Weddings and Getting Married in Essex
Getting married in the county of Essex
The county of Essex is one of the most delightful places to get married in the country. With the options of either marrying in a church, a register office or one of Essex's 111 approved premises for a civil ceremony, if you're planning your wedding in Essex you've made a great choice already.
Places to get married in Essex
If you are looking at some of the council approved wedding venues in Essex for your marriage, then you must first contact the wedding venue and make a provisional booking with them for your required wedding date.
Once you've decided on where you want to get married, you must the contact the register office in the actual district where the wedding venue is located. A provisional booking for your Essex Register Office wedding can be made up to twenty four months in advance. Once you've made your initial contact with the registration officers they will guide you through the process, conduct a short interview with you both, and help you complete the necessary forms required. These are the registrars that will actually officiate your wedding vows at the venue.
If you live outside of the Essex district you are planning for your wedding venue, then you will need to contact the district that you actually live in, to give a Notice of Marriage to a Superintendent Registrar at least 12 months before your wedding day.
Both of you must have resided in a district in England or Wales for at least 7 whole days immediately prior to giving a Notice of Marriage.
This Notice of Marriage will then be displayed upon their public notice board for 15 days, after which, provided all documentation has been received and cleared, a certificate for marriage to proceed may be issued, and collected from them at any time.
Essex county is divided into 14 local government districts.
They are Harlow, Epping Forest, Brentwood, Basildon, Castle Point, Rochford, Maldon, Chelmsford, Uttlesford, Braintree, Colchester, Tendring, Thurrock, and Southend-on-Sea. The boroughs of Thurrock and Southend are unitary authorities which form part of the county for various functions but do not come under county council control. Your chosen wedding venue will be able to inform you which of these districts their premises fall under.
Civil Ceremonies in Essex
If you opt for a civil ceremony at one of the approved premises in Essex, the actual marriage ceremony only lasts around 20 minutes or less. Starting with a short introduction by the Superintendent Registrar, the bride and groom are then asked to repeat their wedding vows. During your meeting with the registrars you will be asked which set of vows you'd like to use, or you can write your own wedding vows. There are a few legally required vows and commitments (check the Essex county website for list of Statutory words), but writing your own wedding vows is fully acceptable and encouraged. No religious music or words are allowed at any point during the ceremony. This includes popular music that may use religious words, such as heaven or even Robbie Williams Angels for example.
Once the vows have been exchanged, and wedding rings also exchanged if you wish, then the Superintendent Registrant will state that the couple have made the declarations required by law, and announce you as the new husband and wife.
After that, you are asked to sign the register and it concludes the civil ceremony.
Church Weddings in Essex
If you are planning to get married in any of Essex's beautiful churches, apart from a church belonging to the Church of England (marriage according to the rites of the Church of England), it is still necessary for you to give formal notice of your marriage to the Superintendent Registrar of the district(s) that you reside.
If you are planning your wedding in a Church of England, banns will usually be called but, however if they are not called, it is then necessary for you to give your notice of marriage by Certificate without Licence in the district where you both reside. Notice cannot be given by Certificate and Licence. We recommend you ensure your have discussed this fully with both the registrar and the Church of England representative before your undertake any bookings.
Marriages in a church that is in a different district to where you both live can only happen if you usually go their to worship in that building. Again, we recommend you discuss this with the registrar's office.
The church will generally have an appointed person who will conduct your wedding ceremony. You will need to meet this person, and discuss your marriage, and often have a trial at the church ahead of your wedding day. Should the church or religious building not have a nominated person, a registrar from the Essex district that covers the area the building is in, must be present at the wedding.
Please note, this is just intended as a useful guide for people wanting to get married in Essex, should you wish to find out the full requirements and details on places to get married in Essex, then please look at the Essex County Council website.