Marriage in Scotland

Last updated: 14 September 2020

Getting married during coronavirus (COVID-19)

Marriage ceremony

You can get married indoors or outdoors. The rules are:

  • no more than 20 people should be there (including any children)
  • this includes the couple, witnesses, guests and anyone employed by the couple, such as a photographer
  • it does not include the person doing the ceremony or staff at a venue
  • everyone should follow physical distancing rules
  • there's no limit on how many households can attend

These limits only apply to the marriage ceremony.

Marriage reception or party

Different rules apply to gatherings before or after the ceremony. For example, a reception or party:

  • up to 20 people can be there as long as it takes place in a regulated venue such as a hotel or restaurant
  • if it takes places somewhere else such as someone's home or garden the limits on household meetings apply
You need to also check if there are local restrictions where you're having the ceremony or where you're having the reception or party. These rules apply over the general rules for marriages.

You can get further guidance on marriages during coronavirus on gov.scot.

Future changes to marriages in Scotland

You can read more about future changes to marriages and civil partnerships during coronavirus on gov.scot.

Who can get married in Scotland

You can get married in Scotland if you're:

  • aged 16 or over
  • in an opposite sex or same sex relationship
  • not married or in a civil partnership with someone else
  • not closely related (see below for a list of relations you cannot marry)
  • capable of understanding what marriage means and of consenting to marriage

You cannot legally marry or have a civil partnership with any of the following relatives:

  • parent
  • child
  • grandparent
  • grandchild
  • sibling
  • aunt or uncle
  • niece or nephew
  • great-grandparent
  • great-grandchild
  • adopted parent or former adoptive parent
  • adopted child or former adopted child

Relatives you can marry

The relatives you can marry are:

  • child of former wife or husband
  • child of former civil partner
  • former spouse or civil partner of parent
  • former spouse or civil partner of grandparent
  • grandchild of former spouse or former civil partner

To do this you must:

  • be aged 21 or over
  • not have lived in the same house as the person when you were aged 18 or younger
  • not have been treated as a child of their family

Different types of marriage ceremony

There are 2 different types of marriage ceremony you can have in Scotland:

  • civil ceremony – can take place in a registration office or anywhere agreed with the registrar, except religious premises
  • religious or belief ceremony – can take place anywhere by someone approved to conduct a ceremony

Check with the religious or belief body that they will marry you.

There are different options if you want to change a civil partnership to a marriage.

How to get married

You both need to complete and return a Marriage Notice form (tells the local registrar you want to marry).

You'll be charged a fee to register your marriage – check with your registrar office how much this will be.

You need to return your forms and any other documents needed to the registrar at least 29 days before your wedding.

  • your birth certificate
  • evidence of where you live, for example a bank statement with your address
  • your divorce certificate if you or your partner were previously married
  • your dissolution certificate if you or your partner were previously in a civil partnership
  • a death certificate if a previous spouse (husband or wife) or civil partner has died
  • your passport or another document that provides evidence of your nationality
  • your certificate that you are free to marry under the law of your own country if you don't live in the UK

Get in touch with your registrar as early as possible if you cannot get any of these documents.You may be able to use other documents.

Religious or belief ceremonies

If you're having a religious or belief ceremony you'll also need to collect the 'marriage schedule'.

A marriage schedule is a form you sign during your wedding ceremony.

You can collect this from 7 days before your wedding. You or the person you're marrying will need to collect it in person.

The marriage schedule needs to be returned to your local registrar after your wedding. You can send it by post. You must do this within 3 days of your ceremony.

If you're having a civil ceremony the registrar will bring your marriage schedule to your wedding and return it to the registrar's office for you.

Declaration of immigration status

You'll also need to complete and return a declaration of immigration status form if you're not from:

Forms

If you have any problems with the online forms, you can get them from a registration office. You can find a list of all the registrars in Scotland on the National Records of Scotland website.

Getting married in Scotland if you live outside of the UK

If you live outside of the UK you need to get a certificate from your country to say there's no reason why you cannot be married. This needs to be given along with your marriage notice to the registrar at least 29 days before the wedding.

If the certificate is not in English you'll need to get a certified translation of the document.

If you cannot provide this evidence, you may not be able to marry in Scotland.

You do not need to get a certificate if you're a UK citizen living abroad.

Further information

There's more information about getting married in Scotland on the National Records of Scotland website.

If you're not sure what you need to do, you can contact:

National Records of Scotland
Marriage/Civil Partnership Section
Room 38
New Register House
3 West Register Street
Edinburgh
EH1 3YT

Email: marriage@nrscotland.gov.uk

Phone: 0131 314 4447

Find out about call charges on the GOV.UK website.