Photo Credit: Monica Hjelmslund
In the meantime, below you will find we have put together a comprehensive & helpful guide for couples on:
- Which are the most popular wedding destinations for couples looking to marry abroad simply
- What factors you may need to consider for a simple, fuss free wedding abroad
- Why getting married in Denmark might just be the perfect choice for you
Watch this video to learn more about why Denmark is one of the easiest countries to get married for foreign couples in the world, and why so many couples travel here every year for their wedding.
Where Do We Begin If We Want To Marry Abroad?
So you and your partner have decided that getting married in a foreign country is definitely for you! Well, the first thing you’re likely to do next is turn to the internet.
Weddings abroad are a BIG business and this will become plainly obvious when you do a simple search online.
Photo Credit: Tandem Weddings
Wedding packages, wedding holidays, all inclusive wedding trips, high prices, low prices, huge event weddings abroad, large elopements, small elopements, and everything in between…. Aaaaaarrrrggghhhhh. It can already feel like too much but we’re here to tell you…don’t despair!
First of all you need to decide what YOU want from your wedding day. Do you want a wedding in a hot country or are you happy with a more moderate climate? Or does this not matter to you in the slightest?
Do you want to be surrounded by lots of your family and friends or would you prefer to keep it super intimate with a beautiful and small wedding day elopement for just the 2 of you?
Budget might be an important factor for you both.
Also, time… how much time do you have to dedicate to being able to marry abroad – both for planning pre-wedding and then for your actual wedding?
Will it simply need to be quick and fuss free, or would you like your wedding abroad to be part of a long holiday?
Whatever your answers to these and the many more questions you might have, the main point that will likely keep arising will be that you just want the whole process of marrying abroad to be as simple as it could possibly be!
Main Points To Consider If You Want To Marry Abroad Simply?
Each and every country in the world has its own rules and processes that must be followed if you want to get married there, international couple or not.
While we would be here a very long time if we were to go into the details of every single country in the world’s marriage procedures, we can offer you a basic checklist that you should consider and investigate further before deciding which country in which you would like to get married.
We hope this could save you a fair bit of time in the long run when it comes to choosing the most stress free wedding location:
Rules such as age restrictions (i.e. not being under a certain age) and not being directly related to the person you wish to marry, along with others, will be in place in most countries. Check these rules out before you proceed.
You will be asked to provide various official papers and documents such as your passports, Visas, proof of termination of a previous marriage (where applicable) etc when making your marriage application.
Exactly which documents are required will of course vary from country to country.
A lot of places will ask for your birth certificate and / or a Marital Status Certificate (aka CNI). These can sometimes be tricky or lengthy documents to obtain, depending on where you’re from.
Some of your documents may also require additional legalisation for use in foreign countries.
You should thoroughly investigate exactly which documents will be required from you both before you make any wedding application as making an application without first obtaining everything that is required could cause lengthy delays to the application process.
Submitting an application for a wedding abroad will inevitably cost money. Somebody in an office will be processing your application, checking your documents and potentially requesting further information / additional documents from you. This requires not only time, but money, and the cost for this service will also vary from office to office in country to country.
You should note that if you are choosing to hire a venue and wedding vendors such as a photographer or catering for your wedding, that these fees will be separate and additional to any processing fee you will pay for your marriage application. So be certain of exactly what costs you will need to pay for every aspect of the wedding prior to starting. This ensures you can properly budget and there are no unexpected or nasty surprises.
There will likely be different rules or procedures involved with a Civil Ceremony compared to a Religious Ceremony. You will need to ascertain what kind of wedding you will be having before making your application.
Make sure you are fully aware of any extra procedures in place or officials you need to liaise with prior to or during the application process for a religious ceremony. Please also familiarise yourself with any rules that must be adhered to for a religious service compared to a civil ceremony. For example, in some countries, if you choose to have a civil ceremony, you must not have any religious content to your wedding, such as hymns or religious readings.
Please note, you may be required to state the preferred location / venue for your wedding before making your application.
There will be a specific department or ‘office’ where all marriage applications should be submitted for each country for civil ceremonies.
To give you some examples…
- UK – applications are made to the ‘General Register Office’ (GRO)
- Germany – apply to the Registrar’s Office local to where you wish to get married (Standesmant).
- Denmark – has one main government department called ‘The Agency of Family Law’ (AFL).
- Canada – you must have a marriage licence before you can get married. These are applied for from the provincial municipal office OR the ‘Department of Vital Statistics’ local to where you are wanting to get married
- Turkey – applicants should apply directly to the municipality where they wish to get married
- The USA – applications* should be made to the local county clerk / clerk of the courthouse where a licence will be issued prior to the marriage ceremony being able to take place.
*rules / timings may vary from state to state
Please note, these may be different and / or involve additional processes if you are wanting to have a religious wedding.
Some countries have very specific rules about foreigners travelling from abroad who want to marry there. These rules might vary depending on your circumstances or even the circumstances of that country.
For example in Spain, if neither of you are a Spanish citizen, one of you must first be a legal resident of Spain before you are able to get married there.
This would obviously cause a problem for a lot of couples hoping to get married abroad as simply as possible and in fact mean for the majority, Spain would not be an option.
Gibraltar however, is known for being one of the easier countries to get married. This is because, while Gibraltar is physically part of Spain, it is actually a British ‘overseas territory’ and so follows British requirements with regards to getting married there.
Every single country is different, each with their own individual rules and processes for those wanting to get married there. This is why we stress the importance of first taking the time to check what the rules and processes are in the country you have in mind for your wedding, to ensure that you will be able to marry there simply.
Photo Credit: Elena Belevantseva
So, Where Can I Get Married Abroad Simply?
The million dollar question!
In order to marry abroad simply, you’ll first need to determine which countries have a relatively straightforward system in place for international couples who want to get married abroad.
The most popular countries in the world for international weddings, based on the ease in which you can get married abroad, in no particular order, are:
- Las Vegas – well ok, yes, of course it had to be top of the list! It’s not called ‘The Wedding Capital of the World’ for no reason!! Show your passports at the courthouse, receive your marriage licence, find a venue (there are LOADS to choose from), make your vows and you’re married. It is literally that easy!
- Denmark – A huge amount of couples travel to Denmark every year to get married here, around 20,000 in fact! The documentation requirements are simple and the process straightforward, and you do not have to physically be in Denmark to make a marriage application.
- The Caribbean – a very popular destination for obvious reasons. Please do check the document requirements & marriage laws as these do vary slightly with each of the Caribbean countries and there can be waiting times involved. But on the whole, these seem to be more than worth it for a lot of couples, simply because at the end of it all, you get to have your wedding in the Caribbean! 🙂
- New York – Another popular destination for couples wanting to elope. Aside from the obvious draw of being in New York and getting married there, the document requirements are pretty simple. You do however, need to make your marriage application in person but this doesn’t take a long time and if granted, the license will be issued the same day.
- Gibraltar – As previously mentioned Gibraltar is located in Spain but is actually part of the British ‘overseas territory’, which means that the application process is the same as if you were wanting to get married in the UK, but with one key difference, there is no waiting period or ‘giving notice’ as it is known in the UK. You must stay in Gibraltar for 24 hours prior to your wedding.
How to Marry Abroad Simply in Denmark
Denmark is Europe’s most popular wedding destination for foreign couples and has been for many years. The Danish government has welcomed international couples from around the world to come to Denmark for their wedding from before the 1960s.
Aside from just being generally an awesome place, it is set up really, really well for international couples wanting to get married simply there.
Denmark was also the first country in the world to legalise gay marriage, meaning that it’s a hugely popular destination for the LGBTQ+ community too.
The documentation requirements in Denmark are incredibly straightforward, no matter your individual circumstances or how complex you feel your situation might be and you do not need a birth certificate OR a marital status certificate in order to get married here. The only documents you will need are as follows:
- Passport or EU ID
- Visa or Residence Permit (only where applicable)
- Proof of residence (only where applicable)
- Divorce decree or Death certificate if previously married (only where applicable)
- Birth certificate of any children you have together (where applicable)
- Military ID or Letter from Commander (applicable for military members)
- Relationship Document – an unofficial document required by the Danish authorities and shows that you are in a genuine relationship
The process is simple and if you have your documentation thoroughly in order and properly organised for your application, it is possible to get an approval for your wedding and a date secured in as little as 5 working days*.
*Note: This can be slightly longer during extremely busy periods.
There are a great many amazing town halls located all over Denmark for a simple wedding and stunning alternative locations for a more bespoke wedding, depending on what you’re hoping for.
There is a fantastic wedding community here in Denmark and we here at Getting Married in Denmark are incredibly proud to be a part of it.
Located in Copenhagen, we have been helping couples get married in Denmark since 2014, more than 7000 couples and counting to date, in fact!
We will assist you with your documentation, making sure everything is in order and fits the Danish authorities’ very precise document standards. We will even make your application for you and book your date at the town hall!
We are your local friends who you can ask anything, meaning all you will need to focus on are the fun and exciting parts of your wedding day.
If you’d love to know more about Denmark as a place in which you would like to marry abroad simply, get your free documentation list here, we’re really looking forward to hearing from you!
Please note information is correct at time of writing, however the finer details may change over time should the processes in the countries mentioned be altered. These changes may not be reflected in this article.