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Ask Kate: Who can marry us in the UK?

November 28, 2012

Kate Thompson has been offering heart-felt advice and sparklingly different wedding inspiration for ten years. She is married with two children, and often features in the national press. With her warm and caring nature and off-beat sense of humour, she'll answer every question with knowledgable insight and understanding to help and inspire or simply restore your peace of mind.


I’m planning on getting married in a hotel (as opposed to traditional church setting), I know someone who is the “head of pastoral care” at a local church, I was wondering whether he would be able to perform my ceremony, or whether because it’s “not on the church grounds” he won’t be able to do it? I was wondering whether you knew where UK stands on this before I ask if he can do it?


It’s not easy to give a definitive answer without knowing where in the UK you are getting married, and what church – Roman Catholic, Church of England, or other? Only authorised persons can perform legally valid marriage ceremonies, so first you must check that the “head of pastoral care” is actually authorised to do so. Then you will need to ask if they will be willing to perform the ceremony at a licenced venue – please ensure to check that your chosen hotel is actually licenced!

If you have any further doubts it’s best to check with your local registrar’s office who will advise you on whether your marriage will be legally valid if performed in this way, or whether you’ll need to get married at the registry office first, and then have a ceremony conducted separately on your wedding day.

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