Ask Sam letter


To Sam

Can u get engaged at 16 in the uk

if someone is 16 in the uk can they get engaged but not married without consent from parents?

Ask Sam


Hi there,

The law about when you can get married is slightly different depending on if you live in England, Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland. There aren't any laws about when you can get engaged because it’s not legally binding.

Being engaged means two people have agreed that one day they plan to get married. It can be a very big commitment to make to someone, but there aren’t any laws that say you have to go through with it after you’ve said yes. There’s also no age you have to be before getting engaged. It's just an agreement between you and the other person.

Being engaged to get married or have a civil partnership is a big promise and is something that you should think carefully about before agreeing to. If you have a relationship with someone then getting engaged might change that relationship. It could get better or become more difficult, depending on how you both feel about your future together. Asking someone to marry you also may mean they say no, which might affect your relationship.

To actually get married, there are laws about how old you have to be, and how involved your parents or carers have to be, to help keep you safe. In England, Wales and Northern Ireland you can get married at 16 but you’ll need your parent or carer's permission. You can get married at 18 without their permission. In Scotland, you can get married with or without parental permission at 16.

If you want to talk more about what it might be like to be engaged to someone, you can chat with a Childline counsellor online or on the phone – they’re there to listen when you need them.

Thanks for your letter, take care.


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