The government says it has corrected “a historic anomaly” by adding the names of mothers of brides and grooms to marriage certificates in England and Wales for the first time.

Marriages will now also be recorded electronically, rather than simply written into a registry book.

These changes to the Marriage Act represent the biggest shake-up in the marriage registration system since 1837 and were made in consultation with the Church of England.

The Reverend Dr Malcolm Brown, director of mission and public affairs for the Church of England, said: “Changing practices that go back many years is never straightforward, but we believe the new system changes as little as possible in terms of the couple’s experience of their church wedding.”

The move brings England and Wales in line with Scotland and Northern Ireland, where couples already give the names of both parents on marriage documentation.