Some of you may already have heard about forthcoming changes to Marriage Law and the Registration of Marriages.


The first change that the Government is making is to the system of Registering Marriages. This is a major revision to the system and will come into effect on 4th May. Marriages solemnized on or after that date will need to follow the new procedures. We are attaching the information that the General Register Office has issued thus far. This document sketches out the new system and importantly indicates what will and what will not change. You will see that the GRO promise training materials and training sessions, as soon as further details are shared with us about this we will share them with you.


The second change is a further change to the Qualifications for Marriage and which Preliminary should be used in specific circumstances. These changes come into effect on 1st July. They are a consequence of our departure from the EU and the ending of free movement. Essentially all weddings involving a non-UK/Irish National will need to be by Superintendent Registrars Certificates rather than Banns or Common Licence unless the party has Settled Status or Pre-Settled Status under the EU Settlement Scheme.  We attach two documents that cover these changes in more detail; one from the GRO and one from the Faculty Office of the Archbishop of Canterbury.


Please remember that these changes apply to marriages that are conducted on or after the 1st July and so you will need to bear this in mind when determining what kind of marriage preliminary can be used with couples you are currently preparing.

There will be some live Q&A sessions and a webinar that the Church of England is offering to help clergy explore the pastoral implications of the changes. 

GRO Question and Answer Sessions

To supplement the training and guidance material available to members of the Clergy on the LRSA website, GRO will be hosting several Question & Answer sessions to address any outstanding queries in relation to the introduction of the marriage schedule system from 4 May 2021.

To participate in these sessions on the following dates/times please book a place on one of the attached Eventbrite links: -

14 April 2021 10am    See on Eventbrite     closing date 12 April 2021 5pm

20 April 2021 1pm     See on Eventbrite      closing date 18 April 2021 5pm

All bookings must be made prior to the closing of each event, following which attendees will receive a link to the live event. The sessions will be hosted via MS Teams live where participants will be able to pose questions to the panel.

During the session you will hear from GRO subject matter experts who will be able to provide answers to any questions raised. If you would like to submit questions prior to the event, please send them to [email protected]

Recordings of the sessions will be available after the events. This will give others an opportunity to listen to the questions asked and answers given on the day. The sessions will also enable GRO to update the frequently asked questions currently held on the LRSA website.

Church of England Marriage Registration Webinar

The National Church will be offering an hour long webinar twice on Monday 26th April – once at 11am and again at 8pm, so that the maximum number of people can attend live.

During the morning webinar you will be joined by Neil Turpin from the Faculty Office and in the evening Malcolm Brown, Director of Mission and Public Affairs. Both live broadcasts will cover the same material, predominantly looking at the pastoral implications of the new changes. There will be an opportunity to ask questions and a recording of the webinar will be made available to everyone who has registered.

The webinar is aimed predominantly at clergy but may of course be of interest to parish administrators and church wardens. Please use these links to register to attend.

Monday 26th April 11-12 noon

Monday 26th April 8-9 pm

As always the Diocesan Registrar and his team, together with the Archdeacons are also always ready to offer advice or support where needed. We are conscious that the Government is making these changes at a time when there are already so many additional pressures and if you have questions or concerns please do be in touch.


Updated on 13th April

First published on 2nd February 2021