How to get a Marriage Certificate

A marriage certificate must either be posted to you, or collected in person. You cannot view or download a copy online. It will cost between £9.25 and £40 depending on where you order it from, and how quickly you want it delivered.

A word of caution

The cheapest and easiest ways to order a certificate are explained below. Don’t be tempted by various websites offering to order your marriage certificate for you. All they do is use the websites listed on this page, and then charge you extra. You should only use them if they offer an additional service – for example help in trying to track down an elusive ancestor.

England and Wales Marriage Certificates

For marriages within the last 18 months

You should contact the register office or church where the marriage was registered. The UKBMD website has a list of all the current register offices in England and Wales which may be of help. The marriage record will usually be kept by the register office in the same county as the marriage registration.

For marriages registered since 1st July 1837, but not in the last 18 months

You can order a marriage certificate from the General Register Office (GRO). If you want your certificate quickly you will need what is called a GRO index reference, which is simply the volume and page number next to the record of the marriage in a marriage register (see the picture below). You can search for the GRO index reference for free on several websites. If you don’t have the GRO index reference, you can still apply for a certificate if you know the names of the couple, the marriage location and year of marriage. The GRO will try to find the marriage certificate for you, but it may take up to 3 weeks until you have it.

GRO index reference example

The GRO index reference for the marriage between McQueen and McCluskey is 8e1761

You can also order a copy of a certificate from your local register office online, by post, or in person. If you are not sure which register office will have a record of the marriage, UKBMD has a list of districts and parishes showing which register office has those records.

For marriages before 1st July 1837

The GRO does not have marriage certificates from before this date, however the County Record Office nearest to the location of the marriage may do. It’s somewhat of a longshot, but worth doing if you have the time to visit in person. They may even offer a service to search for you. Here is a list of County Record Offices for England and Wales. These hold all kinds of records going back centuries, and you may be lucky enough to find what you are after.

Scotland Marriage Certificates

You can order a Scottish certificate from the General Register Office for Scotland for marriages since 1855. You will need Form SU3.

For marriages before 1855

Before this date it becomes much harder to find a marriage certificate. County Record Offices do have some pre-1855 marriage certificates, so if you have the time then try the County Record Office nearest to the location of the marriage. Here is a list of County Record Offices in Scotland.

Northern Ireland Marriage Certificates

The official Northern Ireland website for ordering marriages is nidirect. You can order certificates from 1845 for non-Roman Catholic marriages and all marriages from 1864.

Isle of Man Marriage Certificates

You can order a marriage certificate from the Isle of Man Registries website. There are marriage certificates going back to 1879, prior to that date there are only Church of England Parish Register entries. These do not give details of home address or parents.

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