A marriage certificate is an official record certifying that two people have undertaken a marriage ceremony. In the majority of jurisdictions, a marriage certificate is issued by a government official following the civil registration of the marriage. A marriage certificate may be required for several reasons: among others, because of issues of legitimacy of a child, divorce proceedings, change of a party’s name, etc.
A marriage certificate features the following pieces of information:
- The official area where the marriage was registered (district, sub-district and county).
- The date and place of marriage.
- The bride’s full name.
- The bride’s age.
- The bride’s residence at the time of marriage.
- The bride’s rank or profession.
- The full name and occupation of the bride’s father.
- The groom’s full name.
- The groom’s age.
- The groom’s residence at the time of marriage.
- The groom’s rank or profession.
- The full name and occupation of the groom’s father.
- Details of the marital status of both the bride and the groom (bachelor/spinster if either party had never been married before, widow/widower if either party had been married and their previous partner died, or previously dissolved if either party had previously been divorced).
- The marriage witnesses’ full names.
- The registrar’s full name and signature.
- The date when the certificate was issued.
Re-issued marriage certificates include expressions such as “Certified to be a true copy of an entry in the marriage register”. This is a standard expression included in every official marriage certificate since it refers to the fact that the certificate is a copy of the details contained in the marriage register. It does not mean that it is a photocopy of an original record and therefore can be used for all legal purposes.