Paperwork might be the least romantic part of getting married but it’s the most essential! Here’s how to complete the M10 Marriage Notice Application Form and what to expect with the Marriage Schedule if you’re getting married in Scotland
What is the M10 form?
“It’s your notice to the local authority that you intend to wed,” says Davina McCluskie, an interfaith minister with Scottish Highland Weddings. “The registrar needs to be sure you’re both legally allowed to marry in Scotland.” (You must both be over 16, for instance.)
“The form is double-sided and asks questions about your full name, date of birth, address and parentage, as well as whether either party has been married before,” adds Lucy Black, a humanist celebrant with Fuze Ceremonies. “You and your spouse-to-be must each fill out your own M10 form. There’s a £70 fee [£30 each plus £10 for entry into the marriage register] for submitting them, paid to the registry office directly. This also includes the cost of the schedule.”
You’ll need to provide various documentation
You’ll need to gather together a few supporting documents – originals, not photocopies. “You’ll both need your birth certificate, photo ID (for example, a passport or driving licence) and a utility bill dating from within three months of the submission date. The bill must show your name and address,” says Lucy.
Depending on your circumstances, you might also need a couple of extra pieces of paper. “If you’re divorced, you’ll need evidence of this, and if you’re widowed, you’ll need your former spouse’s death certificate,” Davina notes. “Finally, if you’re a foreign national, a certificate showing that you are able to marry – a certificate of ‘no impediment of marriage’ – is required.”
Time is of the essence with the M10
“The earliest you can register is three months ahead of the wedding date, but it can’t be any later than 29 days before,” says Davina. “Even if you don’t have all of the supporting papers, send off your M10 to get the process started.”
What if you can’t find your original birth certificate? “The registry office can provide a duplicate for around £15,” Lucy points out.
Important: you must fill out one form each!
“A common mistake is only one party filling out the form,” warns Davina. So although there is a section where you outline your partner’s details (section G), you must fill out one form each.
Check, check and check again
“Proofread and ensure all spellings of names are correct,” cautions Lucy Black at Fuze Ceremonies.
“Make sure you double-check you’ve enclosed all of the supporting documents needed,” urges Davina.
Witnesses’ details must be included
“You must indicate two people over the age of 16 to be your witnesses,” says Davina. “Couples often choose the best man and one of the bridesmaids, or one person from each set of parents. For elopements, they’ll often ask their photographer, who will in turn find a friend to be the second. Whoever you pick, the witnesses are crucial – they need to be able to hear the intention of marriage during the ceremony, so they can sign the schedule with the two of you.”
“The registrar will ask for the witnesses’ details when you submit the M10 forms,” Lucy adds. “You must know each witness’s full name and address; there is a form that can be filled out with their information, or you can include it on a separate piece of paper.”
“If one or both of the witnesses can’t attend the ceremony for any reason, you’ll need to let the registrar know as soon as possible,” points out Davina.
Submitting the form
“It’s best to contact the registry office of the area in which you’re marrying to check what works best,” advises Lucy. “Some couples make an appointment to submit in person, while others post the forms via recorded delivery, depending on where they’re based.”
The Marriage Schedule: what is it?
“This important legal document is produced by the registrar once he or she is satisfied that both people are able to marry,” Davina says. “It’s proof that you are legally able to wed.”
What do you need to do with the Schedule
(i) if you are having a religious or ‘belief’ ceremony?
“If you are having a religious or ‘belief’ ceremony [under which humanist, interfaith and other celebrant-led ceremonies fall], the schedule must be collected from the registry office during the week of the wedding by one of the parties getting married,” says Lucy. “Most offices will provide brides and grooms with a specific date to come and collect it.”
Guard the schedule with your life: it needs to be handed over to the celebrant on the morning of the wedding.
“No marriage can go ahead without the schedule,” warns Davina. “It will be signed after the celebrant has pronounced you married. The witnesses will usually be invited up at this stage. The schedule must be signed in black ink – it’s worth practising with a fountain pen beforehand if you’re not used to one!”
“The schedule needs to be returned to the registry office within three days of the wedding,” Lucy notes. “It can be handed in by anyone – it can even be put through the letterbox. But don’t post it, in case it gets delayed or lost.”
(Photo: Chloe Burns Photography)
What do you need to do with the Schedule
(ii) if you are having a civil ceremony?
For those planning a civil ceremony, led by a local registrar, it’s important to note that the process surrounding the marriage schedule is different. The registrar will not issue the marriage schedule to you in advance (so no need to collect), but will bring it along to the ceremony ready to be signed on the day. He or she will also take responsibility for returning it to the registration office – so you’re off the hook in that regard too.
The marriage certificate
There’s one final, and most vital, document waiting for you. And this time you get to keep it… “Your marriage certificate will be produced around seven days after your schedule is handed in,” explains Davina. “It can be posted to you or, if you’re local, you can pick it up.”
“Some registry offices will even provide you with the certificate when you hand back the schedule,” adds Lucy.