Denmark remains the most popular and sensible destination for international couples who want to marry. But where do you start?
Agency, or self-apply?
If you want to get married in Denmark you can either apply yourselves or go through an agency.
• Self-apply. The advantage of doing it all yourselves is that it is the cheapest option. It may be the right choice for couples on a budget, who are happy with a registry office wedding without any extras, and who feel confident they can negotiate the online system. Many couples successfully take this option, especially if their circumstances (in terms of nationality, residency, previous marriages etc) are simple. But if you go this route you need to be prepared for the possibility of confusing guidelines and frustrating delays. The biggest issue with the Familieretshus is that it is extremely difficult to communicate with them, especially as a private applicant, if things go wrong.
• Agency. You can use an agency to advise on the application process, and many will do the online application for you. This may be worthwhile if you do not have unlimited time and patience, or if your circumstances are anything other than straightforward. Agencies also have the advantage of experience with the system, and have better communication with the Familiretshus should something come up.
• Agency and wedding planner. But for many the wedding is at least as much about the celebration as the paperwork, which is where a good planner can really help. If you want a special location, bouquet, horse and carriage…(the list is long)…then you probably need a wedding planner to help. A good planner will also help with accommodation, restaurants and travel advice.
What documentation do I need?
Whether you decide to go it alone or use an agency you will require certain documents – but far fewer in Denmark than in any other reputable country. In general, you need to prove who you are (passport), that you here legally (visa), and that you are free to marry (a certificate or simple declaration). Depending on where they are from, some documents may need apostille or legalisation. The authorities will also want to be sure that you are a genuine couple. But the specific documents required depend on your circumstances, and especially your nationalities, your country of residence, and if you have been married before.
How quick is the process?
It should only take 5 days now for an application to be approved, and it usually takes less than 2 weeks, but it is still erratic, and occasionally can take 6 weeks or more.
What has changed with the new law in 2019?
The new law centralised marriage application processing. Initially this was disastrous and chaotic, as they appeared to have no idea what they were doing or what the requirements should be. But most of the problems have now been resolved, and so from most couples’ point of view there is no longer any obvious effect.
What about afterwards?
In most countries it is not compulsory to register a marriage. Within the EU the Danish marriage certificate (already in 5 languages) is valid just as it is. Outside the EU most countries will require an apostille on the certificate, and some will want full legalisation.
How do I choose an agency?
• Think about what you want. Do you really just want help with the documentation and application? Or do you want more, for a genuinely romantic and special celebration? Some Danish wedding agencies only offer help with the documentation, but it is not always obvious that that is all they offer, or that they are not there in the town where you hope to marry. Read the small print, or email the agency to check.
• Wedding planner? Check where the agency is based – an agency/wedding planner which is not right there on the spot will not know the best places for anything, nor be able to help with last minute requests or changes.
• Trust. You really need to feel you can trust your agency – you are trusting them with important documents and personal information, not to mention the most important day of your life. So look for all the reassurance you can, in terms of reviews, social media comment, press reports and so forth. And trust your instincts when you start emailing – you do not have to stick with the first agency you contacted if it does not feel right.
• Location. Some places, like Copenhagen, may be easiest in terms of access. But others, notably Ærø, are more popular because of the charming and romantic surroundings.
How should I start?
Start by getting some information by going online. Have a look at agency/planner websites and see which route will be best for you. If you do go it alone, then start here on this website – https://familieretshuset.dk/ansoegninger/ansoegninger . If you want the services of an agency then check the websites of several, and then when you write, tell them your nationalities, country of residence, marital status, and any special circumstances For the ceremony tell them also when you hope to marry, if you are bringing guests, and any plans, ideas or requirements you have!
Good luck, and congratulations on your decision to get married in Denmark.