What is Getting Married in Denmark?
To put it simply; Getting Married in Denmark is how international and foreign couples make their seemingly impossible wedding abroad possible!
It’s for those of you who want a wedding that is as quick, simple and as ‘fuss free’ as possible (bureaucratically speaking).
Marriage in Denmark enables love to win on many levels and it does so for huge numbers of couples WORLDWIDE.
But it is an especially popular choice for couples who reside in Germany, and has been so since the 1960s.
Getting Married in Denmark may be a phrase you’ve heard before. Maybe you know of someone that has done it; a friend of a friend, or a work colleague perhaps?
It might also be a totally new concept that you’ve never heard of until reading these words.
Either way, if you’re reading this, the chances are you’re an ‘expat’ living in Germany hoping to get married to your partner, who may, or may not, be German.
It is also likely that you’ve looked into how to get married in Germany and found out pretty quickly that it’s a long and / or complicated process, when one or both of you are not German.
So, this article has been written with you, the couple residing in Germany, in mind! 🙂
Why do Foreigners Get Married in Denmark?
There are a lot of reasons as to why so many foreign couples choose to get married in Denmark. Let’s briefly take a look at the main reasons why (click each to learn more detail):
- Simple Documentation Requirements
- Wedding Agencies Available to Assist Couples with the Application Process
- Safe and Welcoming Country for German and International Couples
- Marriage Locations Close to Germany
- Option for Wedding Ceremony to be Held in German
- LGBTQIA+ Focused
- Wedding Professionals Used to Working with Couples from all Over the World
- Danish Marriage Certificate comes in German and is accepted in Germany
Understanding the process in Germany, all the documents you will need to get together, and the length of time you will need to wait for a marriage application to go through, especially if one or both of you are not German, is the key to understanding why marriage Denmark is the perfect alternative choice for foreigners living in Germany.
Documents required for foreign nationals getting married in Denmark
First, foremost and possibly most importantly; in comparison to countries like Germany, the documentation, the process and the timeframe is very straightforward, much simpler, and far quicker in Denmark.
Because of the straightforward document requirements, Denmark has earned its reputation for being one of the best countries in the world for foreigners to get married, no matter what their personal circumstances are, or where they live.
The official documents required for a couple to get married in Denmark are:
- Valid Passport / EU ID card
- Visa / Residence Permit – only where necessary
- Proof of Residence – only where necessary
- Divorce / death documents – only where necessary
- Birth certificates of your children – only if you have any children together
- Military ID or Commander’s Letter – only required for military members
There is NO requirement to provide a birth certificate or proof of your martial / single status.
This simple documentation list is of huge benefit to couples residing in Germany because let’s face it, who doesn’t want a simple bureaucratic process when getting married?
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It is after all one of the happiest days of your life, and yet it is well known that couples in Germany often face lengthy document requirements, complicated processes, and long delays before getting to their wedding day.
This is enough to make couples wonder if getting married is even worth it.
This worry is taken away when you choose to get married in Denmark, making it a great choice for foreign couples who live in Germany.
How to Get Married in Denmark
We’ve looked at the required documentation, now let’s look at the process.
STEP 1: Gather the required documentation for your marriage application.
STEP 2: Make your application for marriage to the Familieretshuset.
STEP 3: Receive your approval from the Familieretshuset.
STEP 4: Contact the town hall to book your date.
STEP 4: Get married in Denmark.
STEP 1: Gather all the required documentation for your marriage application.
→ Pro Tip: Make sure that you have all required documentation ready and correct when you make your application.
It’s really important to understand that the key to getting a successful and quick marriage approval from the Familieretshuset is that you MUST get your application correct the first time around.
That is; your documentation must all be correct, must be photographed, scanned, & uploaded correctly, and all sections of the application form filled out correctly.
This may seem obvious and fairly simple at first glance, however, the Familieretshuset does in fact have some very strict guidelines with regards to exactly how documentation and applications should be submitted.
Hiring a reputable Danish wedding agency, such as Getting Married in Denmark, is highly recommended.
Danish wedding agencies work with the Familieretshuset every day, they understand their rules and regulations and what is likely to be rejected or cause problems with the documentation and application process.
They work with you to make sure your application is made correctly and your approval received as quickly as possible.
Getting this first step correct is critical for the rest of the process to run smoothly.
Some Danish wedding agencies will even make your application for you, once your documents are all ready to be submitted meaning when your application is approved, they can help guide you through the next steps!
STEP 2: Make your application for marriage to the Familieretshuset.
→ Pro Tip: Ensure your application conforms to the strict Familieretshuset rules, as once it is submitted you cannot add anything you may have ‘forgotten’ and you must wait for their response. This can add significant delays if not done correctly.
In order to submit an application for marriage to the Danish authorities (Familieretshuset) you must pay a non refundable fee of 1800 Danish Krone – that is €241.
If anything within your application does not conform to the guidelines set out by the Familieretshuset, then they will respond to you via email to let you know what is missing or needs to be resupplied.
Your application will not be accepted until you have corrected what has been submitted incorrectly / answered the Familieretshuset’s questions.
This will essentially delay your approval being issued by up to 2 months during very busy periods, as the Familieretshuset will always prioritise new applications over the applications where queries have been raised.
STEP 3: Receive your approval from the Familieretshuset.
→ Pro Tip: If your application has been submitted correctly, you will receive your approval within 5 business days. If you don’t get your application correct, then your waiting time can be increased by as much as 2 months. Each time information is submitted incorrectly the delay will increase, until your application is either approved or rejected.
The Familieretshuset will write to you via email to let you know what the outcome of your application is and they will do this within 5 business days of you making your application.
Their response will either be to approve your application, meaning you can then go on to book your wedding date, OR, it will be to tell you that they either have:
- A question about a document you have provided
- To request better copies of documents
- To ask for additional documentation to be provided
- To request an interview with you
- To reject your application
They will give you a deadline with which you must respond with the requested information. If you do not, your case will be closed. If you refuse an interview request, your case will be closed.
If you want to proceed, then you must provide them with whatever information / documents they have asked for, or agree to go to Denmark to have an interview with them in person.
STEP 4: Contact the town hall to book your date.
→ Pro Tip: It’s helpful to find out what the waiting times and availability is like at the town hall you are hoping to get married at before you submit your application. Availability varies at each town hall and therefore, not all will suit your needs.
You cannot book a date at the town hall until you receive your marriage approval.
Once your approval is issued by the Familieretshuset, they will inform you it is now time to contact the town hall you specified on your application, to book your wedding date.
It’s likely that you will have a rough date or time frame in mind for your wedding, but you must bear in mind that the availability at each town hall varies A LOT from one to the other.
Some town halls conduct weddings nearly every day of the week, some only one or two days a week.
Some of the town halls are much busier than others.
Some will respond to wedding date requests the same day, some will take over a week to respond.
Some you can book your date immediately via their online booking system.
Each of these factors all have an impact on how quickly you can get a date booked and importantly, when you can get a date booked. So if you’re in a hurry to get married, it’s important to choose a town hall with good availability.
When you’re ready, you can contact the town hall to either ask their upcoming availability or to list the dates that you would like to get married. They will let you know what is possible based on your request and there might be a little ‘back and forth’ while you work out a date that is suitable.
When your date is booked, the town hall will write to you (via email) to confirm your booking.
STEP 5: Get married in Denmark.
→ Pro Tip: You should be aware that before you are able to get married, there is one more small, but very important, bureaucratic process that you must go through first – presenting your travel documents to the town hall.
Your wedding in Denmark cannot go ahead without you both first having presented your travel documents to the town hall marriage office.
At this ‘document check’, the town hall staff are checking, firstly, that you are who the application says you are, and also that you have entered Denmark legally. If you have not, then you will not be able to get married.
Each town hall has different procedures about when this document presentation should take place. At some, it MUST be one working day prior to your wedding date. At others you can do this 15 minutes before the ceremony.
Once this is done, it’s time to get married, which is very exciting! 😀Your wedding in Denmark will be very short – the town hall ceremonies last no more than 10 minutes, and once your wedding is over, you will be handed your marriage certificates straight away.
These are lots of other (fun) things to consider while preparing for your wedding in Denmark. How long will you stay, where will you stay, do you want flowers, where will you go afterwards to celebrate, will you want a special dinner somewhere together, will you hire a photographer, etc?
Hiring a wedding professional in some capacity on your wedding day can help you feel calmer, looked after, and special – which is exactly how you should feel on your wedding day!
Photographer: Justyna Dura
The Danish Marriage Certificate You Will Receive
Once you have had your wedding ceremony, you will be given your marriage certificates. No matter which town hall your ceremony takes place in, your certificates will be given to you immediately after your wedding ceremony, and once you have signed all the wedding paperwork required at the town hall.
Most town halls will issue you with 2 marriage certificates and up to 5 free of charge, however there are some that will only issue you with 1 certificate.
Please do check beforehand so you can be totally prepared of the town hall’s procedure with regards to their issuance of marriage certificates before you get married.
The Danish marriage certificate issued to foreign couples is often affectionately referred to as ‘The Danish International Marriage Certificate’.
This is because the certificate is issued with the translation of 5 languages on it: Danish, English, German, Spanish and French.
The idea here being that for a lot of couples, they will not need to get their certificate translated after the wedding, which for couples residing in Germany, this is of huge benefit.
Depending on what you will be using your marriage certificate for after your wedding, you may need to get it legalised with an Apostille stamp.
As it does depend on which authority (eg. in which country) and what reason (eg. name change, Visa application, etc) you will be submitting your marriage certificate, the advice is usually to contact the authorities before you submit your marriage certificate for use in the government office to find out if any extra legalisations or attestations would be required.
Marriage in Denmark for Foreigners From all Over the World
Marriage in Denmark is enthusiastically, and wholeheartedly, welcomed for foreign and international couples, making this another reason why so many foreigners choose Denmark for their wedding.
The official channels that couples must go through to apply for a wedding in Denmark is the same for everyone, no matter who you are or where you’re from. Any couple from anywhere in the world is very welcome to submit an application for a marriage in Denmark.
And once you arrive in Denmark, even if you’ve never been there before, you’ll be instantly made to feel welcome.
The country is safe, the infrastructure is reliable, and the Danes are kind people! They are always quick to help, most speak excellent English and many can speak some German too!
All of these factors combined make Denmark incredibly appealing for those who might be feeling nervous about travelling to a country they’d never previously considered visiting, and don’t often know very much about.
Denmark is LGBTQIA+ Focused
Denmark is one of the most LGBTQIA+ friendly countries in the world, and is an incredibly forward thinking, liberal, inclusive and welcoming place for the LGBTQIA+ community. So, of course, Denmark is an incredibly popular location for LGBTQIA+ couples too!
It was one of the first countries in the world to recognise same sex unions in 1989, which was replaced eventually by the same sex marriage act, brought into law in 2012.
The same sex marriage act ensured that all couples, gay or straight, have the same rights when getting married in Denmark.
This means Denmark is often considered the centre of love for LGBTQIA+ couples.
LGBTQIA+ couples travel to Denmark from countries where their love for one another is considered ‘illegal’ and they do so to get married freely and openly.
This is hugely liberating for couples where they are not able to freely express their love for each other at home.
The Best Locations to Marry in Denmark
Then there is Denmark’s close proximity to Germany, and once there, the town halls available for you to get married in – just, wow!
There are so many incredible town halls to choose from, located all over the country, which means there really is the perfect location for every couple.
For those couples who live in Germany, getting to Denmark is simply a matter of jumping in the car and driving a couple of hours across the border.
For those that need to fly from Germany, the flight is very short.
Once you’re in Denmark, whether you drove in or flew in, there are so many town halls which are extremely well located.
Several town halls are located within an hour’s drive of the German border, as well as there being town halls located centrally in Copenhagen. And many others in between!
Those closest to Germany are (around a 1 hour, or less, drive from the border):
Other excellent choices for couples travelling from Germany that don’t mind either a slightly longer drive or are happy to fly are:
Even more conveniently for German couples, most town halls will offer the option for couples to have their ceremony held in German, which is another reason why couples from Germany are able to feel so at home there.
Essentially, the fact that Denmark and Germany are such close neighbours meaning travel can be kept to a minimum, that there are town halls close to the German border, AND you can have the option to have your ceremony held in German, makes Denmark a very convenient wedding location for foreign couples residing in Germany
The Wedding Community in Denmark
Because of the huge numbers of couples who travel to Denmark each year, there is a wonderful wedding community based here.
First of all, you have wedding agencies to help you with getting your paperwork approved so that you can get married in Denmark.
These wedding agencies are set up in Denmark to help couples take care of the bureaucracy side of things and, for foreign couples, working with a reputable agency helps to relieve couples of the bureaucracy burden.
Danish wedding agencies are service driven, customer focussed, and genuinely want to help couples navigate the Danish system for a successful outcome, ie. a wedding in Denmark!
Once you have your approval, then it’s time to start thinking about your wedding day, and for this there are amazing wedding professionals who are here and ready to help you make your wedding day perfect.
You can choose as many or as few as you need; florists, bakeries, photographers, hair, make up, barbers, suits – to name a few!
These professionals are very used to helping international couples, they understand how daunting it might feel to be getting married in a foreign country and are there, not only to offer you an outstanding service, but to help you feel at home, comfortable, relaxed, and incredibly special on your wedding day!
To Conclude: Denmark is THE Perfect Elopement Choice for Foreigners Living in Germany
So you can see that Denmark is a pretty amazing place for foreign couples to travel to, from Germany to get married.
Germany is an incredible country for many incredible reasons. But the bureaucracy there will deflate even the most buoyant and cheerful of people. Yet, it’s just not something that couples even need to think about going through when there is a wonderful, easy, and straightforward alternative, right on Germany’s doorstep:
Yes, a marriage in Denmark is recognised in Germany! 🙂
There is a special bond between Germany and Denmark that goes beyond these 2 great countries just being friendly neighbours, and this special bond involves paperwork! 😉
In 1936 an agreement was signed between the 2 countries which simply means that any official documentation, for example, Birth Certificates, Marriage Certificates, Death Certificates, etc, issued by either country would be accepted by the other, without the need for any additional legal formalities, such as legalisations or attestations.
Additionally, to this, both Denmark and Germany are EU countries.
This means that any documentation issued to a person by an EU authority should be accepted as being an authentic document by another EU authority, and should be done so without the need for any additional legalisations or attestations.
It is important to note that your marriage certificate is legally binding, and you can therefore register your marriage with the authorities once you return home.
Sometimes however, the type of process you want to use your paperwork for, might in fact involve getting an Apostille stamp.
However, if you wish to do more than just register your marriage in the German office (eg. change your surname or apply for a Visa), it would be advisable to contact the office ahead of time to let them know you will be providing a Danish marriage certificate, inform them what you would like to do once you have the certificate (ie. register your marriage, change your surname etc) and what would they need in addition to the Danish certificate. Ie. Apostille stamp.
That way, you can be fully informed well in advance for any potential requests from the German govt. Office and make any necessary preparations prior to your arrival.
No, hiring a lawyer is not necessary for a marriage in Denmark.
Aside from the fact hiring a lawyer will be expensive, the documentation and process for a marriage in Denmark is so simple, that hiring a lawyer to help decipher complicated laws is just not required for foreign couples.
What you’ll find instead is a number of Danish wedding agencies.
While the process of getting married in Denmark is not complicated enough to warrant the need for a lawyer, it is important to remember that adhering to the requirements of the Danish government agency (Familieretshuset) is absolutely necessary, and these requirements can be complex at times.
A Danish wedding agency will work with you to help you submit a successful application to the Familieretshuset and in doing so will remove a lot of the bureaucratic headaches to make sure that the entire process of getting married in Denmark is not only pleasant but a fun and exciting experience!
In as little as 2 weeks BUT this does depend!
If you get your application right the first time, you’ll get your approval within 5 working days. Then, if you choose a town hall with a fast response time and great availability, then in theory, you can be married within days after receiving your approval. So, to answer the question – potentially very quickly!
However, most couples upon receiving their approval choose a date anywhere between a few weeks from that point or a few months. This of course depends on how quickly you need to get married and how long you want to prepare for your trip to Denmark.
It is also highly recommended that for peace of mind, ease of bureaucracy, and a successful application that paying for the service of a wedding agency should be factored into your wedding cost.
For example, ‘The Essential Service’ priced at €295, offered by wedding agency Getting Married in Denmark, will make a world of difference to your experience of marriage in Denmark, not only for help with the documentation but having friendly and experienced consultants guide you through the entire process.
Eloping to Denmark is an incredibly romantic experience. Often couples choose to go to Denmark by themselves, taking time to really enjoy each other and their experience being in such a wonderful country, making some amazing and happy memories together. Some couples choose to go to Denmark with a small number of family and / or friends.
It’s really easy to believe that when going through a bureaucratic process like applying for a wedding in a foreign country, that the process will be clinical and laborious, but it isn’t that way at all.
There are so many couples that choose to have a marriage in Denmark that come away with special, once in a lifetime, new core memories that will stay with them for life. Read through some of these couples experiences to get an idea of exactly how happy a wedding in Denmark leaves them feeling.
This depends on what it is you are looking for from a wedding in Denmark. If you are hoping for a slightly larger ceremony and you want somebody to be by your side, organising absolutely everything, from wedding venue, to cake, from catering to photographer, then yes, a wedding planner is for you!
However, that is not, for the most part, the type of wedding that couples who are eloping to Denmark are looking for.
Most couples want something much smaller, much simpler and much more intimate. And in these cases, a wedding planner is not necessary for a wedding in Denmark at all.
It is totally possible to organise a wedding in Denmark by yourselves. However, having help and guidance from someone who understands the country, the process, what’s involved and just generally having someone to fire your questions at, is of huge value to couples.
If this is you, then a Danish wedding agency could be just what you are looking for!
A kind, friendly, and knowledgeable service that is designed specifically to advise and guide you, but leave you space to have full control over your own wedding day.