What kind of wedding ceremonies can You have, if You wish to get married in Hungary?
Can foreign citizens get married in Hungary? What are the most important rules and documents required? In this writing You can read about these topics.
Photo credit: Misi Kondella
Official civil ceremony
In Hungary the legally binding marriage is entered in the frame of the civil ceremony conducted by a wedding officiant (registrar) being employed by the state. Foreign citizens also can get married in Hungary, however bureaucracy often deters couples coming from abroad. The marriage certificate can be obtained from the registry office being competent on the basis of the location of the wedding ceremony. I.e., if You wish to have a wedding in Buda Castle, Budapest, District I, You shall apply for the marriage license at the registry office of District I, Budapest. Both parties must be present personally between 6-3 months before the wedding date. It is very proposed to leave 3-4 months before wedding, since the procedure is very slow especially in case of foreign citizens. If one of the parties doesn’t speak English, a third person must accompany the couple to the registry office. One of the parties cannot translate to the other party, nor family members, only an independent person, however he/she needn’t be an official interpreter.
The list of documents needed varies on the basis of the country the foreign citizen is coming from. But in general it includes an ID (passport, driving license, any documents including your photo), your birth certificate, verification of your permanent address and usually a certificate issued by your authorities or consul, which states your marital status. Sometimes, the Apostille is also needed for this document. All these documents must be translated into Hungarian by OFFI (National Office for Translation and Attestation) or a certified translator. About this You can read more HERE.
So, official civil wedding is not impossible in Hungary, however it takes long, it requires some paperwork (and money) and it assumes You will visit Hungary around the 3rd-4th month before the wedding. So, it used to work only for couples living in Hungary or visiting the country regularly. For the others, there are another solutions. If in your country (you are coming from or living in) the marriage procedure is less difficult, You should consider to have the legal/civil wedding there and have only a symbolic or church ceremony in Hungary.
Symbolic wedding ceremony
Symbolic wedding ceremony is a “pretended” civil ceremony held by a so-called “celebrant”. It is very practical, when You simply don’t have the time and opportunity to meet the requirements of an official civil marriage. In its externals it looks like an official civil wedding, so your guests needn’t know that it’s just a pretended one. Its advantages are that they can be customized (it can be romantic, funny, short, long - as per your wishes) and You needn’t go through the legal procedure of an official ceremony. However, it has no legal effect, of course. More and more bilingual celebrants are available in Hungary presenting such kind of wedding ceremonies anywhere and anytime in the country.
Photo credit: Magistero
In Hungary, the majority of the population are Roman Catholic, so this is the most often church ceremony. Almost all Hungarian settlements have at least one Roman Catholic Church. In larger cities bilingual church ceremony is also possible (or if not, You can rent an interpreter, the priests are flexible in cooperation with them). In the Roman Catholic Church marriage is one of the seven sacraments, so they have strict rules You have to comply with. You will need to introduce your baptism certificate, your ID and a verification of your permanent address. On the basis of your permanent address, the competent church in your country shall to issue a so-called dismissal letter, in which they agree in having your wedding ceremony in another church. In addition, You have to execute the obligatory pre-marital course. If You don’t live in Hungary, You have to find a Roman Catholic church/priest in your country, who undertakes to deliver these lectures for You (it used to be at least 1-3 occasions, but sometimes less, sometimes more - depending on the priest).
If only one of the parties is Roman Catholic, the RC marriage can be entered, but the non-RC party must undersign a declaration that they will raise their children in Roman Catholic spirit.
The second biggest religion in Hungary is the protestant. Calvinists, Lutherans and Baptists are the most often churches, but you also can find Anglican communities. In these churches, the rules are less strict than in the Roman Catholic Church, however they “just” bless the legal marriage entered before the church ceremony.
In Budapest and in some other bigger cities in the countryside we have Russian orthodox and Serbian Orthodox churches as well and also Greek Catholic ones.
Hungary has also a considerable Jewish community, so You can have also a Jewish ceremony in Hungary with a rabbi.
Sikh and hindu religion is rare in Hungary. The externals and accessories of a sikh or hindu wedding usually can bought or rented in Hungary, and You can find a religious officiant in the adjacent counties (in Vienna, e.g.).
If for any reasons you cannot choose from any above-mentioned church ceremonies (meaning like you are of “totally different religions” or none of you are baptised, but you wish to include some spirituality in your wedding ceremony), we have a small, young church specialized on symbolic spiritual blessings. This so-called ecumenical church holds on-site bilingual church ceremonies in English and Hungarian.
The Hungarian state doesn’t acknowledge marriages entered in the frame of a church ceremony, so if You only have a church ceremony, it has no legal effect in accordance with the laws of Hungary.
If You are thinking in getting married in Hungary, please don’t hesitate to contact us!