change.
How will this impact the work and responsibilities as a member of the Clergy?
What won’t change:
- You will still be required to ensure couples meet the requirements to marry in your building.
- You will still be required to ensure couples complete the relevant preliminaries, i.e.: the calling of banns, issue of common or special licence or, where required, the prior attendance of the couple at the relevant register office to give their notices of marriage in the correct timescale.
- You will still be required to conduct pre-marriage checks and confirm that the details contained on the marriage document or marriage schedule are correct before the marriage proceeds.
- The marriage will still be performed by Church of England or Church in Wales rites.
- You will still use registration ink to complete the marriage schedule.
What will change:
- You will be required to create a marriage document or obtain the marriage schedule prior to the date of marriage.
- You will no longer complete the formal register for the marriages you solemnize (There will still be a register kept by you for the records of your church).
- You will no longer issue the legal marriage certificates.
- The completed marriage document or marriage schedule must be returned to the register office for the registration to take place in the electronic marriage register before a certificate can be issued.
- You will no longer need to complete quarterly returns for marriages which take place in your building.
- You will no longer be responsible for corrections in marriage registers. After the changes are introduced, all corrections to marriage entries will be carried out by the registration officers or GRO.
- The electronic register will also allow for the names of parents of the couple (mother / father / parent) to be included in the marriage entry instead of only their fathers’ names as is currently the case.