A civil marriage ceremony can vary from a simple and dignified ceremony in the Register Office in the presence of two witnesses, or a larger audience to a lavish ceremony in an approved venue such as a hotel.
There will be two registrars at your ceremony; one to conduct the ceremony and the other to register your marriage. You must bring two witnesses with you to the ceremony.
If either partner is unable to speak or understand English, an interpreter must be present at the wedding. This must be discussed before the wedding with the registrar.
If you wish to be married in a church you must discuss this with the minister. If the church is Church of England, Banns will have to be called in the church. This will be done by the vicar. If you wish to marry in any other religious venue, notice of marriage will need to be given to the Superintendent Registrar in the area in which you live. Contact your local registrar for more information about this.
The marriage act covers equal marriage, this allows two people of the same sex to marry - giving them the same rights as an opposite sex couple.
Make an appointment
To make an appointment at Gateshead Register Office, phone 0191 433 3000.
The couple both need to give notice of marriage together in the place in which they live. There is a statutory fee for these notices, see our fees and charges for more information. You should both attend together unless there are special circumstances. If you and your partner live in different registration districts, you will need to attend to give notice in your own area. Your partner does not need to go with you to do this. There is a legal requirement to have lived in the district for a minimum of eight clear days prior to giving notice. Your notice will be displayed in the register office for 28 clear days before the authority to marry will be issued. If you live in Gateshead, please book an appointment using the contact details below.
You will be asked to bring the following documents:
Evidence of identity and nationality
- a current valid passport
- birth certificate
Anyone born in the United Kingdom before 1 January 1983 is automatically entitled to British nationality. The nationality of anyone born in the United Kingdom after 1 January 1983 is dependent upon the British nationality of their parents at the time of their birth.
Therefore if you were born after 1 January 1983 and do not have a valid passport you must also produce your mother's birth certificate as well as your full birth certificate showing parents details. If your mother was not born in the UK please contact Gateshead Register Office for advice.
Proof of name and address
To establish address one of the following documents must be provided:
- utility bill dated no more than three months before the date on which it is received by the superintendent registrar
- bank or building society statement dated no more than one month before the date on which it is received by the superintendent registrar
- council tax bill dated no more than one year before the date on which it is received by the superintendent registrar
- mortgage statement dated no more than one year before the date on which notice of marriage is given
- current residential tenancy agreement
- valid United Kingdom driving licence (full or provisional issued by the United Kingdom, Isle of Man or Channel Islands)
This is not an exhaustive list - if you are in doubt about what to bring please telephone Gateshead Register Office for advice.
Proof of freedom to marry
- if divorced - a Decree Absolute must be shown and this must be a certified copy with an official stamp and not a photocopy. A Decree Nisi is not acceptable. If divorced outside the UK you also need a translation of the divorce document. If your divorce was granted outside of the UK, Channel Islands or Isle of Man a translation of the divorce document will need to be provided. There will also be an additional fee payable to have your documents checked. Visit Gov.uk for more information.
- if widowed - an original Death Certificate must be shown. The person giving notice must be named on the death certificate as the wife/widow of, or the husband/widower of the deceased. If not named on the death certificate, you will also need to provide an original copy of the marriage certificate.
Marriages involving EU or EEA nationals
In order to marry in England or Wales a Registrar must attest a notice of marriage. The General Register Office has advised that there is no intention to make any changes to the existing scheme on or immediately after the UK has left the EU. The longer-term position remains unclear, but EU and EEA citizens seeking to marry in 2019 and early next year can be reassured that their marriage will not be affected by changes.
Getting married abroad
Visit Gov.uk for information about the documents you might need to arrange a marriage or civil partnership ceremony abroad.
We cannot take a notice of marriage without your original documents and we do not want you to have a wasted journey. For more information visit the Gov.uk website.