Minimum marriage age raised from 16 to 18 in England and Wales

Marriage Legislation Changes

Up until 27th February 2023, people could get married at ages 16 or 17 across England and Wales, provided they had parental consent. It wasnt against the law for weddings or ceremonies of this age bracket if they were not registered with their local council also. It was only a criminal offence to marry under the age of 18 if it could be proven that coercion or threat had been used to force the marriage.

New Law Minimum Age rises to 18

With this new law, it is illegal for any 'child' under the age of 18 to marry - under any circumstances and this includes arrangement of 'child' marriages.

This new law also means people have to be aged 18 and above to have a legal or non legal wedding service or ceremony, under this new law.

Non legal wedding ceremonies currently can be performed by Celebrants, Humanists or Imrans for example, but it will also impact other religious leaders too. It will also mean that couples wanting a friend to conduct a non legally binding ceremony cannot do so unless the couple are aged 18 and over.

It is hoped to protect more children from forced marriages, and seen as a landmark for all campaigners, where child marriage is often associated with domestic violence

The changes do not apply to Northern Ireland or Scottish.

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Written by
Amanda-Louise Knight

Amanda-Louise is the creative director of her UK award winning business, Amanda-Louise Knight Weddings Proposals & Events. She provides advice to modern couples who want unforgettable weddings that set the tone about their celebrations and love.

Amanda-Louise is a current celebrant, and has been involved in the events industry for over 30 years. Her love for logistics, she is wedding and marriage proposal planner in the South West of England. A dog lover herself, she is owner of Somerset Wedding Day Dog Chaperone Service ensuring furry babies are included or cared for by her team.

She is mentor to other celebrants and venue consultant to her corporate business clients dedicating her time to helping them grow their own businesses.

And it all starts with making a date with Amanda-Louise!

‍Blog Disclaimer - the article is opinion based by the author only, the content is for information purposes only, and as such is not guaranteed. Whilst its intended to be accurate there may be some unintentional errors, mistakes or omissions and therefore may be subject of updating. In accordance with any advice articles should the reader wish to rely on this information, they do so at their own risk. Any prices quoted are accurate at time of writing content.

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