Following the strict new measures introduced by UK Government on Monday 23 March 2020, including the advice to ‘STAY AT HOME’ the Registration Services offered at Ards and North Down Borough Council offices are currently restricted.
Registration will be taking new bookings for civil ceremonies taking place in 2021 from Monday 2nd November. Contact our office to check available dates and to make a provisional booking. Please note that ceremonies are likely to be subject to restrictions from the Northern Ireland Office for the foreseeable future. We would also ask you to bear in mind that, in line with current health and safety advice, Bangor Castle is restricted to a maximum of 20, which includes the wedding party, guests, photographer etc.
To cancel or postpone your wedding please email firstname.lastname@example.org with your name, mobile number and date and place of marriage and we will respond to you in due course.
New applications for Religious or Humanist marriages will only be accepted by post. We are happy to accept photocopies of passports and other legal documents on the proviso that the originals are seen when collecting the Marriage Schedule. We will contact you to pay the £44 fee over the phone, so please be sure to provide your phone number.
You can choose a civil or a religious wedding. Civil ceremonies are conducted by the registrar and are non-religious. There are some legal and procedural requirements involved. The Registrar and Deputy Registrars can explain this process. Information on Marriage and Civil Partnership fees from 1 April 2018 can be downloaded here.
To marry in Northern Ireland, you and your partner must be:
- aged 18 or above on the day of your wedding (consent is needed if either of you is aged 16 or 17)
- unrelated to one another in a way that would prevent you from getting married
- free to marry, for example, neither of you is already a civil partner or legally married
You must also complete a marriage notice form before your ceremony can take place. A form is available from the council offices at:
- Town Hall, The Castle, Bangor, BT20 4BT.
- 2 Church Street, Newtownards, BT23 4AP
The form is also available at https://www.nidirect.gov.uk/publications/marriage-notice-form
Please note that from 1st September 2017 the Registrar’s Office located at Bangor Castle and Church Street, Newtownards will be operating an appointment only system.
To make an appointment at Bangor Castle please ring 0300 013 3333 ext. 40784
To make an appointment at Church Street, Newtownards please ring 0300 013 3333 ext. 40720
These forms, which give formal 'notice' to the Registrar of your intent to marry, must be completed by you and your partner. They are valid for 12 months from the date of notice. This means you must tell us about your plans to get married in the 12 month period before your wedding date, and no later than 28 days before your ceremony.
Notice forms should be returned to the registrar of the district in which you intend to marry, along with the relevant documents (listed below) and fees.
You will also need to provide certain documents to the registrar:
- your full (long version) birth certificate (authorised photocopies will not be accepted)
- your passport or national identity card - the Registrar can advise on alternatives if you do not hold either of these
- a consent form (if you aged 16 or 17) - these are available from the Registrar
- if you have been married before and the marriage was dissolved, a certificate of divorce or annulment or a certified copy decree (decrees must be absolute or final)
- if you have been married more than once, only the documents for your most recent marriage are required
- if you have entered into a civil partnership before, a court order of dissolution for that partnership
- if you are a widow, widower or surviving civil partner, the death certificate of your former spouse or civil partner
You can buy marriage certificates from the registrar at the point of registration. Each certificate costs £8.00. You can pay by credit/debit card, cheque or cash.
Additional marriage certificates
You cannot buy additional marriage certificates from the registrar's office at any time after registration. You can only buy these from the General Register Office in Belfast. An additional certificate costs £15.00.
The UK Government will make regulations that will mean civil marriage between couples of the same-sex, and civil partnerships for opposite-sex couples, will be lawful in Northern Ireland from 13 January 2020.
From that date, we expect that couples will be able to give notice of their intent to form a civil same-sex marriage or opposite-sex civil partnership to the General Register Office for Northern Ireland. The minimum period of notice is usually 28 days.
The UK government plans to publish a consultation on religious same-sex marriage with the intention of making regulations to enable religious same sex marriage in Northern Ireland in 2020. They think it is right that religious organisations, faith groups and individuals are able to give their views on same sex couples marrying in religious ceremonies, just as they did in England, Wales and Scotland. This means that there will be a short delay before introducing religious same-sex marriage in Northern Ireland for those religious organisations that choose to do so.
They also intend to consult on the right to convert a civil partnership to marriage (and vice versa).
For more information and updates see www.gov.uk/government/publications/changes-to-the-law-in-northern-ireland-updated