These are the marriage certificate changes coming into effect in England

Marriage certificates will now include mother’s names – and not just the father’s – in England and Wales.

It follows a new change to the registration system from May 4 which will see an electronic system being introduced.

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It’s hoped it will modernise and speed up the process, helping to support the backlog of marriages as the two countries navigate their way out of lockdown.

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

Time and money saved

The Home Office said the creation of a single electronic marriage register would save time and money and be more secure, as the new system eliminates the need for data to be extracted from hard copies.

The department said that as well as simplifying the registration system, the changes would “correct a historic anomaly” by allowing for the names of both parents to appear on the marriage entry.

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“These regulations to amend the Marriage Act mark the biggest changes to the marriage registration system since 1837,” a spokesperson said.

‘Will become second nature’

The changes have been made in consultation with stakeholders, such as the Church of England.

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.”

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Weddings can currently take place with up to 15 attendees in premises that are permitted to open, in line with Government guidance.

Up to 30 people will be able to attend weddings, receptions and wakes from no earlier than May 17.

Additional reporting by PA.