Santorini wedding, Greece Santorini wedding – Image courtesy of vangelisphotography.com & santorini-wedding.com

How to get married in Greece

With a choice of luxurious resorts, idyllic villages and beautiful beaches, Greece is the perfect spot to say 'I do' – and the ideal destination for that long dreamt of beach wedding in Europe!

Marriage Requirements in Greece

Greece offers a wide choice of stunning venues for your destination wedding, especially the stunning Greek Islands of Santorini, Mykonos and Rhodes.

The legal requirements for getting married in Greece are fairly straightforward, but there are certain legal requirements which need to be followed.

Also, the process for getting married can vary slightly between regions and islands so it's a good idea to work through a certified wedding planner or verify requirements yourself with the local City Hall, and with a clergy member in the case of a religious ceremony.

Foreign nationals in Greece may be married in a civil ceremony performed by a mayor, in a religious ceremony, or both. Civil ceremonies may be performed in any location, with the permission of the local mayor.

A blood test is not required prior to the marriage.

Note: If both parties are foreigners, in some cases, the Marriage Licence can be obtained prior to travel from the couple’s resident country. Check with your embassy and/or wedding llanner.

Residency Requirements

None, but foreign nationals should allow sufficient time for the local authorities to receive and process all the necessary documentation required for the Marriage Licence. The process takes a minimum of eight working days but there are other administrative requirements prior to submitting the application which may take much longer to complete.

If either party is a resident of Greece and is required to have a residence permit (non-EU citizens), they must possess a valid residence permit in order to be married.

Required Documents

Ensure that all documents are in your legal name, and provide affidavits in cases where you are known by another name.

All documents – originals or certified copies – must be translated into Greek and be certified with an Apostille stamp affixed. Contact the Greek consulate in your home country for an official translation or your embassy in Greece. If your documents are translated, be prepared to submit the original copies in your native language as well as the translated version.

Documents required for both the bride and the groom, include…
  • Valid Passports
  • Valid residence permit (if applicable)
  • Birth Certificate or certified copy
  • Certificate of No Legal Impediment (CNI – available at your local embassy or consulate, issued within the past three months)
  • Decree Absolute bearing a seal of the Court of Divorce, if either party is divorced
  • Death Certificate of deceased spouse, if either party is widowed
  • Copy of the newspaper in which the wedding notice was published (if applicable)
  • The court decision approving the marriage for those under 18 years of age.

Two sets of the above documents are required if both civil and religious ceremonies are to be performed. One set is for the town hall and the other for the clergy.

Note: an Apostille is a unique stamp that is attached to an official document, usually by a local embassy, Court or Government Department, that certifies the authenticity of that document.

Intent to Marry / Wedding Notice

A wedding notice (banns) must be published in a local newspaper or posted at the Town Hall (Demarchio) in the Greek language eight days before the application for the Marriage Licence can be submitted. One notice must be published or posted for the bride, and one notice must be published or posted for the groom. The names on the notice should be phonetically written in Greek and not in Latin characters.

Civil Marriage Ceremony

The required documentation (as listed above) must be taken in person to the Town Hall (Demarchio) or the President of the Community (Proedros Kinotetos) and this can be delivered by your wedding planner, if you have one.

The application is accompanied by a fee which differs according to the area that you have selected for your marriage.

If everything is in order, the Marriage Licence will be issued eight days later and is valid for six months for all locations throughout Greece.

The couple must then submit a joint application to the Mayor or President of the community where they would like to marry, who will then confirm the date of the wedding ceremony. The civil ceremony can take place at the Town Hall, Mayor’s office or another pre-approved venue such as the couple’s hotel or resort, and is often performed by the Mayor.

Civil ceremonies cannot take place at an archaeological site.

The marriage ceremony is typically conducted in Greek, therefore a translator may be required if neither the bride or groom speak the language. Two witnesses must attend the ceremony, and one may act as the interpreter if required. Witnesses must have either their passports or Greek identity documents with them at the ceremony.

Legally conducted marriages in Greece are recognised under international laws.

Religious Marriage Ceremony

The required documentation (listed above) must be taken to the clergy member who will perform the ceremony. The clergy member will then apply for the Marriage Licence on the couple’s behalf.

Some faiths may require additional documents for a church service. Couples are advised to contact the clergy as early as possible to determine what is required for their particular religion. Greek Orthodox, Protestant, Roman Catholic and Jewish ceremonies are all available in Greece.

Couples of the Roman Catholic faith should allow at least three months before the wedding date in order to process all the necessary paperwork (certificates of baptism, dispensations, statements of freedom to marry, etc.). Typically, the wedding ceremony of a Roman Catholic must take place in a church rather than in a resort or on a beach.

Registration of Marriage

Once the wedding ceremony has taken place, the couple has 40 days to register the marriage at the local Registrar’s Office/Office of Vital Statistics (known as the Lixiarhio). This applies to both civil and religious ceremonies. A marriage can be registered by either the bride or groom, or by a third person provided that they are in possession of a notarised ‘Power of Attorney’ authorising them to do so.

Marriage Certificate

Once registered, the Marriage Certificate is issued within three days, and can be collected from the Registrar or mailed to the couple. Marriages that are not registered with the Lixiarhio are not legally valid.

Apostille of Marriage Certificate

European Union citizens (except the United Kingdom and Ireland) may need to have their Marriage Certificate apostilled (or authenticated).

This does not apply to citizens of United States, Canada, Australia or New Zealand. Citizens of Asian countries, South and Central America should check with their Civil Registrar/Marriage Officer as to whether an Apostille is required for your country.

A special stamp (apostille) is required to validate the marriage certificate obtained after the civil ceremony for certain nationalities. Your wedding planner can assist you in obtaining the Apostille, if required.

Fees

Documentation costs – 200 to 500 Euros (CNI, translations, marriage licence and certificate. Costs vary across Greece.)

Wedding Planners

Major hotels in Greece can often provide wedding planners who can insure that the entire process of getting married in Greece, including fulfilling all legal requirements, is stress free.

Or you may wish to check out one or more of the wedding planners recommended at Greeka.com – an excellent resource to the Greek islands, and one that is also licensed by the Greek National Tourism Organization.

For inspiration, visit Wedding in Greece – an excellent website dedicated to helping couples 'tie the knot' in Greece.

For more information on a religious ceremony…
  • Greek Orthodox : Archdiocese of Athens (Tel. 210-3352322, email: mardi@iaath.gr)
  • Protestant : St Andrew’s American Protestant Church (Tel. 210-645-2583, http://www.standrewsgreece.com)
  • Roman Catholic : Saint Dionisios Aeropagitus Roman Catholic Cathedral (Tel. 210 362 3603, http://www.cathecclesia.gr)
  • Jewish : Jewish Community (Tel. 210-325-2875, email: info@athjcom.gr, www.athjcom.gr).

For more information on getting an Apostille Certificate (Australian citizens) for Australian public documents, visit Apostille Australia Certicifate Service. When affixed or attached with an Apostille Certificate, the documents will automatically be accepted for legal use in foreign countries that are signatories to the Hague Convention, including Greece.


Please note: while accurate at time of publication this information is for guidance purposes only and liable to change without notice. Please check with your wedding planner at your resort of choice or the relevant embassy of the country in which you intend to marry for up-to-date details before your wedding.

Latest update: How to get married in Greece: 25 February, 2019


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