Mothers’ names to be included on marriage certificate for first time in England and Wales

It will ‘correct a historic anomaly’ says the Home Office

Sophie Gallagher
Tuesday 04 May 2021 09:58 BST
(Getty Images/iStockphoto)

The names of both parents, not just the father, will now be included on marriage certificates for the first time across England and Wales.

Until now, only the names of the fathers of the bride and groom needed to be included on the official documentation as a record of the ceremony. Now mothers can be added too.

The change - which begins on Tuesday - follows the amendment of the Marriage Act and the introduction of a new electronic registration system by the Home Office.

The Home Office said the move to have mothers’ names on the certificate will “correct a historic anomaly” by allowing the names of both parents to be recorded.

A spokesperson said: "These regulations to amend the Marriage Act mark the biggest changes to the marriage registration system since 1837.”

This brings England and Wales into line with the rest of the UK where couples are already asked to give the names of both parents on marriage or civil partnership documentation.

As well as adding the mother’s name, the 2021 overhaul will see a move to use an electronic record-keeping system, rather than paper.

Marriages are currently registered by the couple signing a register book, which is held at the local registry office, or at religious premises registered for marriage such as a church or chapel.

The new system goes live on 4 May and will see a single register, rather than the thousands - there are estimated to be over 80,000 - at locations around the country.

The government says that this will save time, money and be more secure, it will also eliminate the need for data to be extracted from the original hard copies in future.

Reverend Dr Malcolm Brown, director of mission and public affairs for the Church of England, said: "We are very pleased that the marriage registration system can now include the names of mothers as well as fathers on registers.

"Changing practices that go back many years is never straightforward, but we believe the new system changes as little as possible in terms of the couple’s experience of their church wedding and that the clergy will find the new regulations become second nature very quickly."

Current coronavirus guidelines permit up to 15 people to attend weddings, receptions and commemorative events. From 17 May this will rise to up to 30 people.

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