This morning the commune of Ærø invited me to a brunch meeting (they are so lovely to us), where I represented our agency, Getting Married in Denmark. The meeting was to update us on what information is known so far about the changes to the wedding processes associated with the new Danish marriage law.
The new marriage law starts January 1st, 2019. The meeting was also held to discuss how Ærø wishes to continue to be the Danish Wedding Island.
*If you want my conclusion without reading further, then I believe the government is just winging it. But please do read on to get the details of why I think so. 🙂
The New Danish Marriage Law
We where ten wedding agencies, the local tourist information, Visit Aeroe, the wedding office team and the Mayor of Ærø, Ole W Petersen. They had held a similar event last year, at that time there wasn’t a member of the team at Getting Married in Denmark who was able to make it, so it was my first time meeting many of the other agencies in person. Quite impressive to be honest as we have been in the game for almost four years, but the wedding industry is small, and the agencies are located all across Denmark and Germany.
If you didn’t get a chance yet to read my article How to get married in Denmark with the changed marriage law, then I’ll just quickly summarise it:
The government has removed the authority from the local communes, so they can no longer deal with the documentation side of things, when a none – danish couple wishes to get married in Denmark. Going forward the documentation will be handled by a centralised Special Unit. It will still be possible to get married in Ærø, Copenhagen and other places that wish to continue helping international weddings, but there will certainly be changes.
If you want to get the full details, please read the article above.
So with that in place, back to the meeting in Ærø (Brunch meeting.. Mmmm).
My takeaways were as following:
- The government do not currently know how the process will run
- The government will take the wedding fee of the communes and double it
- The first six months with the new Danish marriage law will become a challenge
To be clear, when I write “The Government,” it is more specifically The Ministry for Children and Social Affairs and The State Administration. It is not the communes. The communes (and us, the wedding agencies) are the ones left in limbo. It’s healthy to have a bit of challenge now and again, I have heard.
In the picture is Anne Bille from the commune of Ærø. A lovely person.
THE GOVERNMENT DO NOT CURRENTLY KNOW HOW THE PROCESS WILL RUN
Let’s start with something positive, the only thing we do know for sure is the process will be run strictly digitally. So there will be a digital platform in place, likely the same as the one some town halls already use. It also hints that there will be little or no personal help with the documentation, from this new Special Unit.
The above will not become an issue for us at Getting Married in Denmark as we have built up an internal knowledge base similar to what the town halls have done over time.
We also know that six months after the law is starting on January 1st, 2019, the numbers an evaluation of the new Special unit will be sent off to the minister and they will reevaluate the law after 12 months in place.
So far so good. There is, however, no news about whether or not couples will have to show the original documentation at the commune they wish to get married at, whether it will be at the Special Unit or not at all.
We do not know how the Special Unit will be interpreting the marriage law regarding required documentation, legalisation and use of the exception.
We do not know if the new law, will be passed as written now or it will be amended, as the final vote will be in late October 2018.
THE GOVERNMENT WILL TAKE THE WEDDING FEE OF THE COMMUNES AND DOUBLE IT
The current fee is 118 € and this is currently paid to the commune you wish to get married in. The fee covers: finalising your wedding certificates, several administrative archiving tasks, as well as conducting the ceremony. In January 2019, this fee will be nearly doubled up to 220 euros and as things stand now, the fee solely goes to the new Special unit, the commune will have to fund their work them self.
Now to me, that seems a lot like the government got carried away and forgot to look at how this decision would affect anyone else but their budget. This concerns me and I am waiting to see the outcome and how it will effect things. The reason being that it will have a significant effect on what town halls and whether it will be possible to get married in around in Denmark.
THE FIRST SIX MONTHS WITH THE NEW DANISH MARRIAGE LAW WILL BECOME A CHALLENGE
With my face heavily buried in my hands, how can someone think that starting this new Danish marriage law on January 1st, 2018 is a good idea? When the department (The State Administration) who are setting up the new Special unit, is closed down and moved somewhere else three months later on April 1st, 2019?
The new Danish marriage law main objective is to build a Special unit, who will deal with the documentation for all international weddings in Denmark. However, the first three months it will be run by one set of people in one department, and then three months later it will be handed over to a new team in a newly opened department.
That seems like a good old-fashioned mess. Could the law not have been started April 1st, 2019? These are my words only, but it seems like the government is thinking, “We don’t quite know how to deal with it, but we’re just going to wing it anyway”
But let’s see. Hopefully, the government will amaze us all, and I will have to write a blog post next year about how I was utterly wrong.
If you have any thoughts or questions about the new Danish marriage law, please drop us a line from our Contact page and refer to this article.