Do we need a marriage licence?

Do we need a marriage licence?Most Church of England marriages will not require a licence, but in some circumstances you might need to apply for one…

Licences replace the need for having banns read out, which is the usual legal requirement before a wedding can take place.

You might need a licence if:

  • One or both of you are British but live abroad.
  • One or both of you live in the UK but your home is not in England or Wales.
  • Your home address is likely to change during the time when banns would normally be read out.
  • Your wedding date is too soon to allow enough time for banns to be read.

In these kinds of circumstances a Common Licence application may be recommended. Read more about Common Licences.

If you have no legal connection to the church where you would like your wedding to take place, and don’t have time to create one before your wedding, there are two further licence options which may be suggested to you:

If one or both of you are nationals from a country outside the European Economic Area, you will each need to obtain a Superintendent Registrar’s Certificate to enable you to marry.

The granting of licences is not always guaranteed, so be sure to explore your options as far in advance as you can before your wedding.

Also in this section

We had our reception in church too
Our wedding was a gift from our guests
The rehearsal
Professional photography at a church wedding
Renewing your vows
Mixed faith marriages
When can I marry in church?
Your children are welcome
Praying for the happy couple
Reading of banns
Additional readings
Other music for your wedding
Information for same sex couples
Why marry in church?
More than a wedding venue
Booking a church
Meeting the vicar
Seven steps to a heavenly wedding
Wedding ceremony words
Wedding blessings
Preparing for marriage
Marriage after divorce
Wedding vows
Filming a wedding
Can Catholics marry in the Church of England?
If you live abroad
My partner believes in God but I’m not sure – can I have a church wedding?
I’m not christened – can I have a church wedding?
Information for foreign nationals
How do I find my parish church for reading banns?
Can a vicar from a different church take our wedding?
Special Licences
Common licences
Superintendent Registrar Certificates
Bible readings for your wedding
Choices for your wedding ceremony
Hymns for your wedding
Countdown to your church wedding
Can I marry in church?
I don’t go to church – can I have a church wedding?
Finding a church
The cost of church weddings
Legal requirements