How to plan a same sex wedding in England and Wales

Two women kissing each other

Same sex weddings will be held in England and Wales from 29th March 2014.

The government is urging same sex couples in England and Wales wishing to be among the first to marry to give notice to their local register.

For most marriages or civil partnerships you must give at least 16 days’ notice at your local register office. To give formal notice you should contact your local register office and make an appointment. There might be different rules for religious ceremonies.

Same sex couples who married abroad under foreign law and were treated as civil partners are from 13th March 2014 recognised as being married in England and Wales.  

Same sex weddings in some British consulates and overseas armed forces bases will be possible, and arrangements for same sex weddings in military chapels will be in place from June 2014.

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The Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act 2013 became law in July 2013 in England and Wales.

It allows same sex couples to marry in civil ceremonies. It also allows same sex couples to marry in religious ceremonies, where the religious organisation has ‘opted in’ to conduct such ceremonies and the minister of religion agrees.

The law protects religious organisations and representatives who don’t wish to conduct marriages of same sex couples from successful legal challenge.

The law enables civil partners to convert their partnership to a marriage. It also enables married individuals to change their legal gender without having to end their marriage.