Thursday, June 28, 2007

Making It Legal

Thinking about the legalities of a wedding isn't as much fun as putting together the creative elements - but it has to be done and believe it or not, some people leave it too late!

Here is what you have to do to be legally married in a Humanist ceremony in Scotland:

Choose a date, venue and celebrant and confirm arrangements with them.

Choose two witnesses.

Get in touch with the nearest registrar to your venue (not your home), tell them where you are getting married (to make sure they are the nearest) and ask them for the forms. You can find a list of offices in the Edinburgh area here

Fill in the forms and send them back to the registry office no earlier than 3 months and no later than 6 weeks before the wedding. Sometimes you can put your forms in later than this but this is the exception not the rule. You will also have to supply the registrar with your birth certificates.

One week before the wedding one of you can pick up the Marriage Schedule (the piece of paper you, the witnesses and your celebrant signs on the day) and you must do this in person.

On the day of the wedding the most important thing to remember is to bring the Marriage Schedule with you (some people forget!). This must be signed in permanent black ink using a fountain pen (don't worry - I bring this with me).

The Marriage Schedule must be returned to the registrar within three working days and can be taken back by anyone (this was traditionally the best man's job but that all depends on how much you trust your best man).

You will then be issued with your wedding certificate.

The Venue: as designated by the Registrar General, it must be 'safe and dignified'. Interpret that how you will, but Humanists have conducted weddings in nightclubs and atop munros.

The Registrars: are always very helpful and will go out of their way to assist you if you are having difficulty getting hold of paperwork or you are working to a tighter deadline. If you have lost your birth certificate and are worried about getting another one, if your venue cancells your booking at the last minute, if you are waiting for divorce papers to come through before you can put your forms into them, or any other problems with the paperwork - tell them as soon as possible.

Further information on marrying in Scotland can be found here

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