In the biggest shake up of the legalities surrounding UK marriages since 1837, when the first wedding certificate was issued, the Home Office has announced that marriage certificates will now include the names of all parents of the bride and groom.
Previously, only the names of the couple’s fathers were legally registered, making this reform to the Marriage Act a historic alteration to the system. Scotland and Northern Ireland already include the names of both parents, so this landmark decision for England and Wales to follow suit brings the whole of the UK in line, with another step towards gender equality.
May 4th also marked another monumental change to marriage certificates. Any guests receiving wedding invitations to attend a friend or relative’s special day can no longer expect to see the happy bride and groom signing a physical register book during their ceremony. Instead, an electronic marriage register will hold the details of all newly wedded couples in a bid to speed up the formalities.
The last paper marriage certificate was issued on Friday, 30th April by a Dorset couple, Simon and Kirsty Millward, aged 32 and 34, respectively. Mr. Millward’s father, Graham Millward, officiated the wedding as a licenced registrar.
Speaking to The Guardian, The Reverend Dr. Malcolm Brown, speaking on behalf of the Church of England, said:
“We believe the new system changes as little as possible in terms of the couple’s experience of their church wedding.”
This indicates that despite the major changes, the impact on future brides and grooms will be minimal.