How to (not) get married in Germany

Speaking from experience, (as a non-EU citizen) trying to get married to a German in Germany is as impossible as it is frustrating. The mountains of completely unnecessary paperwork; running from this office to that office; getting all of the certified documents within a specific time frame; trying to get a Ledigkeitsbescheinigung – a certified letter  from a government office in your home country confirming  your single status – something that the German authorities insist on having BUT does not actually exist outside of Germany, (the Canadian embassy now offers a “Certificate in lieu of non-impediment to marriage certificate for German registrar” for a fee) the list is as confusing as it is endless. This video made by the talented &  clever Andrew Bossum (aka rewboss) illustrates all of the insanity perfectly (although rewboss is an EU citizen & had to jump through a few less hoops than those of us without EU passports)

As funny (& unbelievable) as that video is, it is totally, completely true. There is even more madness if you are from a country outside of the European Union. Several times during our research into getting married in Germany I was either screaming at the total idiocy of “required” documents that I couldn’t get unless I teleported to Canada to retrieve them in person or I was sprawled on the floor in a weepy mess at the sheer hopelessness of the situation. All I wanted to do was marry the man of my dreams & live happily ever after but the evil wicked witch of German Bureaucracy kept holding me back. Luckily my Fairy Godmother Internet saved the day (& my sanity) once again.

Did you know that Denmark is the Las Vegas of Europe??  It’s true my lovelies – minus the Elvis impersonators – for a fraction of the cost & with only 2 weeks notice you can be married on a beautiful island in Denmark! It’s even cheaper & quicker if you marry on the mainland but we decided that we deserved a bit of beauty , romance & relaxation for our wedding.

After loads of research our choice for  wedding coordinator was Danish Island Weddings of Aero Island. Their website is very informative (in German & English), and the owner, Louise Moloney, extremely helpful. All of our inquiries were answered the same day & our wedding was completely planned (including travel & accommodation) in about 2 weeks.

*We chose the Express Offer which includes the Apostille service (The  Apostille certification stamp/signature is necessary for the marriage certificate to be recognized in Germany & internationally)

* Unfortunately in addition to birth certificates & passports the Ledigkeitsbescheinigung is still required for the marriage to be valid in Germany. As I said above, this document does not exist in other countries & no matter how many times you ask for it your embassy will not give it to you because it DOES NOT EXIST OUTSIDE OF GERMANY!

*UPDATE 2013: The Canadian embassy now offers a “Certificate in lieu of non-impediment to marriage certificate for German registrar” for a fee.

I got mine by complete flukey luck (& it may work for you too!):  I happened to go to the Bürgeramt with my fiance on the day he went to get his Ledigkeitsbescheinigung. We went to the appropriate desk when our number was called, my man showed his ID & as we live together & are BOTH on the Anmeldebescheinigung (address registration) the wonderful woman behind the desk asked if we BOTH needed a Ledigkeitsbescheinigung. We quickly nodded & for a mere €10 we had flown over the last German Bureaucratic hurdle!

Hooray, off to Denmark to tie the knot!

As we were married in November the weather wasn’t wonderful but rain on your wedding day is good luck, at least according to the inhabitants of Aero Island, Denmark!

I found The Harmoni Guesthouse on the ‘net. We booked their lovely wedding package which included the honeymoon suite, bridal bouquet, champagne breakfast(s) & the wedding feast for 6 – a great deal! (Breakfast was also included for our guests!)

We purchased our personalized wedding cake topper here. and our wedding cake here.

Getting married in Germany Denmark was really that easy! If you are a foreigner wishing to marry a German I highly recommend leaving behind all of the bureaucratic B*llsh*t of Germany and spending a day or 2 (or more) having a short but sweet ceremony in Denmark!

click here to check out all of my Life in Germany adventures:

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6 thoughts on “How to (not) get married in Germany

  1. I agree. I also married a German citizen in Denmark, yet I am not a Canadian nor a US citizen, but from Panama so for me things get a bit more complicated than for you fellas, since I have to go back to my country of origin and apply for a Family reunification visa. I went to the Ausländer Behörde here in Berlin and they told me so, plus they said “some folks do get to Germany on tourists visas and get married and shazam! residence right away!…”. Yet I agree Danish were so uncomplicated to have all arranged and all. My documents had to be translated from Spanish but after that all went great! Cheers and keep posting more stuff, the video was hilarious!

  2. hi, what do u mean by
    “Unfortunately in addition to birth certificates & passports the Ledigkeitsbescheinigung is still required for the marriage to be valid in Germany. ”

    Do you need this paper anyway even if married in Denmark?

    • Although we married in Denmark, we still needed to get the Ledigkeitsbescheinigung & give it (along with our birth certificates & passports) with our marriage application to our Denmark wedding coordinator, Danish Island Weddings.

      *I’m not a German/Denmark marriage expert by any means, the above article was strictly my own personal experience as a Canadian marrying a German in Denmark.

  3. Using Danish Island Weddings was a beautiful experience in a beautiful and unique setting. Everything was absolutely perfect.

  4. I just had to laugh at the video and your description of getting married in Germany. I will never understand why the Germans have to make everything so difficult. I, too, live in Germany and am married to a German.

    I already lived here as a teen on a base and even back then, the young soldiers marrying German women would marry in Denmark. I am glad I remembered that… as that information helped me when I was ready to get married.

    My husband and I married in Aabenraa, Denmark and enjoyed our honeymoon there as well. The Danish are so uncomplicated concerning the paperwork and after gathering the papers we needed, we were required to reside 3 days in Denmark before the wedding. The wedding was held at a Danish town hall and was very elegant and lovely. Returning back to Germany, I just had to show the authorities the Danish marriage certificate which is also in many different languages (even that is uncomplicated if we were to move to another foreign country… no translations needed.) Everything was accepted here in Germany with no problems.

    The Germans authorities just love bureaucracy… too many state employees would be jobless if they would make things easier on the general public.

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