Enable persons to be married in a place of worship in a parish in the Church in
Wales with which they have a qualifying connection; and for connected
Be it enacted by the Queen’s most Excellent Majesty, by and with the advice and
consent of the Lords Spiritual and Temporal, and Commons, in this present
Parliament assembled, and by the authority of the same, as follows:—
Application of this Act
This Act applies only to parishes in the area subject to the Welsh Church Act
1914 and accordingly any reference to “a parish” is to a parish within that area.
In subsection (1), “the area subject to the Welsh Church Act 1914” means the
area in which the Church of England was disestablished by that Act.
Marriages solemnized in churches, etc. in parishes with which a party has a
A person intending to be married shall have the like, but no greater, right to
have the marriage solemnized in a parish church of a parish with which he or
she has a connection specified in subsection (3) (in this Act referred to as a
“qualifying connection”) as that person has to have the marriage solemnized in
the parish church of the parish in which he or she resides or which is his or her
Where a church or other building is licensed for the solemnisation of marriages
under section 21(1) of the 1949 Act this section shall apply to such church or
other building, while the designation is in force, as it applies to a parish church.
For the purposes of this section a person has a qualifying connection with a
parish in which the marriage is to be solemnized if—
that person was baptised in that parish (unless the baptism took place
in a combined rite which included baptism and confirmation) or is a
person whose confirmation has been entered in the register book of
confirmation for any church or chapel in that parish;
that person has at any time had his or her usual place of residence in
that parish for a period of not less than six months;
that person has at any time habitually attended public worship in that
parish for a period of not less than six months;
a parent of that person has during the lifetime of that person had his or
her usual place of residence in that parish for a period of not less than
six months or habitually attended public worship in that parish for that
a parent or grandparent of that person has been married in that parish.
For the purpose of subsection (3)(d) or (e) “parent” includes an adoptive parent
and any other person who has undertaken the care and upbringing of the
person seeking to establish a qualifying connection and “grandparent” shall be
A person who has the right to have a marriage solemnized in accordance with
subsection (1) shall have the like right to have the banns of that marriage
published in the parish church where the marriage is to be solemnized.
The right to have banns published conferred by subsection (5) is additional to
and not in substitution for the requirements of section 6 of the 1949 Act for
banns to be published in the parish church of the parish where the parties to
the marriage reside or of each parish in which one of them resides.
Where a marriage is intended to be solemnized in accordance with subsection
(1) following the publication of banns by virtue of subsection (5) subsections
11(2) and (4) of the 1949 Act shall apply as those subsections apply to a
marriage of which the banns have been published in a parish or district in
which neither of the persons to be married resides by virtue of section 6(4) of
Subject to subsection (9), a person who wishes to have his or her marriage
solemnized in accordance with subsection (1) shall provide such information,
written or otherwise, as the minister of the parish in which the marriage is to
be solemnized may require in order to satisfy himself or herself that that
person has a qualifying connection, and—
section 8 of the 1949 Act shall apply as if the reference in that section to
a clergyman were a reference to the minister; and
the minister shall be under a duty, when considering whether any
information provided to him or her is sufficient to satisfy himself or
herself under this subsection that the person wishing to have the
marriage solemnized has a qualifying connection, to have regard to any
guidance issued under section 4.
If the minister considers that it is necessary to do so, in order to satisfy himself
or herself that a person has a qualifying connection, he or she may require that
person to supply or support any information required to be provided under
subsection (8) by means of a statutory declaration.
Where a public chapel is licensed by a bishop for the publication of banns and
the solemnization of marriages under section 20 of the 1949 Act, this section
shall apply as if that chapel were a parish church of the parish or of any parish
the whole or part of which is within the district specified in the licence.
“church” does not include a cathedral;
where a special cure of souls has been assigned to any priest for
the area in which the church where the marriage is to be
solemnized is situated, whether in a Rectorial Benefice or
otherwise, that priest; or
where paragraph (a) does not apply, the incumbent of the
benefice in the area of which that church is situated; or
where neither of the above paragraphs apply, the priest in
charge of that benefice; or
where none of the above paragraphs apply, in the case of a
Rectorial Benefice, the vicar who has held office for the longest
period in that Benefice; or
where none of the above paragraphs apply, the area dean of the
deanery in which that church is situated;
“parish” includes a conventional district; and
any reference to baptism, confirmation, marriage or public worship shall
be construed as a reference to baptism, confirmation, marriage or
public worship, as the case may be, according to the rites of the Church
Where a parish has ceased to exist or the boundaries thereof have been altered
and a person who wishes to have his or her marriage solemnized in accordance
with subsection (1) can establish a qualifying connection with a place situated
within such a parish then, if that place is, at the time when the notice under
section 8 of the 1949 Act is delivered, situated within the parish in which the
church where the marriage is to be solemnized is situated, that person shall be
deemed to have a qualifying connection with that parish.
In relation to the establishment of a qualifying connection under subsection
(3)(a) by virtue of confirmation the references in subsection (12) to a place shall
be construed as a reference to the church or other place of worship in whose
register the confirmation was entered.
Marriage by common licence
Notwithstanding section 15 of the 1949 Act a common licence may be granted
to a person for the solemnization of a marriage in any church or chapel in
which that person may be married under section 2 of this Act, and section
16(1)(b) of the 1949 Act shall, where a common licence may be granted by
virtue of this section, have effect as if it required one of the persons to be
married to swear that one or both of those persons has a qualifying connection
with a parish within the meaning of section 2(3) of this Act and to state the
nature of that connection and section 2(8) of this Act shall apply as if the
reference therein to the minister of the parish were a reference to the authority
having power to grant the licence.
Where an application has been made for the grant of a common licence under
subsection (1), section 2(12) shall have effect as if the reference to the date on
which the notice required under section 8 of the 1949 Act is delivered were a
reference to the date of the application for the grant of the common licence.
The Order of Bishops may from time to time issue guidance as to the exercise
of any functions by a minister under section 2(8) or (9) or by the authority
having power to grant a common licence under section 2(8) as applied by
In this Act “the 1949 Act” means the Marriage Act 1949 (c. 76) and, unless the
context otherwise requires, expressions used in this Act have the same
meaning as in the 1949 Act.
Where a marriage has been solemnized—
in accordance with section 2(1), or
on the authority of a common licence granted by virtue of section 3,
it shall not be necessary in support of the marriage to give any proof that either
party had a qualifying connection with the parish in which the marriage was
solemnized and no evidence shall be given to prove the contrary in any
proceedings touching the validity of the marriage.
Citation, commencement and extent
This Act may be cited as the Marriage (Wales) Act 2010.
This Act shall come into force on the day on which this Act is passed.
This Act extends to England and Wales only.