For couples planning a wedding abroad, getting married in England can be appealing for many reasons, but planning a ceremony in the British Isles can be more challenging than first assumed.
England is a stately country with a rich, elegant history and sophisticated culture perfect for romantic, memorable nuptials. Furthermore, American citizens may prefer getting married in England over more exotic destinations because it is an English-speaking nation, which makes many arrangements easier, particularly for communicating legalities and other precise details. The country's mild climate is suitable for celebrations all year round, and the wide range of venue options allows couples to choose just the setting they desire to begin their happily ever after.
Getting Married in England: Legal Requirements
The legal requirements for a wedding in England are far more stringent than in many other nations. A couple must be wed at an approved location for the ceremony to be legally valid, and other steps must be appropriately followed, including:
- Contacting the superintendent registrar of the district where the wedding will take place or making arrangements with the venue. If a couple does not plan to marry in a church or other religious venue, they must register in person at the appropriate office.
- Submitting proper documentation, including birth certificates, passports and, if necessary, divorce papers or death certificates for previous spouses. If either the bride or groom is under the age of 18, parental consent must be obtained. All documents must be originals - photocopies are not acceptable.
- Abiding by residency requirements. A certificate wedding requires the couple to be residents of the district for seven days prior to registering their wedding, and the ceremony cannot take place for an additional 21 days after that registration. A more expensive yet faster option is a special license wedding, and the couple must be residents for 15 days prior to the registration but the wedding can then take place one fully clear day after the registration (typically two days later).
- Two witnesses are necessary at the ceremony.
- All legal weddings must take place in approved, registered venues.
These legal requirements can be daunting, but couples can easily accommodate the legalities of their nuptials and plan stunning celebrations to honor their commitment.
Popular England Wedding Venues
There are only four types of locations where legal weddings may take place in England: at the register's office, in a building approved for a civil marriage (no civil marriages may take place outdoors), at an Anglican church, or at a different religious building officially registered for marriages. While this may seem to limit the choices a couple has when deciding on their wedding venue, there are actually many stunning locations suitable for elegant, gorgeous ceremonies, including:
- Cathedrals, churches, chapels, temples, and other religious buildings
- Renovated barns and other rustic options
- Estate homes, mansions, and villas
- Luxury restaurants
- Country clubs and resorts
- Formal halls
While the wedding ceremony itself must take place in an approved location, couples should note that the reception and photographs can still be held outdoors, making the entire range of stunning English scenery available to couples to create their fantasy wedding setting.
Additional Tips for England Weddings
When choosing to get married in England, couples may want to secure the services of an experienced wedding planner to help them coordinate each detail for a flawless day. After deciding on a general location - London or Kent, for example - couples can research wedding planners familiar with that area. Other tips to remember include:
- Climate: While the temperatures in England can be pleasantly mild, rain can also be a constant threat. Couples should be sure to make alternative arrangements in case of inclement weather.
- Transportation: English traffic laws dictate driving on the left side of the road, and while couples are fulfilling their residency requirements they should carefully monitor their transportation for safety.
- Cost: One United States dollar is worth slightly less than half of a British pound, which can make planning a wedding in England much more expensive than a similar celebration in the United States. Couples should carefully plan their budget to avoid expensive extras they might assume they can afford elsewhere.
For more information and tips for England nuptials, visit:
Other British Isle Locations
In addition to England, there are several other lovely countries in the British Isles that would make fabulous wedding locations. Wales, Scotland, and Ireland are all popular options, or couples could take in a bit of each country with a British Isles cruise for their wedding or honeymoon.
Great Britain, and England especially, is filled with a rich history, stunning scenery, and gentile hospitality that can make any wedding day a dream come true. With careful planning, couples can make the fantasy of getting married in England their happily ever after reality.