Getting Married in Germany
If you become smitten with love during your stay in Germany, there is a chance you’ll want to get married.
Getting married here starts with presenting yourself at the local Registry office (Standesamt), which is usually located at the Town Hall (Rathaus). Though it’s not absolutely necessary, it’s clearly better if both parties appear together. As this office is quite busy with would-be newlyweds, you should reckon on spending a bit of time waiting and getting through the preliminaries.
Getting married involves a good deal of paperwork if you wish to have your marriage recognized both here and in your home country. And depending on your and your partner’s nationality, there are different rules for different countries. It’s therefore not possible to list here what exactly you’ll need to present at the Registry office.
The official who conducts the initial interview will advise you as to what papers you need to present, though a typical list includes your passports, birth certificates, parents’ marriage certificates, records of all previous marriages with accompanying divorce decrees or death certificates, and any court rulings on children by former marriages. In almost every case, you’ll need to get all your documents translated into in German and officially certified.
The Big Day
You’ll be returning to the Registry office for the civil wedding ceremony itself. This does not mean that you must forego your long-planned church wedding. In Germany many people have a simple civil ceremony at the Registry office on a Thursday where only the closest relatives and friends are invited, then hold the church ceremony on Saturday with a large reception afterwards. Remember, though, that at least one of the partners must be a tax-paying church member in order for the couple to book a church wedding. An interesting point here is that you need not marry at the Registry office where you reside.
It’s not even necessary to get married at the same Registry office where you went through the initial stages of registration. Once you’ve received approval for your marriage, you can get married at a Registry office anywhere in Germany.