The Marriage Ceremony
Find out what to expect at a religious marriage ceremony in Azerbaijan…
Islam is the dominant religion in Azerbaijan and, as well as the civil registration, many couples also undergo a religious wedding ceremony (kebin kesmek) at a mosque. The ceremony is performed by a mullah and, once it is complete, the couple receives a certificate/contract (kebin kahizi) confirming that the marriage has been registered at the mosque. The passports/ID cards of the couple are required and witnesses from the families of both the bride and groom must sign the marriage certificate. Religious marriages are not legally recognised without a civil registration, however.
It is advisable to avoid the month of Muharram to register a marriage at a mosque, however, as for Shi'a Muslims it is traditionally a period of commemoration of Huseyn Ibn Ali, which lasts for 40 days.
Local Customs and Traditions
The family of the bride and groom are very heavily involved in planning a traditional Azerbaijani wedding, and there are many customs and rituals involved in the process. According to local traditions, once a couple makes the decision to get married, the groom's parents pay a visit to the bride's family. During this visit, and provided that the bride's father has given his consent to the marriage, both families decide when the couple can exchange engagement rings. When the engagement rings are exchanged the couple's parents decide on the date for the wedding.
The civil registration and the religious ceremony are often timed to be on the same day, and some couples exchange engagement rings at the State Registry Office prior to the religious ceremony. But, it is also possible to submit application for an official marriage registration and arrange the registration ceremony right at the beginning of the wedding ceremony. In such case a person from the State Registry Office will come to the wedding to carry out the ceremony.
Traditional wedding celebrations were often lavish affairs, often taking place over several days. Nowadays, however, the celebrations generally last for one day and usually take place at a Wedding Palace or restaurant.
Same-sex marriages are not recognised in Azerbaijan.