Getting Married in Prague
Everything you need to know about tying the knot in the heart of Europe
Prague is the dream marriage destination for thousands of couples from around the world. It is hard to stroll through Prague without running into a bride wearing a beautiful white dress. Here’s all you need to know about the legal requirements of tying the knot in the heart of Europe.
The first important thing to consider is when you want to get married. If one or both of you are foreigners, the municipality that you want to get married in will have to do some checking up on your paper work. This generally takes at least a month after you submit all your documents.
Time of year and the municipality that you want to get married in is crucial. Prague 1 and 2 are the most popular municipalities to get married in so you need to book a spot months in advance. Many Czechs get married in the town hall instead of a church – if you want a wedding outside a town hall, you’ll have to book this far in advance too.
A religious marriage can be slightly more complicated and may require extra fees and paperwork depending on the particular church or religious community. A civil marriage is more common in the Czech Republic and the fees are straight forward:
• 2,000 CZK if either the bride or the groom has permanent residence in the Czech Republic
• 1,000 CZK if both the bride and groom have permanent residence in the Czech Republic
• There is an extra fee of 1,000 CZK if you get married outside of office hours or an office that is not designated for marriage – this isn’t always possible
If you’re already overwhelmed, there are various English speaker friendly agencies that will help you with the entire process. The Prague Wedding Agency for example does everything from the paperwork to buying a cake and sending out invitations. The price varies depending on what services you want so you need to contact them to get a customized quote.
It’s possible to do everything by yourself or with the help of family and friends. Perhaps the hardest part of the entire process is getting an apostille for your birth certificate (if you are not Czech). This has to be done in your country of birth. The apostille then has to be legally translated. If you’re sending your birth certificate home by post, this can take up to a month. Most municipalities won’t let you book a date until you submit all your documents.
The Ministry of the Interior of the Czech Republic has a page explaining the necessary paperwork and laws regarding marriage. The requirements to get married in the Czech Republic are:
• Both bride and groom need to be over 18-years-old
• The bride and groom cannot be related by blood or marriage (or adoption)
The documents you need to provide when you apply for marriage and set the date are:
• If you are Czech:
o Original birth certificate
o An ID
• If you are a foreigner:
o A translated birth certificate with an apostille
o Proof of residency if you are not Czech (visa, residency pass, etc.)
o A paper from your embassy proving that you are legally allowed to get married
- Legally translated documents proving divorce or death of previous spouse
o Proof of legal residence from foreign police
- This document has to be no older than 7 days on the day of the wedding – all you need to do is go to the foreign police, fill out a form and bring this document with you on your wedding day
As you can see, foreign nationals need to provide a lot more paperwork than Czechs. All the documents, with the exception of the passport, need to be legally translated. Also, if either the bride or groom don’t speak Czech, you need to hire an interpreter who is legally authorized to translate at weddings. The municipality will provide you with the resources to find an interpreter. This can cost up to 2,000 CZK.
If you want to get married during popular months such as June or July, you should book months in advance. This means as early as October. If you don’t care much about where the ceremony happens and you want to get married as soon as possible, you can call all 20 municipalities and see when they have openings. It is possible to find a spot a month in advance as long as you have all the paperwork.
Every municipality has different days of the week when you can get married. You can pick up free magazine at any municipalities’ marriage office with contact information for every town hall location and marriage times in Prague. Thursdays and Fridays are the most common days to get married. Most municipalities have office hours on Mondays and Wednesdays from 8:00 – 18:00.
Another fact that you should be aware of is that according to Czech law, your employer has to give you a paid day off on the day of your wedding. This won’t count as one of your paid holidays.
Some insight on civil weddings:
Even if you have a low key civil wedding, you can expect them to make it special. The size of the reception hall varies but can generally seat at least 25 guests. You can bring your own music or choose from their selection that includes traditional wedding tunes as well as Western pop songs. You can chose between a 45-minute long ceremony and a shorter 15-minute one. They will collect rings and will explain how the ceremony will work.
You can expect the minister to tell a funny romantic story and treat you like you’re the only couple in the world. Even though they can marry up to 10 couples in one day and you can see the next couple waiting outside after your ceremony.
Of course you can have a fancier wedding with a longer ceremony at a different location. But even if you chose the bare minimum, you can expect that all parties involved will make it a special day for you and your bride or groom.
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