'Historic anomaly' corrected: Both parents to be included on marriage certificates

May 04, 2021

The names of both parents are to be included on marriage certificates in England and Wales, rather than just the name of the father.

The change comes as a new electronic system is brought in to modernise and speed up the process of registering marriages, helping to clear a backlog that built up during the coronavirus pandemic.

The Home Office said that recording the name of a person's mother as well as their father would "correct a historic anomaly".

Marriages are currently registered by the couple signing a register book, which is held at register offices, churches, chapels, and at religious premises registered for marriage.

But the new system will mean a single electronic register, which will save time, money, and be more secure, as it eliminates the need for data to be extracted from hard copies, the Home Office said.

The system goes live on 4 May.

A Home Office spokesperson said: "These regulations to amend the Marriage Act mark the biggest changes to the marriage registration system since 1837."

The Reverend Dr Malcolm Brown, director of mission and public affairs for the Church of England, said: "We are very pleased that the marriage registration system can now include the names of mothers as well as fathers on registers.

"Changing practices that go back many years is never straightforward, but we believe the new system changes as little as possible in terms of the couple's experience of their church wedding and that the clergy will find the new regulations become second nature very quickly."

Under the government's coronavirus guidance, weddings can take place with up to 15 people in premises that are permitted to open.

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