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Getting Married in Scotland

We would like a family friend to solemnise our marriage. Is this possible?

In Scotland a religious marriage (which includes other belief systems) may be solemnised only by a minister, clergyman, pastor, priest or other person entitled to do so under the Marriage (Scotland) Act 1977. If it is a religious marriage (which includes other belief systems) you are planning and your family friend is not already authorised to act as a celebrant, the Registrar General can grant a temporary authorisation for a particular marriage. A temporary authorisation can only be granted to someone who is affiliated to a religious body and who is supported by office bearers of that body or other belief system to conduct a marriage ceremony on its behalf.

Please note that an application for a temporary authorisation cannot be considered any earlier than 3 months before the date of a proposed marriage. Anyone applying for a temporary authorisation should forward the following information on the first occasion they apply to Marriage Section at New Register House. Theáaddressáof New Register House is on our Where to find us page.

  1. A copy of their religious body's or other belief system's constitution or statement of faith, which should contain the aims and beliefs of the group together with details on the appointment of office bearers.

  2. Details of membership, both locally and throughout the United Kingdom if applicable, and how often the local body meets for public worship.

  3. A copy of the wording of the proposed marriage ceremony.

  4. Their full name and the designation they would use when signing the Marriage Schedule eg Minister, Pastor or Lay Preacher.

  5. Letters from two office bearers of the religious body or other belief system supporting their application and testifying to their status within the group.

  6. The full names of the couple, the date and place of the marriage.

A civil marriage may be solemnised only by a registrar or an assistant registrar who has been authorised by the Registrar General for the purpose.


Page last updated: 8 June 2011

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