The Legalities Of Planning An Adventure Wedding In Europe

The rules and regulations for getting married in Europe are a little bit stricter than those of our friends in North America. That doesn’t mean you can’t have your wedding on the top of a mountain. It simply means that you might need to sign the official paperwork somewhere else. So let’s talk about the legalities of planning an adventure wedding in Europe.

The Legalities Of Planning An Adventure Wedding In Europe

Getting married on a mountain or overlooking the ocean is something that you’ll remember for the rest of your lives. There are some absolutely stunning locations to choose from all around Europe. And whilst you can choose to have a wedding pretty much anywhere you can dream of, you’ll also need to think about the legalities of actually becoming a married couple too.

There are three questions that you need to ask when you’re looking at planning an adventure wedding, to make sure that you don’t get too far with planning only to find out what you want to do isn’t possible. These questions are:

1. Can we get legally married in this country?

2. Can we get legally married in this location?

3. Do we want to have our legal ceremony at the same time as our wedding?

A mountaintop wedding ceremony - is it legal in Europe by Wild Connections Photography

So let’s take a look at these questions in further detail:

1. Can we get legally married in this country?

There are two things to consider when looking for the answers to this question. The first thing to find out is whether you are eligible to legally marry in this country. Some countries in Europe will only allow you to legally marry there if you are a resident there, such as France and Spain, while other countries such as Austria or Ireland allow anyone to get married there.

Secondly, you’ll need to check whether your marriage will be recognised when you return home. For example, if you have a same-sex wedding abroad but your home country doesn’t yet recognise it, then you will not be legally married in your home country.

2. Can we get legally married in this location?

Some countries in Europe will allow you to legally marry there without being a resident, but there may still be restrictions on who can perform the ceremony and where it can take place. Whilst in some countries the church has the power to perform a legally binding ceremony, in others, it can only be performed by a registrar.

For example in Austria, a legally binding ceremony must be conducted by the local registry office (known in German as the Standesamt). Whilst many are quite strict and will only allow you to legally marry at the registry office, some registrars are now willing travel to other pre-approved venues. In some areas, this includes mountain huts!

3. Do we want to have our legal ceremony at the same time as our wedding?

Now it’s time for the big decider. If your dream is to marry on the top of a mountain, you’ll either need to find somewhere where you can do it legally, or you’ll need sign the papers at a different time. You can decide whether you sort out the legalities in your home country or whether you do them abroad but on a different day. Since civil ceremonies can be pretty matter-of-fact and impersonal, so doing them separately means you can hold a completely personalised wedding ceremony afterwards (or before if you prefer) and do everything exactly as you want without having to worry about any legal matters.

Newly wed couple embrace on a mountain in Austria by Wild Connections Photography

But I really want to get legally married on top of a mountain. Isn’t there anywhere I can do this?

YES!

These countries offer legally binding humanist or civil ceremonies that can take place outside AND they are all perfect locations for an adventure wedding in Europe:

Scotland

Ireland

Norway

Finland

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What about other locations?

Civil Ceremony Locations In Austria

Getting Married In The Faroe Islands

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Join the adventure wedding community on Facebook to connect with other adventurous couplesFacebook adventure Wedding Group

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The legalities of planning an adventure wedding in Europe

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Author: Cat Ekkelboom-White

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