The names of mothers of the parties to a marriage will now be included on marriage certificates for the first time across England and Wales. Until now, only the names of the fathers or step fathers needed to be included on the official documentation, as a record of the ceremony.

The change, which has been implemented today, follows the amendment of the Marriage Act and the introduction of a new electronic registration system by the government. The Home Office said the move to have mothers’ names on the certificate will “correct a historic anomaly” by allowing the names of both parents to be recorded. This brings England and Wales into line with the rest of the UK where couples are already asked to give the names of both parents on marriage or civil partnership documentation. This change has previously been resisted by the government on the ground of costs.

Marriages are currently registered by the couple signing a register book, which is held at the local registry office, or at religious premises registered for marriage such as a church or chapel. The new system will see a single register, rather than the thousands (estimated to be over 80,000) at locations around the country. The government says that this will save time, money and be more secure, it will also eliminate the need for data to be extracted from the original hard copies in future.

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.”

The change to registration will perhaps also be welcomed by those who have been raised by separated mothers alone for example, as they will now be able to include the name of their mother, as opposed to just their father, whom they may have had no relationship with throughout their life.

Whether you are married, unmarried, looking to cohabit, in a same sex partnership or part of an extended family, solid legal advice at an early stage is always recommended. Our experienced family team can assist you in resolving potential difficulties and provide you with legal advice on all aspects of your relationship, including pre and post nuptial agreements, civil partnerships, and all areas of marital and non marital relationships and cohabitation. For more information, please contact our family law team at B P Collins, on 01753 889995 or email

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