Can Foreigners Get Married in Europe Legally and Easily?

3 Jun 2024·0 min read

Many couples have a dream of getting married in Europe. It has stunning places like Tuscany’s hills and the French Riviera’s blue waters. But, planning a wedding in a foreign country can be hard. You face challenges with languages, money, and traditions. This article looks at how foreigners can get married in Europe. We’ll discuss the rules, the time it takes, and the costs. Plus, we’ll share tips for a smooth destination wedding.

Key Takeaways

  • Many couples, especially from Germany and Ireland, pick Denmark for easy weddings.
  • The Danish Agency of Family Law makes applying to marry simpler for foreigners.
  • In Denmark, you can have your wedding in English or German. The town hall will even provide witnesses.
  • A wedding agency like Getting Married in Denmark makes the process less stressful.
  • Denmark is popular for weddings because it’s easy and legally binding.

Introduction to Getting Married in Europe as a Foreigner

Europe boasts many perfect spots for destination weddings, like castles, beaches, and gardens. EMBARK Beyond says over 62% of destination weddings they plan are in Europe. But, planning a wedding in a foreign land can be tricky because of different languages, currencies, and customs. This article will dive into why getting married in Europe as a foreigner can be both wonderful and daunting.

The Appeal of Destination Weddings in Europe

Europe is loved for its beautiful places where couples can have stunning weddings. Think Venice’s canals or the sunny French Riviera. These locations offer destination wedding settings that are unforgettable for everyone involved. You can also add local traditions and food to your big day, making it extra special.

Challenges of Planning a Wedding Abroad

Planning a destination wedding in Europe sounds great, and it is. But, it comes with its own set of challenges. Things like knowing the legal stuff, speaking the language, and understanding the culture can be tough. Also, figuring out where everyone will stay, how they’ll get there, and who will help put your special day together takes a lot of planning.

Legal Weddings vs. Symbolic Weddings in Europe

Getting married in Europe offers two main choices: a legal wedding or a symbolic wedding. It’s vital to know how they differ. This helps make sure your wedding is both beautiful and legally binding.

Understanding the Difference

Legal weddings in Europe mean dealing with each country’s marriage rules and steps. This includes giving in many papers like passports and birth certificates. It might be a bit of a hassle, but your marriage gets recognized both there and back home.

But a symbolic wedding is less about the paperwork. Often, all the legal stuff is sorted in your own country before the big day. This way, you enjoy a personal and smooth wedding. However, it might not count as legal in the country where you have your ceremony.

Benefits of a Legal Wedding in Europe

Opting for a legal wedding in Europe offers some big pros. It ensures your marriage is official and accepted in both the country where you marry and your own. This comes with rights like easier name changes, getting visas, and handling inheritance or taxes.

Plus, a legal wedding gives you more choice in where you tie the knot. You’re not limited to specific places that cater to symbolic events. This freedom means you can pick from a wide array of places. It’s a chance to make your wedding truly stand out and stay in your memories.

Required Legal Documents for U.S. Citizens

If you’re a U.S. citizen wanting to marry in Europe, you’ll need some key legal documents. These include your U.S. passport, a birth certificate, and proof of any past marriages ending. Make sure you have these ready as marriage requirements in Europe for US citizens.

Valid U.S. Passport

Having a valid U.S. passport is key for US citizens marrying in Europe. It shows who you are and where you’re from. European officials need this to approve your marriage.

Birth Certificate and Divorce/Death Certificates

Besides your passport, you’ll need your birth certificate. And, if you were married before, include divorce or death certificates.

These legal documents prove there are no hitches in marrying again. They show past marriages have legally ended.

Affidavit of No Legal Impediment

Couples declare they face no legal blocks to marrying in an affidavit of no legal impediment. This paper is key for validating your wish to wed. It’s a vital marriage requirement for US citizens in Europe.

Declaration of Intention to Marry

Lastly, U.S. citizens need to state their intention to marry in a chosen European country. This declaration shows they are serious about marrying there. It is another of the required legal documents for marriage in Europe.

Keep in mind, different European countries might need more than these basic documents. Check with your chosen country to know all the marriage requirements for US citizens in Europe. Make sure you have everything you need well before the wedding.

Legal Marriage Timeline in Europe

Planning a legal marriage in Europe takes different amounts of time. It could be a few weeks or over a year. This depends on each country’s rules and how they do things. Things like what documents you need, getting them translated, and making face-to-face meetings all play a role. Timeline for legal marriage in Europe changes because of these factors.

Factors Affecting the Timeline

If you’re planning a legal marriage in Europe as a foreigner, you need to know a few things. Each country has its own set of rules. You might need to get your documents translated. And setting up meetings with officials can be part of the process. Be ready for some complicated steps. Making sure your marriage is legal might take more effort than you think.

Personal Experience: Getting Married in Italy

Imagine planning your marriage in Italy as a U.S. citizen. You’d have to gather documents and get them okayed. I did this, and it took about six months of work. I had to make appointments at different offices. This was all to have a foreign marriage in Europe that’s legally recognized. I’ll share my story. It will help others understand what to expect. Planning your legal marriage in Europe isn’t always easy, but it’s doable.

Legal Marriage Cost in Europe

The cost of a legal wedding in Europe changes a lot, depending on where you are. The U.S. Embassy in Italy says renting a marriage hall could cost between €500 and €9,200. My husband and I paid lower, thanks to his residency in Rome.

Country and City-Specific Costs

This text looks at the country and city-specific costs for legal marriages in Europe. The price can go up or down because of the time you pick, the place, and what extra things you get. In Naples, a lunch for 100 people at a wedding could reach 11,000 euros. But in cities like Potenza, Genoa, Campobasso, or Cagliari, it might be about 6,000 euros.

Factors Influencing the Cost

The factors influencing the cost of a legal marriage in Europe are many. It depends on the wedding type, like a church one, civil ceremony, or if you plan it yourself. In Italy, a church wedding starts at €16, plus some more costs. City Hall can do a civil ceremony for €16 plus what you need for decorations. Doing it yourself costs between €5,000 and €8,000. Choosing a planner could be from €2,500 to over €10,000.

Requirements for U.S. Citizens Traveling to Europe

U.S. citizens need to pay attention to new travel rules if they’re planning a Europe trip for their wedding or honeymoon. Around 60 countries, including the U.S., will require a new form of travel permission. This is through the European Travel Information and Authorization System (ETIAS).

ETIAS (European Travel Information and Authorization System)

The ETIAS asks U.S. citizens and others who don’t need visas to get a special travel pass. They will use this to enter the Schengen area of Europe. This change aims to make things safer and keep track of who’s visiting. However, it won’t start until mid-2025.

Getting this travel pass, the ETIAS, will be part of preparing for Europe if you’re getting married or going on a honeymoon. Fortunately, applying should be easy and cheap, costing about €7. It will only take a few minutes to process your application.

Even with the delay, staying up-to-date on the ETIAS rules is key if you’re planning to visit Europe. A little early planning ensures your special trip, whether it’s for a wedding celebration or a honeymoon, goes smoothly across Europe.

ETIAS European Travel Authorization System

Planning Tips for Getting Married in Europe

Planning a wedding in Europe? There are many things to consider for a perfect day. From picking the right spot to hiring a skilled planner, these tips can smooth out your journey down the aisle.

Choosing Your Location

Europe has so many beautiful spots to tie the knot. Think about places like Lake Como, the Amalfi Coast, Tuscany’s rolling hills, or the French Riviera. But don’t forget to check out less-known places in Spain, Croatia, and Portugal. These spots often give more bang for your buck and a real taste of local culture.

When picking your place, also consider the time of year, your budget, and how guests will get there.

Consult a Destination Wedding Planner and Travel Expert

A wedding planner who knows the ins and outs of your chosen destination is worth their weight in gold. They’ll help handle legalities, cultural practices, and pick the right local vendors, making your wedding planning less stressful. Plus, a travel expert can arrange smooth sailing for your guests, making their trip as special as yours.

Destination Wedding Budgeting Tips

Planning a wedding in Europe can be tricky on the budget. Some things are pricier, but there are ways to save. Shop around for deals on venues and accommodation. A local wedding planner can offer hidden gems that fit your budget without sacrificing the magic of your day.

Selecting Your Venue and Vendors

The place and people you choose for your European wedding matter a lot. Whether it’s a castle, an estate, or a seaside resort, ensure it meets your needs. Don’t forget to carefully pick your local vendors, like caterers and florists. They can make sure everything runs smoothly and authentically on your special day.

Can Foreigners Get Married in Europe Legally and Easily?

Getting married in Europe varies from country to country. Some are very welcoming to foreigners wanting to marry there. Gibraltar, Denmark, Cyprus, Portugal, and Malta stand out as friendly places. They have easier processes, accept documents in English, and offer many wedding venues.


Gibraltar stands out because you only need a 24-hour stay to marry there. It’s known for its beautiful views and historical spots. This makes it a top choice for couples from around the world.


In Denmark, it’s easy for foreigners to marry. The government accepts documents in English, German, and Danish. This makes it simple for people who don’t live there. It’s a favorite spot for many international couples.


Cyprus is great for weddings from April to September. Its lovely climate and scenery draw many couples. Whether you like beaches, old sites, or busy cities, Cyprus has it all for a memorable wedding.


In Portugal, the marriage process is straightforward. It’s loved for its nice weather and beautiful places, like the Algarve and Lisbon. The easy process and beautiful locations make it perfect for weddings.


Malta is an English-speaking country known for its warm weather. It has amazing views with beautiful harbors and clear waters. These make it a stunning choice for those dreaming of a wedding in Europe.

Country Ease of Getting Married for Foreigners Key Factors
Gibraltar Very Easy Minimum 24-hour stay requirement, picturesque coastal setting
Denmark Easy Acceptance of English, German, and Danish documents, streamlined marriage procedures
Cyprus Easy Long wedding season from April to September, stunning beaches and ancient ruins
Portugal Easy Straightforward marriage procedures, popular wedding destination with warm weather and beautiful locations
Malta Easy English-speaking country with warm climate, picturesque harbors and historic cities

Civil Marriage and Marriage Recognition in the EU

Civil marriage is a legal status throughout the EU. Still, rules can differ greatly between countries. This includes rights and duties for married pairs, how religious and civil marriages interact, and if same-sex marriage recognition in eu is allowed.

National Rules on Marriage in EU Countries

Every EU nation follows its own laws for civil marriage in eu. These laws outline things like the youngest age for marriage and what paperwork is needed. For couples from other countries, marriage registration and recognition processes might seem complicated. Knowing how each country works is very important.

Recognition of Same-Sex Marriages in the EU

The acceptance of same-sex marriage recognition in eu is different country by country. Currently, 15 EU countries allow same-sex marriage. Others might only acknowledge civil partnerships. This mix of laws can be tough for same-sex pairs looking for EU-wide recognition.

Marriage Registration and Recognition Process

Getting a marriage recognized across the EU isn’t easy. It involves tackling lots of paperwork and rules in each country. Knowing the process for marriage registration and recognition in eu is key. It helps make the whole experience go smoothly, ensuring the marriage is legally sound.

Cultural Considerations for Destination Weddings in Europe

Planning a destination wedding in Europe means understanding local customs. It’s key to know the culture and traditions of where your wedding will be. This can involve learning about marriage traditions, and being open to different kinds of marriages. Showing respect for the place’s unique culture makes weddings there truly special.

Respecting Local Customs and Traditions

Europe is full of diverse countries with unique traditions. Couples should look into the local customs to make sure their wedding fits in. This could mean adding traditional rituals, or wearing certain types of clothing. It’s about making your wedding resonate with the local culture.

Interfaith and Same-Sex Marriage Acceptance

Acceptance of different kinds of marriages varies across Europe. Some places champion LGBTQ+ rights, like the Netherlands and Spain. Others might have more traditional views. Knowing this helps couples prepare. They can make sure their wedding is welcoming to all.

By embracing Europe’s cultural diversity, weddings become unforgettable. It involves respecting traditions and being inclusive. With these steps, a destination wedding in Europe becomes a cherished memory for everyone.

cultural considerations for europe weddings

Planning Your Dream Wedding in Europe

Planning a wedding in Europe requires a well-structured timeline and checklist. This ensures all necessary parts are covered. By using a smart planning approach, couples can make their European wedding dreams come true.

Creating a Wedding Timeline and Checklist

Having a detailed wedding timeline and checklist is key for a dream wedding in Europe. It keeps you organized and on target. This includes tasks like picking vendors and arranging accommodations for guests.

Hiring Local Vendors and Service Providers

Working with local vendors and service providers who know the area well can make planning your Europe wedding much easier. They offer useful tips and make sure everything goes smoothly while following local rules.

Arranging Travel and Accommodation for Guests

When planning a wedding in Europe, it’s important to look after your guests’ travel and stay. This means finding group deals and organizing how people will get around. Taking care of these details will enhance your dream European wedding.

Navigating Legal Requirements for Foreign Marriages

Getting married in Europe as a foreigner has its challenges, but it’s totally doable. The first thing couples should do is speak with local authorities and embassies. They can help understand what documents and steps are needed for a legal marriage.

Handling the paperwork is a big part. Make sure all your important documents are translated and legalized. Birth certificates, IDs, and any past marriage records need to be translated by a certified pro. In places like Germany, this is especially critical to avoid any problems later.

Don’t forget the red tape you might have to deal with. The process can differ a lot from one European country to another. You could have to do things like submit forms, go to meetings in person, and meet specific residency demands. To make it all easier, it’s smart to get advice from local experts and do your homework.

Making Lasting Memories in Europe

Getting married in Europe is a chance to make something special. It’s about making the day fit who you are and what you love. You can do this by mixing local traditions and making the place part of your celebration. This kind of wedding stays with you forever.

Incorporating Local Traditions and Customs

Europe shines with its unique cultures. Bringing home a slice of this in your wedding adds beauty and a special touch. You could dance a Spanish jig or follow old Irish ways. Creating lasting memories with a Europe wedding is easy. Just add local flavors to your feast, music, or decorations.

Creating a Unique and Personalized Experience

Wedding traditions are great, but making your big day truly yours is the goal. This means showing off the best of where you are. Think of saying ‘I do’ near an ancient castle. Or having a party in a lush vineyard. Or even cruising the Amalfi Coast with your loved ones. Adding local colors and flavors to your wedding makes it even more personal. Think of old family items, and the promises you share.

By making your wedding true to the place, you’ll have a day to remember. It will not only be a legal joining but an event that speaks to your hearts.

Honeymoon Destinations in Europe

After saying “I do,” many couples fly to Europe for their honeymoon. This continent has lots of gorgeous and popular spots. They’re perfect for newlyweds wanting to start married life in an unforgettable way.

Popular Romantic Getaways

Paris and Rome top the list. They offer a mix of timelessness and charm. For those dreaming of Italy, the Amalfi Coast, Tuscany, and the peaceful lakes of Como and Garda call out.

Ireland is loved for its wild cliffs, old stories, and dreamy scenery. Along with places like the Cliffs of Moher and Dingle Peninsula, it’s a great pick. Iceland stands out with its unique beauty at spots like Reynisfjara beach and Skógafoss waterfall.

Off-the-Beaten-Path Honeymoon Spots

For an adventure, couples might head to places like Norway, Faroe Islands, and Sweden. These spots are known for their awe-inspiring nature and private vibes. Norway’s quiet corners and the Faroe Islands’ wild landscape are truly special.

Switzerland is famous for its clear lakes, high peaks, and cozy chalets. It’s perfect for a honeymoon, mixing nature with luxury. Then, Scotland wins hearts with its castle ruins, misty mountains, and famous whiskey.

Destination Highlights
Paris, France Romantic ambiance, iconic landmarks, fine dining
Amalfi Coast, Italy Picturesque seaside towns, Mediterranean cuisine, scenic drives
Cliffs of Moher, Ireland Rugged coastal scenery, Celtic history, outdoor adventures
Reynisfjara Beach, Iceland Black sand beaches, dramatic basalt columns, breathtaking landscapes
Faroe Islands Secluded islands, steep cliffs, deep fjords, high mountains

Across Europe, there’s an endless supply of romantic spots. Each is ready to enchant the newlyweds. It’s the perfect way to mark the beginning of forever.


In conclusion, foreigners, like U.S. citizens, can get married in Europe with the right steps. Each European country has its own rules and timelines. From the historic Gibraltar to the beautiful Portugal and Malta, there are many options for a wedding.

Couples should work with experts and respect local customs for a smooth experience. This way, they can have their dream European wedding and cherish those moments forever.

Looking to wed in a Tuscan villa or on the French Riviera’s beaches? Europe is full of chances to say ‘I do’ as a foreigner. With good planning, your dream of a European wedding can come true.

The pandemic might have slowed things down, but love in Europe is still as attractive as ever. There are amazing places in Europe for weddings. These spots are beautiful and rich in history, making them perfect for a memorable event.


Can foreigners get married in Europe legally and easily?

Yes, foreigners can easily marry in Europe. They must have the right paperwork ready. Each European country has its own rules and timing for weddings. This means there are many beautiful places to choose for a wedding.

What are the key differences between legal weddings and symbolic weddings in Europe?

In Europe, you can have a legal wedding or a symbolic one. Legal weddings follow the country’s marriage laws and involve more planning. Symbolic weddings are easier since all legal steps happen in your home country. Having a legal wedding in Europe means your marriage is recognized worldwide.

What legal documents are required for U.S. citizens to get married in Europe?

For a marriage in Europe, U.S. citizens need several documents. These include a U.S. passport, birth certificate, and any divorce records. You also need a form that says there’s no reason you can’t marry, and a notice of your marriage plans. Some places might ask for more paperwork, like a residency proof.

How long does the legal marriage process typically take in Europe?

Planning a wedding in Europe can be fast or take a long time. It depends on the country’s rules and how quickly you gather the needed documents. From collecting paperwork to the actual big day, it can take anywhere from several weeks to over a year.

What are the typical costs associated with getting legally married in Europe?

The expenses for a European wedding vary a lot. They depend on where you choose to marry and the services you use. Things like the venue cost, the time of year, and which services you pick can all make the price go up or down.

What are the easiest countries for foreigners to get legally married in Europe?

Places like Gibraltar, Denmark, Cyprus, Portugal, and Malta are known for easier marriage procedures. They usually require less paperwork and accept documents in several languages. Also, they offer diverse wedding venues for visitors from around the globe.

What are the cultural considerations for planning a destination wedding in Europe?

It’s very important to respect the local traditions when planning a wedding in Europe. You should know the customs around marriage and be aware of any religious practices. Europe is welcoming of different kinds of marriages, including those between different faiths or genders.

What are some tips for planning a dream wedding in Europe?

To plan your wedding in Europe, make a detailed schedule and to-do list. Be sure to check off all the legal, planning, and personal items. Also, work with trusted local experts. Don’t forget to set up travel and stays for your friends and family.

What are some popular honeymoon destinations in Europe?

Europe is a perfect honeymoon spot. Many choose romantic cities like Paris and Rome. Others love the quiet, scenic places not typically visited. These offer a memorable and private getaway after the wedding.