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Has Lockdown Changed Our Lives?



From working from home to becoming lockdown parents and operating virtually, there has been a major change in daily lifestyles. 

The year 2020 is probably one of the most challenging years in recent times as almost every activity came to a near halt. According to Google Trends and Google Keyword Planner, there has been a rise in wedding-related search terms such as affordable wedding gowns, wedding venues, cheap wedding invitations and wedding ideas.  

With the challenges presented by the Covid- 19 pandemic, Hemel Hempstead recorded an increase in startups as more and more people opted to start their businesses. For instance, the money market came up with more than 2,000 keywords such as best mortgage deals, affordable housing, earn online etc. 

Using Google Trends, many financial markets tried to narrow down the search terms by implementing those that best represent the searcher’s intent. With Google keyword planner, it became possible to get the average number of monthly searches for each group of keywords in major towns and cities in 2020. 

From the findings, localities with the highest number of recorded marriages include Mansfield – East Midlands, Chatham – South East, Huddersfield – Yorkshire and the Humber, Derry/Londonderry – Northern Ireland, and Hemel Hempstead – East. They found a way to settle despite the challenges facing them.

Furthermore, most likely to have started businesses included Slough – South East, Watford – East, Hemel Hempstead – East, Harlow – East and Worcester – West Midlands. 

Many agree that 2020 was a difficult year where there was a massive cancellation of social events, postponement of business trips, school closures and lockdowns everywhere. Businesses are struggling to stay afloat, with many having shut down with massive job losses. 

However, for some, 2020 remains the year that they bought their dream home, started a family, or got their dream job. If you plan to get married in Hertfordshire, weddings and civil partnerships can occur with approximately 6 to 30 invitees depending on room capacity, location, and event date. 

You will need to give notice of at least 29 days before you form a civil partnership. You can do this by signing a legal statement at your local register office stating your desire to marry or form a civil partnership. 

For instance, if you notice the first day of the month, the earliest date you can formalize your union is the 30th day of the month. However, due to the pandemic, some services are not available, so you may have to confirm your locality to know when they will resume. You must hold the ceremony within 12 months of giving notice, and it will cost you £47 if either of the parties is from outside the European Union. 

For you to give notice, you must book an appointment at the local register office, and you must have resided in that registration district for the past seven days. Both you and your partner must give notice separately, more so if you live in different registration districts. Also, you must be observant of lockdown rules to know what you can do and what you cannot do.

You will have to give notice together if you or your partner is from outside the European Union, even if you live in different districts. The information must reach the immigration authorities at the home office, and you will have to wait for 70 days before getting married or forming a civil partnership. 

Furthermore, if you are from or reside in a country that has signed up to the British Subjects Facilities Act, you can give notice in that country, although your partner must be a UK resident. To ascertain if you can do this, check with the registered office near you.

Some countries signed up to the British Subjects Facilities Act include Gambia, Bahamas, Barbados, Botswana, Dominica, Swaziland, Fiji, Ghana, Jamaica, Kenya, Lesotho, Malawi, Malaysia, Canada,Mauritius, , Nigeria, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, New Zealand, Sri Lanka, Zanzibar, Trinidad, Cyprus, and Tobago, Bermuda, and Uganda, 

Documents you will require to give notice. 

As you go to give notice, please remember to carry the following documents for your appointment.

  • A legal passport 
  • If you were born before in the United Kingdom before 1St January, 1983, birth certificate 
  • National Identity Card from European Union, European Economic Area, or Switzerland

European Economic Area (EEA) and The European Union (EU) consist of 27 countries and operate a single market with an easy movement of goods and services between member states. Countries that are members of the European Union include Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Republic of Czech, Germany, Spain, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, and Sweden.

Countries inclusive in the European Economic Area (EEA) are Iceland, Norway and Liechtenstein and are also part of the EU single market. Notably, Switzerland is neither an EU nor EEA member but is part of the single market, meaning Swiss nationals have similar rights to live and work in the UK as other EEA inhabitants.

  • Details for the wedding venue 
  • Verification of proof of your home address. 

To prove your address, you may carry any of the following documents. 

  • A valid United Kingdom, European Union, European Economic Area or Swiss driving license.
  • Bills such as water, electricity or gas charges for the last three months 
  • Bank statements for the past one month.
  • A year’s council tax bills.
  • The past year’s mortgage statements.
  • Present tenancy agreement  
  • Current verification letter from your landlord dated within the past week confirming that you live there. Also, the signed letter should state the landlord’s name and address. If your main address is outside the United Kingdom, you need to give a relative, friend or partner the UK contact address. 
  • Documentation as proof of name changes. 

Notably, if you have been married or in a civil partnership before, as you go for the appointment, remember to carry a decree absolute or final order or your former partner’s death certificate. You must present proof of your divorce, annulment or dissolution, especially if it was settled outside the United Kingdom. You have to part with £50 at the local register office or £75 at the General Register Office to verify the documents.

However, suppose you or your partner is from outside the EU, EEA or Switzerland. In that case, you must bring passport-sized photos for both of you, proof of your immigration status that includes your visa and interpretation of any documents in other languages other than English. So, as long as the couples planning to marry follow the government guidelines, nothing should prevent them from marrying each other.

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