The Marriage Ceremony

What to expect from civil and religious marriage ceremonies in Germany...

The marriage normally takes place in the district where the notice of marriage was issued. If the district is different to the issuing district, the documentation must be provided to the new district before the marriage is allowed.

For a marriage to be legally recognised in Germany both parties must appear at the local registry office (Standesamt) in the presence of two witnesses. This is all that is required and many couples do not bother with a religious ceremony. There is a charge for the wedding at the Standesamt and the ceremony is usually conducted in German. It is possible to engage the services of an interpreter (who can also take on the role of witness).

The actual ceremony takes place in rooms reserved exclusively for the purpose and efforts are made to create a pleasant and attractive setting. Some larger towns and cities (such as Frankfurt) may have more than one possible venue.

If there is to be a religious ceremony it must take place after the civil ceremony. Germany has a wide choice of cathedrals, palaces and other venues, which take wedding bookings. There are also agencies that can arrange the hire of clothing, limousines and so on.

Officers at Embassies and Consulates do not have the authority to perform marriages for their own nationals. There is no obligation to register the marriage with the Embassy or Consulate.

Non-Germans marrying a German citizen do not automatically become German nationals themselves. The duration of time for citizenship depends on the non-German bride or groom's country of origin.

Further Information