Marriage certificates are to include mothers' names for the first time in England and Wales

Next week will see the biggest change to the marriage documentation system since 1837.

(Image credit: Getty Images/Cultura RF)

Next week will see the biggest change to the marriage documentation system since 1837.

When a couple gets married in England or Wales, only their father's names are put on the marriage certificate.

But not from next week, when the mother's names will now also sit on the final certification.

The move, announced today by The Home Office, has been described as a 'correct[ion] of a historic anomaly.'

Previously, only the father of the bride and the father of the groom were on official documents. Now, the change to the official Marriage Act will include all four parents, alongside their job occupations.

Marriage is also set to be recorded digitally for the first time since registry records began in 1837. Until now, all marriages have been recorded in registry books across the country.

This makes the changes part of one of the biggest shake-ups of the system in history.

The digitalised registry will go live on Tuesday next week and promises to help speed up the system. At current, if data is requested from the records, someone has to extract them by hand from the hard copies.

It's estimated that there are around 84,000 register books at offices, churches and chapels across the UK, all full of official marriage registrations.

The Church of England were consulted before the changes were finalised, it has been confirmed.

The Reverend Dr Malcolm Brown, director of mission and public affairs for the Church of England, said of the matter: "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."

These changes have been being pushed for by MPs for years - the rest of the UK already records both the mother and fathers names, with only England and Wales continuing the traditional route until today.

That is, in both Scotland and Northern Ireland both parents are recorded on your marriage documentation, alongside their occupations. The rules are also true of those entering into a civil partnership.

What do you reckon - a smart move or an unnecessary change?

Ally Head
Senior Health, Sustainability and Relationships Editor

Ally Head is Marie Claire UK's Senior Health, Sustainability, and Relationships Editor, nine-time marathoner, and Boston Qualifying runner. Day-to-day, she works across site strategy, features, and e-commerce, reporting on the latest health updates, writing the must-read health and wellness content, and rounding up the genuinely sustainable and squat-proof gym leggings worth *adding to basket*. She's won a BSME for her sustainability work, regularly hosts panels and presents for events like the Sustainability Awards, and saw nine million total impressions on the January 2023 Wellness Issue she oversaw. Follow Ally on Instagram for more or get in touch.