In Scotland and most other countries there are legally 41 words that need to be said in every wedding ceremony: __________ and __________, if I could you both to stand before me.
___________, do you take ______________ to be your lawful wedded wife.
___________ says I DO
___________, do you take ______________ to be your lawful wedded husband.
___________ says I DO
After these words you can make personal vows or a declaration of love to your partner that you have prepared beforehand or religious vows.
There are only three ways that you can be legally married in Scotland: by a Registrar, a designated member of a faith organisation, or an accredited Humanist Celebrant. There are some Independent Celebrants that are tied to an Independent Faith Body who can perform ceremonies. Other Independent Celebrants require you to first be legally married by a Registrar and then you can have your bespoke ceremony. See my previous blog article for an example.
Everyone getting married needs to complete a Marriage Notice – Scotland M10 Form (Section 3(1) of the Marriage (Scotland) Act 1977). Whilst you think of your wedding as a romantic act it is still a legal contract that has all sorts of implications with regard to family law, property, inheritance tax, a spouse cannot be compelled by a criminal court to disclose private communications with their spouse, no inheritance tax is payable on an estate inherited by a surviving spouse, etc.
You will need make an appointment with the Registrar who will check The M10 form along with relevant documentation – birth certificate, adoption certificate, evidence of residence, etc. You will pay a fee of £70.00 at the time of writing. This appointment needs to be with the Registrar in the district you are getting married no more than three months prior to the wedding and no less than 29 days before the date of the wedding. I always advise couples to do this as soon as the three month window is open and if you do not have all the documentation to nevertheless get the process started. You can always return with missing documentation. Your celebrant should help you complete section F, which is about your celebrant’s designation to conduct your legal wedding ceremony. Part of my service to couples is to assist them with the whole form.
You will return to the Registrar’s office the week before your wedding to collect The Marriage schedule and hand it to the Celebrant conducting your ceremony. This is the document that will be signed by yourselves, two witnesses, and the Celebrant at your marriage ceremony. Without it there can be no legal wedding. This document must be returned by someone designated by you to the Registrar on the next working day after your ceremony.
© Chris Vermeulen