Why Are Mothers’ Names Not on Marriage Certificates?


With over 250,000 marriages every year, there are plenty of proud parents celebrating the wedding of their children. When it comes to the legal documentation, you’d think both parents would have equal input, right?

Why are mothers’ names not listed?

Currently, on marriage certificates in England and Wales, only the names and also occupations of the fathers are requested. Here’s the good news. It looks like this might be about to change.

An ‘outdated’ convention

Similar to many things in society, marriage certificates have not kept up with modern times. The information on a marriage certificate has changed little since the 1800s.

But as we head towards 2020, we expect equality. Mum puts in a tremendous amount of time to ensure your day is special. But, when it comes down to the official stuff only dad’s information is deemed necessary. For most couples, this has become outdated and also old-fashioned to say the least. It harkens back to an era that is long gone.

For too long, the traditions of marriage have snubbed the mothers of brides and also grooms. This convention reflects an era where women were not expected to have occupations, and the father was the most important person in the family.

Moving with the times

In 2019, many people are fed up with this tradition. They want marriage certificates to get with the times. Marriage is all about making a home life for two committed people. Since Mum’s are the ones generally running the house when they are not at work, their name should be proudly shown on the Marriage Certificate. And, it would seem the powers that be agree. It now looks like we can expect that Marriage Certificates shall finally include the mother’s names.

This would bring England and Wales into line with Scotland and Northern Ireland, which already include the details of the mothers. Put simply, it will allow couples to give the names of both parents on marriage and civil partnership documentation.

Further Reading: What You Need to Get Married in the UK

Backing in parliament

According to The Sunday Times, the Home Office have “signed off” on the proposals to change the details on certificates. This comes after a campaign led by Dame Caroline Spelman, the Church of England’s official representation, and the Rev Alan Smith, Bishop of St Albans, who is a part of the House of Lords.

Looking to the future, changes seem likely and will be first, of hopefully many, modernisation steps of marriage registration.

Need your marriage certificate?

Plenty of people need a copy of their marriage certificate, whether it’s for legally changing your name, insurance purposes or buying a house. And it’s entirely possible you’ve misplaced your original and need a replacement quickly.

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