City of Wolverhampton Council has agreed to waive new marriage notice fees for couples who have been forced to reschedule wedding plans and renew their notices due to the coronavirus crisis.

The law states that any couple intending to marry or form a civil partnership in England or Wales must give formal notice at their local register office.  

This currently costs up to £50 per person in Wolverhampton - made up of a £35 statutory fee and a £15 appointment booking fee which is normally shared if the couple attend together. 

Couples have 12 months from the date they give notice to get married. 

Weddings and civil partnerships due to take place during this period have all been cancelled due to the coronavirus lockdown – so for couples whose notice to marry expires during the lockdown it would have meant that they would have to pay the fees again when they rescheduled their big day. 

City of Wolverhampton Council believes it is unfair to penalise couples for something that is not their fault, so it has decided to waive notice fees if they reschedule their wedding/civil partnership once lockdown is over. 

The registry office is currently closed, apart from registering deaths and is unable to take any new notice applications or reschedule any weddings. Registrars are aware of which couples fall under the category of their notice expiring during lockdown and will contact those affected directly once the registry office reopens to advise them of their options. 

Councillor Steve Evans, cabinet member for city environment, said: “It seemed to us totally unfair that couples would have to fork out another £100 for something that is not their fault. 

“It is national policy to charge these fees, but it seems morally wrong to expect people to pay twice, so we have therefore taken the decision to waive these fees for any couples affected by this. 

“The council will take a financial hit on this, but we are doing what is right and this is our way of trying to help these couples who have been through enough having to cancel their big day due to lockdown. 

“If you are in the category of people whose notice of marriage/civil partnership expires during the lockdown period, then please do not contact the registry office as it is currently closed. We will contact you when this is all over to discuss your options for rescheduling.”