Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Getting Married in London... The Saga Begins

I promise not to turn this blog into a blow-by-blow description of my upcoming nuptials, but getting married in a foreign country definitely presents an interesting insight into the psyche of the nation.

Like why, for example, I need to have an 'interview' with a registrar of the borough (the part of London) where I live. Or why I need to wait sixteen 'clear' days -- with my notice of marriage posted outside Chelsea Town Hall -- to see if anyone objects to me marrying before I can actually do the deed. Or, indeed, why the registrar needs to know the occupation of my father!

So many questions, so many questions. I should point out that none of this is because I'm not a British citizen; with settlement status, it's exactly the same procedure a British citizen would undergo. Perhaps I'm just being naive (having never undergone through this whole rigmarole of getting married in Canada), but I believe that in my home land, you set the date, get a license within a week at most, the guests come, you sign a register and that's that!

It's more complicated here, for sure. The Man and I want to get married on the South Bank (borough of Lambeth) but we live in Kensington & Chelsea. Let the fun begin! First, we must go to Chelsea to give our 'Notice of Marriage'. Then, we have to provisionally hold our venues, get in touch with Lambeth, get a registrar from there to give us his/her availability for our date, then confirm our venues... then send out the invites! By the time this dance is over, any hope of finding a mutually convenient date for all parties is a moot point. You just hope you get married; sometime, somewhere!

Luckily for us, after chasing down (some might say stalking) a registrar from Lambeth, and after an 'interesting' interview with a registrar from Kensington & Chelsea, everything seemed to come together! Or at least, no-one's objected yet!

And why does the UK need to know my father's occupation for me to get married?

The registrar's answer: 'Because we're a bloody chauvinist country!'


Michele said...

Congratulations on your engagement!

The hoops you have to jump through are really interesting. I wonder if anyone ever objects to a posting, and what happens if they do. I'm hoping you won't have to find out firsthand, of course!

Marsha said...

Thanks Michele! I hope I never have to find out, either...

Nancy J. Parra said...

Oh-*disappointed* I was looking forward to a blow by blow of the wedding. ;)

When I got married I had to post my intention as well- three Sundays in a row- and get counseled-but maybe because I was married in the roman catholic church.

Thanks for the interesting tidbits. Cheers!

Anonymous said...

I recently married a Brit and we went through much of what you describe. It was interesting to me as well that even though both of our fathers have been dead for many years...they still had to write down father's occupation.

We married in the registry office in Bodmin which was actually quite pretty, but I recently photographed my first UK church wedding and some things are very different here as far as wedding traditions in church settings. The vicar had a good time with it all.