Wedding Legal Requirements
THE WEDDING CEREMONY
Couples can choose a non-denominational civil service conducted by a Celebrant, with or without a Registrar for the leagalisation, and/or a traditional Buddhist ‘Poruwa’ ceremony. The more colourful ‘Poruwa’ ceremony can be tailored to your requirements.
Note: You cannot have a formal Christian wedding ceremony in a garden in Sri Lanka, only civil services or Buddhist ceremony. You can have a Christian blessing by a clergyman; however you will need to be in Sri Lanka months prior to meet with the minister. Services conducted by a Celebrant take approximately 25 minutes with spoken Vows and readings, and traditional Buddhist ceremonies take up to 45 minutes. The choice is entirely yours.
Weddings can be conducted from Monday to Saturday excluding bank holidays. The couple must be 18 years or over. There is a minimum residency of 5 days i.e. couples must be in Sri Lanka at least 3 days prior to the wedding day. Parental consent is required if under 21.
YOUR MARRIAGE CERTIFICATE
Your wedding certificate will be issued in Sinhala and will need to be translated into English in order for it to be legally recognised in your own country. In most cases the Sinhala wedding certificate can be issued immediately, the English translation can take up to three days.
It is then required that this certificate, as well as the original Marriage Certificate (in Sinhala) be taken to the Consular Section of the Ministry of External Affairs in Colombo, along with the following paperwork:
- A statement that you are unmarried and therefore able to get married in Sri Lanka, issued by the local authority where you are resident.
- Copy of your Passport, along with a copy of the Tourist Visa issued on arrival in Sri Lanka.
- If someone is making this application on your behalf, they will need a letter of authority – see “Letter of Authority” attached – signature on letter of Authority should be the same as on Passport.
After approval from the Ministry of External Affairs in Colombo, it is then required that your paperwork be taken to the Consular/Embassy of the country that has issued your passport, for further verification.
We can organize this all for you and since each country charges a different amount for this, and all couples will be advised as to this cost on a one off basis.
When we have completed, we will then courier all relevant paperwork to you, for you to keep.
The following documentation is required in advance:
Valid 10-year Passport.
If single, an affidavit confirming marital status from solicitor.
If divorced, a decree absolute with court stamp of the previous marriage and an affidavit to declare marital status stamped by a notary.
If widowed, death certificate of former spouse and marriage certificate.
If adopted, an adoption certificate.
If name changed by Deed Poll, legal proof stamped and signed by a solicitor.
A document with full names and address of bride, groom and both sets of parents.
A document with the details of the bride and groom’s professions and that of their fathers.