If you intend to marry in Scotland you can have either a civil or a religious/belief marriage:
- A civil marriage is conducted by a registrar or assistant registrar who has been authorised by the Registrar General
- A religious/belief marriage is conducted by a clergyman, pastor, priest, minister or another person authorised by the Registrar General to do so.
Whether you choose a civil or religious/belief marriage the legal requirements remain the same.
Both parties to the marriage are required by law to complete and sign Marriage Notice forms (PDF 239Kb) and submit them to the registrar in whose district the marriage is to take place. Marriage Notice forms can be obtained from any registration office in Scotland.
If a couple are having a religious/belief or civil marriage in the registration district of East Ayrshire their Notice Forms can be submitted to us.
A signed Marriage Notice form is only valid for three months. By law the minimum period of notice that you must give the registrar before the date of your marriage is 29 days. We recommend submitting your marriage notice forms around 8 to 10 weeks before the date of your marriage ceremony.
The leaflet Marriage in Scotland (PDF 179Kb) (RM1), available from any registration office in Scotland, gives more guidance to marrying in Scotland.
Submitting your marriage notice form
It is recommended that Marriage Notice forms are submitted to the registrar ten weeks prior to the date of the marriage together with any additional documents the registrar may require and the appropriate fees.
Additional documents include:
- birth certificate for both parties
- proof of termination of a previous marriage where applicable (please note: if you are submitting a foreign divorce document you will need to complete a foreign divorce questionnaire (PDF 134Kb)
- passports (if applicable)
- proof of place of residence (utility bill no older than three months, bank statement no older than one month, most recent council tax bill or valid UK Driving Licence)
If you are subject to Immigration Control please read the information issued by the Home Office carefully at National Records of Scotland: Giving notice of marriage or civil partnership (PDF 92.2Kb).
The Declaration of Status by Non-UK Nationals form (130Kb) should be completed by all parties to a marriage or civil partnership whose nationality on their notice form is not shown as British.
An appointment should be made with the registrar to hand in Marriage Notice forms. This can be done in person or someone can do it on your behalf. Please see our contact details below.
If any of these documents are in a language other than English, a certified translation must be included.
All documents must be original - photocopies are not acceptable.
The registrar will check the documents and may retain them for examination later.
You will need to arrange for two people to be present to act as witnesses to your marriage. The two witnesses must be aged 16 years or over and must be capable of fully understanding the proceedings.
The registrar must be notified of the full names and addresses of both witnesses, please use our witness form (PDF 359Kb) form provided. If, for any reason, you wish to change the names of the witnesses please tell the registrar as soon as you can.
If you are having a religious/belief ceremony the registrar will give you details of when to collect your Marriage Schedule. The Marriage Schedule is the legal document the celebrant conducting your marriage requires; without this your marriage cannot proceed.
After your marriage, the schedule is returned to the registration office either by post or returned in person to our schedule postbox, where the marriage is registered and you can obtain copies of your marriage certificate on payment of the appropriate fee.
View our marriage and civil partnership fees.