Since 4 May 2021, the mothers of brides and grooms have been named on marriage certificates for the first time in England and Wales. The Home Office has said the change was to correct a “historical anomaly” by which only the father’s name was recorded.
In Scotland and Northern Ireland, couples are already asked to provide the names of both their parents on marriage paperwork. This step forward brings England and Wales into line with the rest of the UK. Civil Partnership records have also included details of each party’s mother and father since they were introduced in 2005.
In addition, marriages will now be recorded electronically using a single, centralised register. Previously, register books, held in thousands of individual Register Offices, churches and registered religious premises across England and Wales, were used to record marriages.
It is hoped that the centralised register will speed up the process of recording marriages, avoiding the need to sort through hard copies to obtain details of a marriage and making for a simpler, more efficient system.
These developments are considered the biggest changes to the system of recording marriages in England and Wales since 1837 and are the result of years of campaigning for a change in the law by a number of cross-party MPs.
At present, weddings in England are taking place with up to 15 people present at permitted venues, including the bride and groom, in permitted premises. If the vaccination roll-out continues as planned and the Covid-19 infection rate stays low, the maximum number of attendees will increase to 30 people from 17 May 2021 and there will be no restrictions from 21 June 2021 onwards.
*Disclaimer: While everything has been done to ensure the accuracy of the contents of this article, it is a general guide only. It is not comprehensive and does not constitute legal advice. Specific legal advice should be sought in relation to the particular facts of a given situation.