The curious reasons why
Marriage Documents are signed with black ink
(04/08/2019) | Categories:
|Wedding Ceremony | Wedding Legals
Have you ever wondered why your marriage
certificate must be signed in black ink? Or, indeed,
why the Notice of Intended Marriage should be filled
in using black ink (if you're filling it in by hand)?
Black ink is a requirement that has carried through to
Australia from the legal environment in England,
where, even today, marriage registers must be signed
in registrars ink, using a fountain pen (or quill or
Registrars ink is blue-black iron-gall ink. It is used
by registrars and clergy for signing official
documents because the ink does not fade over time.
Blue-black, means black (not blue). Black ink can be
purple-black, or brown-black.
In Australia, ball-point pens are acceptable to sign
marriage documents. And I always provide an elegant
pen for this purpose.
But there is also another reason for the requirement
to use black ink, almost lost in history (except in
office stationery cupboards where blue ball-point pens
tend to far outnumber stocks of black, green, or red
In many fields, the color of the ink was actually
correlated to the seniority or authoritative nature of
what was being written. Blue was the standard 'worker
bee' color, black was for managers, and green was for
senior managers and auditors. That way you could
immediately tell how much authority a memo had or the
level of authority of any signature.
So signing in black not only fulfills legal
requirements, and gives a nod to historical practices,
it emphasises how important and authoritative your
signatures are on your marriage certificate!