Marriage and Civil Partnerships

Getting married 

At 16 you can legally marry, however you must:

  • not be married already. 
  • be able to understand the ceremony and give your consent. 
  • not be a close relative of the other person, e.g. mother or brother, but you may marry a cousin. If in doubt, ask your local Registrar (General Register Office for Scotland website).
  • have two witnesses, aged 16 or over, present at the ceremony. 
  • give at least 15 days notice to the Registrar of Births, Death and Marriages of the registration area in which the marriage is to take place, taking with you the birth certificates of the two people wishing to marry and any other appropriate documents (e.g. divorce certificates). 

Where to get married? 

If you marry anywhere other than in a registration office, or approved place, you will require the services of a religious celebrant (minister or priest) and a Marriage Schedule must be returned to the Registrar within three days. (You can marry without a religious celebrant if it is in an 'approved place'. You can get a list of approved places from your local registrar).

If you need further information take a look at the leaflet Marriage in Scotland from the General Register Office for Scotland.

If you want to get married abroad, find out how long you have to be resident in the holiday resort of your dreams before you can marry.

Civil partnerships

Civil partnership is the legal way to formalise same-sex relationships, and to get the same rights as married couples. A civil partnership means two people of the same sex can register as civil partners.

Any two people can register a civil partnership in Scotland provided that:

  • both are at least 16 years of age. 
  • they are not related to one another in a way which would prevent them from registering their civil partnership. 
  • each is unmarried or not already registered as a civil partner. 
  • they are of the same sex.
  • they are capable of understanding a civil partnership.

If you need further information take a look at the leaflet 'Registering a Civil Partnership is Scotland' from the General Register Office for Scotland.