Destination I Do

Great Britain

Department of Tourism
Image: britainonview/Pawel Libera

From the hustle, bustle and sophistication of London to rolling hills and green countryside, Great Britain is rich in history and culture.   Part of the fun of planning a destination wedding in Scotland, England & Ireland is incorporating some of the traditions, including having young bridesmaids sprinkle the aisle with petals expressing hope for the bride’s path through life to be blessed.   You may also want to serve a traditional wedding cake, which is white with a fruitcake base and topped with marzipan. 

Many little girls dream of being princess for a day and envision a fairytale castle wedding. The countryside is dotted with many such castles, making dreams come true for any princess to be wed with pomp and pageantry to her prince charming. 

Quick Facts

  • Language:       The two official languages in Britain are English and Welsh, English being the most widely spoken. Scottish Gaelic is also spoken in some parts of Scotland.
  • Passport:         Yes
  • Currency:         pound sterling  
  • Time Zone:       29 October – 26 March: Coordinated Universal Time  (UTC), 25 March – 29 October: UTC + 1
  • International Airports:  Heathrow Airport, Gatwich Airport, , Belfast International Airport, Bournemouth International Airport, Cardiff International Airport, Southampton International Airport.
  • Weather:  Great Britain has a mild climate and is typically overcast.  Summer temperatures range from 57° F - 77°F  and winter temperatures range average around 30°.

Marriage Requirements

England: For a civil marriage ceremony, you'll need the following documents: passports, birth certificates (from the Vital Statistics Office, not the hospital, or they won't be valid), and if previously married, a notarized divorce decree, annulment decree, or death certificate.  You also must reside in the city where you intend to get married for one full week before you give your "notice of intent to marry" to the Superintendent Registrar (so keep your hotel receipt), after which there is a waiting period of 21 days.  Since your marriage authorization is valid for three months from the date it is issued, you do not need to remain in England during this time.  You'll likely want to plan two separate trips and file your intent to marry during first visit, and then you can have the ceremony at a later date within the year on a second trip.  You will need at least two witnesses at your ceremony.

If you're considering a religious ceremony rather than civil, you should know that it can't take place outside.  Also, if you are divorced and you ex-spouse is still living, you may not get married in the Church of England.  The residency requirement is 15 days unless you apply for a special license and are able to prove a strong affiliation with the Church.  After you have chosen the location for your wedding and the minister has agreed to marry you, a Marriage Bann regarding your union needs to be read in the parish where your ceremony will take place for three Sundays before the ceremony.  You don't need to be present at the reading of the banns.



If you wish to marry in Scotland you may do so either by civil or religious ceremony.  There is no residency requirement.  The minimum legal age for getting married is 16 years old and parental consent is required for persons under 18 years old.  If you are living outside the UK you must have a certificate stating that you are free to marry. The certificate can be obtained from the competent authority in your country (If the document is not in English a certified translation should be made). 


The first step to getting legally married in Ireland should be to approach the local Registrar of Marriages of the district in which the ceremony is to take place, and you should also contact the authorities of your religious denomination to be certain you know how to proceed.  You must be at least 18 to marry, there is a residency requirement of 15 days, and you are required to give notification of intention to marry three months prior to the planned date of the ceremony.  You and your intended spouse may write to the Registrar separately or use a pre-printed form that you both must sign.  Required information includes your names and addresses, the name of the church or location where the marriage will take place, and your dates of birth.  If you have been previously married, it is necessary to produce either a divorce decree or death certificate.  The Registrar will issue an acknowledgement confirming the date of the receipt of the notification.  You must keep this and produce it to the person solemnizing the marriage.  For more information, go to

Articles:  Spring Summer 2006

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