When people get married in the movies, there’s never any mention of all the paperwork, and so I naïvely thought that on the day of the wedding you go to the church or government office, sign some papers and that’s it. Unfortunately that’s not the case, especially when it’s a marriage between two people of different nationalities, as in our case!
Someone in my German class told me he and his wife (both Italian) got married in the US, and all they needed were passports. The European version of a Las Vegas style wedding is apparently to go to Denmark as less administration is required there, but even for a wedding in Denmark you do need more paperwork than just passports, so a little bit of advance planning is required. My advice to anyone going into a multi-national marriage is not to set a wedding date until you have your paperwork in order. However this is also tricky, as venues need to be booked in advance and some papers expire (for example, a letter of no impediments is only valid for 6 months).
Our case is more complicated than most, as four countries are involved. I am South African but also have British citizenship, as my mother is British. My fiancé is Czech. We are living in Germany at the moment and we will get married in Czech Republic. As a result, we started with the administrative process for getting married in January, and are still not finished, in August, two weeks before the wedding. Continue reading