Marriage certificates to include mothers' names for the first time in England and Wales

4 May 2021, 11:07 | Updated: 4 May 2021, 11:13

Marriage certificates will now include mothers' names
Marriage certificates will now include mothers' names. Picture: Getty Images
Naomi Bartram

By Naomi Bartram

Changes to the Marriage Act in England and Wales mean marriage certificates will include the mother’s name for the first time.

Marriage certificates in England and Wales will include the names of both parents for the first time.

Until now, the document only included the names of the fathers of the couple, but in a new change, mothers' will be written too.

Coming into force today (May 4), the process will also see marriages recorded electronically in a bid to modernise and speed up the process.

Marriages were previously recorded by the couple signing a register book, with around 84,000 held at register offices and in churches and chapels.

Marriage certificates in England and Wales will have to include the mother’s name for first time
Marriage certificates in England and Wales will have to include the mother’s name for first time. Picture: Getty Images

The Home Office said the changes would ‘correct a historic anomaly’, with a spokesman adding: “These regulations to amend the Marriage Act mark the biggest changes to the marriage registration system since 1837.”

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Changes to the Marriage Act were made in consultation with the Church of England.

The Rev 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.”

The move means England and Wales now have the same rules as those in Scotland and Northern Ireland.

Here, couples getting married or entering a civil partnership are already asked to give the names of both parents on documentation.

Meanwhile, according to the coronavirus rules in England and Wales, weddings can currently take place with up to 15 attendees.

Couples can also hold receptions in the form of a sit down meal in any outdoor venue that’s allowed to open, but are not allowed to take place in people’s gardens.

In the next part of the government’s plans to ease lockdown measures, weddings and civil partnership ceremonies could be permitted for up to 30 people from May 17.

Couples would be able to hold their receptions at indoor venues, as well as private gardens.

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