Getting Married in Denmark
Updated March 2020
Travel to Denmark is currently being restricted because of the Coronavirus situation. For more information on how these travel restrictions may affect those with plans to marry you can find out more at this link:
Couples may find themselves considering getting married in Denmark for varied reasons. It could be that they face lengthy administrative processes in their country of residence. Or perhaps, they want to have a large ceremonial wedding somewhere exotic and want to take care of the legal part quickly and easily. Some couples may want to have a low-key wedding. Generally speaking, the documentation needed is simple, the processing is quick and Denmark is an awesome place to visit. Many international couples marry in Copenhagen and other town halls around Denmark. There are also a number of companies that can help arrange your wedding so your trip is seamless and enjoyable.
Who can get married in Denmark?
People from all over the world and of any gender can get married in Denmark. The only exception can be if you currently have asylum seeker or refugee residential status.
Can same-sex couples marry in Denmark?
Yes. In fact, Denmark is a popular destination for same-sex couples wishing to marry. Denmark was the first country in the world to grant recognition to same-sex unions in 1989. The law same-sex union law has now been replaced by a new same-sex marriage law.
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From helping you find the right town hall, collecting your documents, organising your paperwork, right through to your trip to Denmark, we will be there every step of the way.
Required Documents for Getting Married in Denmark
- Valid Passport, visa if required and Schengen entry stamp*
- If you are living abroad, you will need to show your residence permit
- Certificate of your marital status from your current place of residence. This must be no older than 4 months
- If you have been previously married, a divorce decree or death certificate will be required.
- Military personnel will require permission from their commander
- Original Birth Certificate (in most cases your birth certificate is not necessary)
Documents that are not in English, German or Danish must be officially translated in to one of these three languages.
*If your name has been legally changed since the issue of your birth certificate or passport, you will need to show a court decree to this effect.
Could a couple be subject to an interview by the Danish authorities?
The Danish government passed a law that went into effect on January 1, 2019. The purpose of the law is to prevent sham marriages that would allow one of the couple to obtain EU residency.
In practice, all wedding applications for international couples will now go through a centralized special unit, which will be checking for potential fake documentation and suspicious applications that could indicate sham marriages.
If the special unit finds it necessary to investigate an application further, the couple might get invited to an interview in Denmark before their wedding application is approved. Only 10% of all international applications will get invited to an interview. These interviews take place at an office in Odense.
How long does a couple normally have stay in Denmark after approval of the marriage application?
If you marry in Copenhagen, you will both need to go to the Copenhagen City hall in person at least 1 day before your marriage ceremony to show all original documentation. This means you will need to stay in Denmark a minimum of 2 days.
The same rule applies for most of the town halls although some may have a longer period between presenting documents and having your ceremony.
What is the ceremony like?
A wedding ceremony in Copenhagen city hall (and most other places) is cozy and romantic, however it is also quite quick, lasting between 5- 10 minutes. The registrar can conduct the ceremony in English and even German if you request. You can exchange short vows and your rings if you wish. After the ceremony, along with witnesses, you will sign your marriage certificate.
Are there any legal and administration fees?
Yes, you have to pay an administration fee of €217 for the Danish government when the marriage application is filled in.
Are witnesses required?
You may bring witnesses, but in case you don't have any, stand in witnesses can be made available.
Will a couple receive a marriage certificate?
Yes, you will receive two international marriage certificates directly after your ceremony. The marriage certificates are in Danish, English and German.
Will a wedding certificate require legalization?
Often, couples think that if their wedding certificate is not legalized, then this means that their wedding isn't legal either. That's not the case. Your marriage in Denmark is legal worldwide from the moment you sign and are handed your Danish International Wedding Certificate. Having your wedding certificate legalized, usually with Apostille legalization, means that it can be used administratively in another country.
Every country has their laws, regulations and procedures. In order for a country to accept your marriage certificate and use it in their offices administratively, it sometimes needs Apostille legalisation.
It is recommend that you check with the office where you intend to use your certificate as to what legalization they will require. Often you might find that one isn't required and if you do find you need it later, you can always have it legalized at that time.
Can I change my name on my wedding day?
You can't change your name in Denmark unless you are a resident. To change your name, you must do this once you are in your country of residence.
Returning home as a married couple
As you married in Denmark, your wedding will be registered in Denmark, but you may need to also register it in the country where you are residing. This can be done usually at your local registry office or government office and it is recommended that you do that as soon as possible. If you would like to change your name now that you are married, this also needs to be completed in the country in which you reside.
Once we're married, can my non-EU partner travel around Europe without a visa?
Your marriage doesn't automatically make your non-EU partner an EU citizen. After your marriage, your partner will probably need to apply for residency in the country in which you both plan to reside. Until then, you may need to carefully consider travel around Europe making sure you are fully informed on what the country you are traveling to requires so that you can avoid difficulty.
Deciding where in Denmark you would like to marry
Deciding where you would like to get married in Denmark really depends on why you are coming here and where from, your tastes and how much time you have. Are you coming to marry in Denmark because you're already having a bigger celebration somewhere else? Many of couples are looking for something quick but stylish which is why Copenhagen is the most popular destination. It is close to the international airport and offers a variety of wonderful attractions.
Tønder (near Germany)
Tønder is a lovely, traditional Danish town on the border of Germany which is more than happy to welcome international couples to marry at their town hall. If you live in Germany and would like a location that you can drive to easily from home, then Tønder is the perfect place!
Ærø island wedding
An Ærø island wedding is another possibility. This is an island in the south of Denmark in the Baltic Sea. Cobble stone streets and brightly painted houses make it a quirky and lovely place. Unique in its own way many couples have the most wonderful time there, enjoying sandy beaches and beautiful scenery.
Article contributed by Getting Married in Denmark ApS. Learn about how they can guide you through the marriage and wedding processes in Denmark here.