Civil And Non Church Of England Marriages

The solemnisation of civil and non-Church of England marriages in Guernsey may take place only on authority of a certificate, a licence or a special licence of the Registrar General. Civil marriages can take place at either the Office of the Registrar General at The Greffe in the Royal Court House or at St. James Assembly Hall.

The marriage room at The Greffe will accommodate approximately 15 people and you are requested to bear this in mind when issuing invitations to attend. As an alternative to the Greffe, St James Assembly Hall is licensed for civil marriages. Full details of charges and facilities can be obtained from St James on (01481) 711360. If you wish to be married at St James, notice must be given at The Greffe in the same way as for any other marriage.

Giving Notice And Reserving Your Date

Only one of you is required to give notice of your marriage, in person, to the Registrar General at the Greffe, Royal Court House, St Peter Port, although it is advisable for you both to attend to answer all the necessary questions without the need to make another appointment.

You cannot give formal notice more than three months prior to the date of your marriage, but you should contact the Office of the Registrar General at The Greffe as soon as possible after you have decided to be married, so you can be advised on the form of notice most appropriate to your circumstances, and, in the case of a marriage to be performed by a Registrar, so that a provisional date and time can be reserved.

One of you must then attend at The Greffe to give formal notice of your marriage so that your reservation can be confirmed.

When giving notice, the following details are required from you both:

Surname & Christian names (s)
Age
Marital Status
Rank, state or profession
Residence
Length of residence
Name and profession of father
Each party must provide a full birth certificate

Marriage By Certificate

The usual method of giving notice of your marriage if you are resident in Guernsey is to give notice to get married by certificate. The person who gave notice must have resided in Guernsey for at least seven days immediately preceding the day on which notice of your marriage is given. When the Registrar is satisfied that all the requirements have been met, he will enter your notice in the notice book. Then after 21 clear days have elapsed, the Registrar will issue your certificate authorising your marriage to be solemnised. During the 21 day period a copy of your notice will be exhibited in the Office of the Registrar General at The Greffe.

Marriage By Licence

To be married by licence, the person who gave notice must have resided in Guernsey for at least seven days immediately preceding the day on which notice of marriage is given. After seven clear days from the day your notice was entered in the notice book, a licence authorising your marriage to be solemnised will be issued.

Marriage by licence is usually most convenient for non-residents. You could, for example, stay for eight days to establish residence and then give notice on the eighth day. You could then return for your marriage within three months. Alternatively, you could stay for 16 days, giving notice on the eighth day and then get married on the 16th day following your date of arrival in the Island. (see also ‘Persons Not Ordinarily Resident in Guernsey’)

Upon issue of either a certificate or licence, your marriage may be solemnised at the Office of the Registrar General, at St. James Assembly Hall or in a place of worship licensed for marriages by the Royal Court.

Marriage By Special Licence

To give notice to get married by special licence, the person giving notice must have resided in Guernsey for at least one month immediately preceding the day on which notice is given. Then after one clear day has elapsed (other than a Saturday, Sunday or public holiday) a special licence will be issued. Your marriage may then be solemnised at the Office of the Registrar General, at St. James Assembly Hall, in a place of worship licensed for marriages by the Royal Court, or in a private house at the discretion of the Registrar General.

If one of you is sick and confined to a hospital or nursing home, a special licence may be granted to enable your marriage to be solemnised in the institution where you are confined. Please note, the Registrar General will require a medical certificate confirming that you are unable to attend at the Greffe by reason of ill-health.

In all cases, your marriage must proceed during the period between the issue of your certificate for marriage (or special licence) and three months from the date your notice was entered in the Registrar’s notice book, otherwise you will have to give notice again.

In all cases, your marriage must proceed during the period between the issue of your certificate for marriage (or special licence) and three months from the date your notice was entered in the Registrar’s notice book, otherwise you will have to give notice again.

Persons Not Ordinarily Resident In Guernsey

You should write to the Registrar-General for advice about the formalities applicable to you, including proposed timetable, at the earliest possible date. Wherever possible, you should also provide a certificate of no impediment confirming that you are free to marry the other party. Application for a certificate of no impediment should be made to the Registrar in the district where you reside. This applies to all parties not ordinarily resident in Guernsey, whether or not you are able to satisfy the minimum residence requirements.

If you reside in a foreign country you may be required to sign a short affidavit confirming your identity and marital status with copies of all relevant documents such as passport, birth certificate and Final Order of Divorce.

One Of You Is Unable To Establish Residence In Guernsey

If one of you is unable to establish residence in Guernsey, you must apply to the Registar (or equivalent authority) at your own district or country of residence for a Certificate of No Impediment, confirming that formalities required by law in your country or district relating to notice of marriage have been duly complied with and that there is no impediment to your proposed marriage.

It is important to make your application to your local Registrar in good time, at least six weeks before the date of your proposed marriage.

If you have difficulty in obtaining a Certificate of No Impediment, you should notify the Registrar-General immediately.

Non British Citizen

If you are not a British citizen, there may be laws in your own country which, if not observed, might render your marriage in Guernsey null and void. Therefore, the advice of your own consul or consular agent should be sought. In addition, you may well require the issue of an emigration entry clearance prior to travelling from abroad. You are therefore advised to make contact with the Chief Officer of Customs and Immigration, Immigration and Nationality Department, White Rock, St Peter Port, tel: 01481 726911 fax: 01481 712248.

Further Information On Civil Ceremonies

For further information and advice about getting married in Guernsey, please telephone the Office of the Registrar General on 01481 725277. Alternatively, you can write to the Office of the Registrar General at The Greffe, Royal Court House, St Peter Port, Guernsey, Channel Islands, GY1 2PB.

Church Of England Marriages

If you wish to get married in a church of the Church of England in Guernsey, no reference to the Registrar General is needed. All arrangements are made by the minister of the church in which your ceremony is to take place. After your marriage has taken place, the minister will notify the Registrar General of your marriage.

Marriages in the Church of England are governed by the Marriage Act, 1949. If you wish to be married in either Church, you should first arrange to see your parish priest to discuss your marriage.

You do not have to be a regular churchgoer to get married in the Church of England, neither must you have been baptised. The most common ways of getting married in accordance with the rites of the Church of England are:

by publication of banns
by common licence
You will be guided by your parish priest as to the most suitable method for you to follow according to your particular circumstances.

Publication Of Banns

Publication of banns, which simply means announcing aloud your intended marriage, is the traditional and preferred method used by most couples and is equivalent in timing to the civil method of getting married by certificate. The banns are published by being read aloud during the service on three successive Sundays preceding the ceremony. The congregation is invited to register objections, if they have any. It is usual for the couple to be in attendance on at least one of the three occasions when the banns are published.

If the couple live in different parishes, the banns need to be published in both parishes. A certificate stating that the banns have been published will be issued by the church that will not be holding the ceremony. This certificate needs to be produced to the officiating minister before the ceremony can proceed. If the marriage does not go ahead within three months of the banns being published, the banns will have to be published again.

Marriage By Common Licence

Getting married by common licence is intended for persons who are temporarily resident in a particular parish and is equivalent in timing to the civil method of getting married by certificate and licence. It has the advantage of not requiring banns to be published. Once your application has been approved, only one clear day’s notice is required before your ceremony can take place. To be married by common licence, at least one of you must have been baptised. A common licence lasts for three months from its date of issue.

For further information on Church of England marriages, please contact the Ecclesiastical Court at The Constables Office, Lefebvre Street, St Peter Port, telephone: 01481 721732.