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Legalities of getting married in West Sussex: A comprehensive guide

You’ve booked your dream wedding venue, but now what? We’re here to help you with the legalities of getting married in West Sussex

West Sussex is an ever-popular setting for weddings, and whether you live in the county or you’re planning to travel from further afield, we have the expertise to help you navigate the legal parts of getting married. Here, we have outlined a guide to help you get hitched without a hitch…

Getting married in West Sussex

If you have booked your wedding date and will be getting married in West Sussex, it’s time to set everything in motion. The first thing you need to do is book a registrar to conduct your ceremony. Contact the registration office local to your chosen wedding venue to book a registrar.

Giving notice of marriage

Before you can get married or enter into a civil partnership, you must give notice of your intention to marry at your local registration office. Unlike when you book a registrar to conduct the ceremony, you will need to contact the register office closest to where you live, not the register office that’s local to the wedding venue. Both you and your partner are required to give formal notice of marriage in person.

If you live in West Sussex, you can phone to make an appointment to give notice at a registration office in either Chichester (01243 642122), Crawley (01243 642122), Horsham (01243 642122) or Worthing (01243 642122). However, if you live outside of West Sussex, you will need to contact the registration office in your own district. If you and your partner live in different districts, you will need to go to separate registration offices.

When you book your appointment, you will be told all of the documents you will need to take with you to give evidence of your full name, nationality and current address. The appointment to give notice of marriage usually lasts around 30 minutes. You are legally required to have lived in your district for at least nine days before giving notice at your local registration office. Keep this in mind if you plan to relocate or aren’t currently living with your partner.

When to give notice of marriage

You must give notice of marriage between 12 months and 28 days before your wedding ceremony. The notice of marriage is only valid for 12 months, so you cannot give notice more than a year before the wedding date. After you have given notice, there is a waiting period before your legal paperwork can be issued and your marriage can take place; this is a minimum of 28 days. The West Sussex County Council recommends giving notice at least four months before the wedding is due to take place.

Whether you’re getting married in West Sussex or not, there is a fee for giving notice of marriage or civil partnership. Remember to include this fee when you are working out your budget. You will be told the price when you book your appointment, but it is between £35 and £47.

Ceremony Choices

You will be invited to complete a document outlining your ceremony choices ahead of the wedding day. This will help you personalise your ceremony and become a guide for the registrar. This document will include a choice of vows, readings and the names of the witnesses. Something to note: it is unlikely that you will meet your registrar ahead of the wedding day. They will be in touch a day or two before the ceremony to introduce themselves and answer any last-minute questions.

The registrars will go through the ceremony with you both separately on the wedding day. You will usually meet with them just before you go to the ceremony space. This takes around ten minutes, and you will confirm all of the details you gave when you gave notice of marriage before the ceremony can begin.

After getting married in West Sussex

Your legal wedding certificate will be issued to you in the week following the wedding. If you are getting married in West Sussex, this can take up to 10 days. You will receive your certificate in the post.

Book a visit to Brookfield Barn, and we can help you make your wedding dreams a reality. Give our friendly team a call on 01403 900606.

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