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Civil Weddings Abroad

A civil wedding is a marriage ceremony which takes place without any kind of religious instruction. So any marriage which takes place in a registry office is a civil wedding as registry offices are state run entities which are open to all and do not allow any religious mentions in ceremonies which take place there.

Some countries only recognise civil ceremonies, so if you would like to have a church or other religious ceremony double check that it is legal in the country in which you wish to marry. If it isn't then you can still have your religious wedding, but you will have to do a civil ceremony as well in order to be legally married.

For example, in France church and state are separate, so anyone who marries in France has to have a civil ceremony at the town hall to be legally wed. Many couples then go on to have a church wedding afterwards as well (either on the same day or sometimes months later), which they then consider to be their "real" wedding day, even though technically the civil ceremony is the legal one.

All countries recognise civil marriage ceremonies, so when it comes down to choosing where you get married there are no restrictions for this type of ceremony.

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