National Records of Scotland

Preserving the past, Recording the present, Informing the future

Who can be a celebrant for marriage/civil partnership in Scotland?

Who can be a celebrant for marriage/civil partnership in Scotland?

Couples in Scotland have the freedom to choose to have a civil, religious or belief marriage or civil partnership ceremony. 

Civil Celebrants

Under Scots law the only people who can conduct civil marriage ceremonies are registrars and assistant registrars who have been authorised by the Registrar General.

Independent or private civil celebrants cannot be authorised to solemnise a civil marriage or civil partnership ceremony. However independent and private civil celebrants may provide non-legal ceremonies in Scotland such as funerals, baby naming, vow renewals or wedding blessings.

If you are unsure that your celebrant is authorised to conduct a legal ceremony, please contact the registration office (62 KB PDF) in the district where your ceremony is to take place before engaging with the celebrant.

Religious or Belief Celebrants

Religious or belief ceremonies can be solemnised by an approved celebrant who has been authorised under the terms of the Marriage (Scotland) Act 1977. Authorisation under the Act applies to celebrants for marriage ceremonies.

Religious bodies include, but are not limited to, Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Sikh and Hindu communities and organisations.

Belief bodies include, but are not limited to, humanist, pagan, spiritualist and interfaith communities and organisations.

The authorisation of religious or belief celebrants who are not approved by a legally prescribed body are processed by National Records of Scotland (NRS) Marriage & Civil Partnership Team on behalf of the Registrar General in line with our official guidance.

Obtaining authorisation to solemnise a marriage ceremony?

Celebrants seeking authorisation, including family members or friends of the couple should email NRS Marriage and Civil Partnership Team for guidance on the documentation they will be required to submit and should include the following information:-

•    Their full name
•    The name of the body they will be solemnising a marriage or completing a civil partnership ceremony on behalf of
•    The date of the marriage or civil partnership