Since 1 July, 1837, the Registrar-General has had a duty to record all valid marriages in England and Wales, no matter what the form of ceremony involved. Since that date the state, represented by a Superintendent registrar of Marriages, has been able to conduct marriages itself. In the case of civil ceremonies, the recording process is similar to that for births. There are again two entries - one kept locally by the Superintendent Registrar, the other by the Registrar-General.
If the wedding takes place in church, the same will often apply because a registrar is present and both church and civil certificates are completed immediately after the ceremony. The latter is kept by the registrar and a copy sent to the General Register Office. However, registrars have not been present at Church of England, Jewish or Quaker marriages since 1837. In this case an 'Authorised Person' (usually the priest or a member of the congregation) is the sole recorder and sends copies of each marriage to the Superintendent Registrar and the General Register Office.
The marriage certificate will tell you the:
And for both parties their:
Giving one's correct age was not compulsory and, up to the mid-twentieth century, is often given as 'full' (ie over 21). 'Minor' or 'under age' meant between twelve and twenty for a girl, between fourteen and twenty for a boy, until 1929 when the lower age limit was raised to sixteen for both parties.
Some Preston marriage indexes are available from 1837 and are being added to weekly. These can be viewed at Lancashire Births Marriages and Deaths.