It’s a nice day for a Brit Wedding because it’s not just the British that like the idea of getting married abroad. Loads of non-UK residents like to travel to our shores to get a taste of British culture on their big day.

Woman in old style train station. She is in a wedding dress and is bending over. Her dress is pulled up to the knee at the front to show off her Union Jack wellies to highlight Brit Weddings.
Picture from Wedding Ideas Mag

However, the logistics can be a bit of a slog.

What do you need to marry legally in the UK?

This is where it can get a little complicated as different parts of the UK have different laws regarding marriage. Here, I will focus on England and Wales, but you can get more information about getting wed in Scotland here and Northern Ireland here.

In England and Wales, the first thing you need to do for your Brit Wedding is to make sure you have the correct travel documents. Currently, this means a marriage visitor visa if you or your family are not from the EU, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland or Liechtenstein. (But this rule changes on the 30th of June 2021, and then pretty much everyone needs a visa.)

You need to be organised, as the earliest you can apply for it is three months before your travels, but it can take three weeks for a decision to be made.

Once you have your visa and are here in England or Wales, you need to give notice of your intention to marry.

It would be best if you found a place to stay for at least five weeks. Then, after seven days, you can give notice at your local registry office. You then wait a further 28 days to find out if this has been accepted as in some cases it takes longer, so be prepared with accommodation and funds for your stay.

Yes, I know! That’s a lot of money, and time and paperwork, so is there a more straightforward way?

A man lying on a white bed with suitcases around him. He has his hands over his face like he is exasperated at all the paperwork to get married in the UK
So much paperwork to get married legally in the UK when not a Brit.

Is there a more straightforward way?

Yes! Thank goodness!

One way around this is to do the legal part in your home country and have a celebrant led ceremony for your Brit Wedding.

There are several benefits to celebrating your love and commitment this way.

The Benefits of a Celebrant Brit Wedding

  • It saves time and money, so you can spend that saved time doing enjoyable activities – not paperwork. AND you can spend your money on wedding extras, travelling, fun things, cake!
  • It means you can choose a date that suits you. This is especially useful if both of you are working and maybe you have children, so school dates factor too. You want to be able to have a calm and stress-free trip on your terms – not a rushed weekend knowing you have to be back at work and school on Monday.
  • A celebrant ceremony in England or Wales can be in any venue, indoors or out, day or night. This differs from legally binding religious and civil ceremonies as these have to be within office hours. As a Celebrant, I am happy to meet you on a beach at midnight for a moonlit wedding ceremony.
  • And the best bit of a celebrant ceremony is the celebrant writes your ceremony especially for you. This makes your wedding ceremony extra special as the vows you make will be entirely personal to you. No one else will have a wedding ceremony like yours, so that’s rather groovy.
Several people raising wine glasses - you can only see arms - with white wine in while short gold slips of foil fall around them as they celebrate Celebrant Brit Weddings

What now?

Next step now is to have a peruse of cities and towns, mountains and coasts, castles and quaint country parks to find your perfect venue for 2022, because it’s a nice time for a Brit Wedding!

(Apologies in advance for the weather.)

Sarah x

Picture of Sarah the Celebrant, myself. There's a white background. I have jaw-length reddish-brown hair. I am smiling at the camera. I am wearing a dark coloured necklace and a yellow flowery top.