Getting Married in the Western Isles (Na h-Eileanan Siar) – Your Civil Ceremony
Congratulations! You and your partner can choose to be married at one of the many beautiful venues throughout the Western Isles and all civil marriage ceremonies are conducted by our friendly and professional registrars. Civil ceremonies can take place in a variety of locations including castles, welcoming hotels, luxury holiday cottages and - world class beaches - or the Registrar's own venues. In addition, you can also request a setting of your own choice, for example in your own home or garden, on the beach or a place that holds special memories for you. There is no need for a licence – the location is agreed between you and the registrar.
You don't need to be resident in Scotland to be married here, which makes it easier for overseas visitors.
There are specific legal requirements which must be met before any marriage can proceed. For more detailed information or queries please consult the website of the National Records of Scotland or contact us. You can email us on Registrars@cne-siar.gov.uk or phone one of our offices on our Contact page.
Each of you will need to provide:
- a completed Marriage Notice Application Form (M10) is downloadable from National Records of Scotland website.
- a birth certificate
- a passport – you can post a copy of the photograph page and bring the original when you visit the office. If you don’t have one we may need alternative proof of nationality
- proof of address - dated within the last three months
- if you have been married before, your final divorce document
- or if you have been widowed, the death certificate of your former spouse or civil partner
- details of your two witnesses aged 16 or over – Witness Form (») (Opens in a new window or downloads a file)
You can decide on your witnesses later if necessary.
If you are not a British Citizen:
- and you live outside the UK (or have lived here less than two years) you may need a certificate of no impediment (CONI) from your home country stating you are free to marry
- if you are not a citizen of Britain, the EEA or Switzerland you need to complete a Declaration of Immigration Status (») .
For advice on entry requirements/visas to the UK under immigration rules for marriage and civil partnerships, see the National Records of Scotland website.
When you submit your forms/documents we also need you to pay the appropriate Fees. The Marriage fees depend on the type and location of your ceremony. We accept payment by card, cheque (payable to CnES) or online. Please contact the registrar to confirm your fees as these may include an amount for registrar’s travel.
When and How to Submit Paperwork
The earliest you can submit the forms is three months before your wedding day – we recommend you do this at least six to eight weeks before the date of the ceremony. However if you are not British or an EEA national we recommend you aim to give three months’ notice. The absolute minimum notice is 29 days, but we do not recommend giving less than six weeks’ notice. You can submit the forms by post – please remember to send all accompanying documents and fees.
The addresses of our offices are on our Contact page.
Once we have processed your paperwork and are happy that there are no legal reasons the marriage cannot go ahead we produce a Marriage Schedule. This is a legal requirement for all marriages in Scotland and needs to be signed at your wedding ceremony. For civil ceremonies the registrar will bring this - for religious or belief ceremonies one or both of you will need to attend the registrar’s office during the week of your wedding to collect it.
To book a ceremony in a registrar’s office, contact your selected office directly to check available dates. To be married outwith the registrar’s office please contact the office nearest to your chosen location. In Stornoway, Harris, Balivanich and Barra our staff are on hand to help make your day special. We give you the option to individually tailor and personalise your own ceremony.
Religious/Belief System Ceremony
If you are being married by a religious celebrant or other belief system celebrant, paperwork is still submitted to the registrar six to eight weeks before the date of the wedding. Details of fees.
You will need to contact the celebrant of your choice to make arrangements for your ceremony
Conversion of a Civil Partnership to Marriage
If you are already in a Civil Partnership and wish to take the administration route (only available to couples whose Civil Partnership was registered in Scotland) please contact the relevant registrar’s office to book a date and time. Please bring with you:
- Civil partnership certificate
- Form of identification for both parties
If you wish to convert to marriage by having a ceremony (including couples whose Civil Partnership was registered outwith Scotland) please refer to the information above on getting married.
For any queries or to discuss your wedding with one of our registrars please Contact Us.