Frequently Asked Questions

Do I have to get married under a roof or cover?
May I get married on a beach or on top of a mountain?

A marriage ceremony can take place almost anywhere, but the legal part of the ceremony should be conducted (or repeated) in a venue specified by South African Law, namely ‘ . . .in a church or other building used for religious services or in a public office (i.e. a Government office) or in a private dwelling house.’ Your Marriage Officer will be able to advise you of the best way of combining the legal requirements with the particular venue you have in mind. This is usually very simply organized and non- disruptive.

Do I need special permission to marry on a Sunday/Public Holiday?
May I get married at any time of day i.e. noon, midnight or 06:00?

There is no legal restriction as to when a marriage ceremony may take place and, providing you can secure a marriage officer and a venue, you can get married any day of the year and any time of the day.

Do we need to be in South Africa for any length of time before the wedding?

Legally, no – but if possible allow yourself a couple of days in which to meet and get to know your Marriage Officer and to complete the legal requirements, as well as to visit out your proposed venue and arrangements. These basic meetings will go a long way towards making your great day everything you have dreamed of.

Can a woman keep her maiden name after the ceremony?

According to South African law, a bride; ‘ . . . may select to keep her maiden surname, may assume her husband’s surname, add her surname to that of her husband, or resume a surname she has legally borne at any time prior.’ Simply advise your Marriage Officer of your preference and he will make the necessary arrangements.

Do we need to be in South Africa for any length of time before the wedding?

Legally, no – but if possible allow yourself a couple of days in which to meet and get to know your Marriage Officer and to complete the legal matters, as well as to visit your proposed venue and finalize your arrangements. These basic meetings will go a long way towards making your great day everything you have dreamed of.

Do I need to get a marriage licence before my wedding?

No, in South Africa there is no such thing as a marriage licence.

I am from a foreign country (i e, UK, Germany, France, Spain, Italy, USA etc – What must I do to ensure that my marriage in South Africa is legal?

South African Marriages are legally valid in just about every country in the world, but it will be bound by the law of whichever country the husband chooses as his domicile. Please check, before you leave your home country, what the authorities will need you to supply in order to register your marriage when you get home. Some countries accept the Marriage Certificate supplied immediately after the ceremony by the Marriage Officer, but other countries such as Germany will require a full (unabridged) marriage certificate to register a marriage in Germany; this document may also be applied for through the Embassy in Berlin or Consulate-General in Munich. Ask your Marriage Officer for guidance as to how you can obtain these documents.