There has been a surge in popularity in having a destination wedding. Guaranteed great weather, the picture perfect backdrop for the ceremony and quite often a trimmed down guest list. The question that often gets asked is whether marriages abroad are recognised in the UK.

  1. Your marriage should be recognised in the UK if you follow the correct process according to the local law of the country you get married in. To understand what the requirements are in the country of your marriage, you are advised to contact the embassy of that country.
  2. An overseas marriage cannot be ‘registered’ in the UK (rules may differ if you are part of the armed forces). If your wedding has taken place in one of the countries which the General Register Office (GRO) can accept formal notification,  a ‘record’ can be created for your overseas marriage by depositing the marriage certificate in the General Register Office. Contact the GRO (details below) to see which countries will accept formal notification.
  3. This ‘record’ can be created at any point after your marriage ceremony.
  4. In order to have your wedding certificate deposited you will need to contact both the British Embassy in the country you were married in as well as the GRO in the UK. When contacting these organisations, you will need to state that you wish to deposit your marriage certificate with the GRO.
  5. When contacting the embassy in the country of your marriage ceremony, you will need to provide them with a copy of your marriage certificate that will be authenticated and potentially translated by the local authority. The British Consular General will then forward this certificate to the GRO in the UK. All this maybe subject to a fee.
  6. Once the documents have been received by the GRO you will be notified. The documents are then held with the GRO. Should you need a copy of your certificate you can contact the GRO.

General Information on Marriages Abroad can be obtained by contacting either of the below organisations:

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Consular Division
King Charles Street
Tel: 020 7238 4567
Web :

Registering your Wedding

Marriages Section
General Register Office
Trafalgar Road
Tel: 0151 471 4814

If you need assistance in understanding the legal requirements of getting married abroad, please contact

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