The same sex marriage laws in Scotland have now been implemented and same-sex couples across Scotland can legally marry in the same way as opposite sex couples. There is a great deal of useful and vital information available from various sources as to the legal requirements and rights of all couples.

If you are planning a marriage or civil partnership, information from the National Records of Scotland website guidelines, as well as the Equality Network will be of great benefit to you.

The abbreviated guidance notes shown below are from the National Records of Scotland, but it is advisable to follow the link above to their website for full guidance.

By law both parties to a proposed religious or belief or civil marriage must submit marriage notice forms to the registrar of the district in which the marriage is to take place, thus informing the registrar of their intention to marry. This means that both parties must be aware of the proposed marriage and independently complete and sign the declaration on the marriage notice form. Failure to give proper notice can result in a marriage being postponed or prevented from proceeding. Notice must be given in the three-month period prior to the date of marriage and NOT LATER THAN 15 DAYS BEFORE THE DATE OF MARRIAGE. (This will increase to 29 days as of 1st March 2015)

Timing is important. You must submit the notices early enough to enable the registrar to be satisfied that you are free to marry one another. Normally notices should be in the registrar’s hands about FOUR weeks before the marriage but if either of you has been married or in a civil partnership before, the notices should be with the registrar SIX weeks beforehand. The minimum period is 15 days (29 days from 1st March 2015) before the date of the proposed marriage, but if you leave things as late as this you could be faced with the need to postpone your wedding ceremony.

Only in exceptional circumstances will the Registrar General authorise a marriage to take place if 15 days’ notice has not been given. If you are having a humanist ceremony contact the Celebrant who is to perform the ceremony before completing the marriage notice forms. This is particularly important if the marriage is to be in towns and cities, where large numbers of people may want to be married at certain times of the year.

Although you need not both attend personally at the registrar’s office to hand in your marriage notice, at least one of you should attend there personally. You will then need to collect the Marriage Schedule from the same Registrar’s office. Personal attendance is also necessary at this stage. When you give notice you will be required to sign a declaration to the effect that the information given on your notice is correct.

As a safeguard against simultaneous marriage and/or civil partnership the Registrar General makes a subsequent check of the information.

If time is getting short it is better to give notice first and then pass the documents to the registrar when they become available; but they must be made available to the registrar in advance of the marriage. Provided the documents are in order the marriage can then proceed as arranged.