Religious WeddingsMalta is a highly religious country, with the prevailing and official faith being Roman Catholicism. There are a reported 365 Roman Catholic churches in Malta – one for every day of the year! The church is of utmost importance throughout the Maltese Islands and strongly influences the way of life of the islanders. By that token, you would be spoiled for choice if you were looking to arrange a religious wedding – and not necessarily just a Catholic wedding, as Malta supports other denominations to a certain degree too.
Civil CeremoniesMany couples arranging a wedding in Malta from overseas find it easier or simply prefer to have a Civil Ceremony. Civil Ceremonies can be performed by a registrar in any number of approved venues around the island. Even if a venue is previously unapproved, it is possible to apply for a license from the Registry Office. At present you cannot legally marry on a beach, and outdoor locations need to have four walls or be part of a public building to be approved. This is changing all the time so it is worth checking your ideas with the Maltese Registry Office before ruling anything out completely.
Your marriage in Malta is fully legal and accepted as such in other countries but you will need to register your marriage in your homeland – the Maltese registrar will provide you with all the documentation required for this.
Arranging Your Civil Ceremony
If you are arranging your ceremony through a hotel or agent, they will most likely deal with all the paperwork required. However, in the instance that you deal with this directly, here’s the process you’ll be required to go through in order to arrange a Civil Ceremony in Malta:
Civil Ceremony 10-Step guide:
Research, select & book your venue.
Confirm whether they will deal with the Registrar or if you will be required to deal with them directly. Get them to send you any contact info or documentation needed for liaison with the Marriage Registry Office in Malta.
If it is you, contact the Maltese Marriage Registry Office in Merchants Street, Valletta by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 00 356 2220 9200, providing information of your selected venue and the proposed date of your wedding. Opening hours are Mon-Fri 7.30am to 2pm with the exception of Weds which is also open from 3pm-6pm, Sat is open 7.30am-11am. Following initial contact you will be allocated a Registrar who can perform the ceremony on your given date.
Your Registrar will walk you through the forms you need to fill in before you can get married in Malta. These will need to be submitted a minimum of 6 weeks before your marriage and not earlier than 3 months before. Here is a checklist of the documents that you will be required to supply as will be advised by your Registrar or wedding planner. Forms will vary depending on whether you are single, widowed or divorced. It’s worth noting that all documentation you supply is kept by the Registry Office so getting official copies of your birth certificate etc is advisable.
List of documents required depending on your status:
Publication of Banns. Banns of Matrimony will be posted in public areas such as the Registry Office or official area in the town you are to marry in, stating your names, the venue of your marriage and so on. The Banns are posted for a minimum of 8 days. The smooth sailing of this will rely on your paperwork being correct. Inaccurate forms can result in significant delays – originals are required and in most cases solicitors’ or Commissioner for Oaths’ witness signatures are required on accompanying documentation. If you are in Malta, it is worth noting that the Registrar is a Commissioner for Oaths and can witness your forms themselves.
Personalise your ceremony. The ceremonies are quite short and have quite a bit of legal language included so the Registrar will suggest including at least two readings in the ceremony – one at the start and one before exchange of the rings. However, it is very flexible and you can adapt the ceremony as much or as little as you like, as long as the Maltese Law section is read, they are quite relaxed.
Relax! Assuming all your forms are received correct and on time, you should have no further need to contact the registrar until the day. Unless you want to check they haven’t forgotten you!
On the day, the Registrar will arrive around 15-20 minutes before the ceremony, giving you a chance to do any final checks.
Certificate of marriage. Once you are pronounced man and wife, you will be given a certificate of marriage. However, this is not the official certificate and you will be required to go to the Marriage Registry to pick up the official documents. You can order certificates online at www.certifikati.gov.mt. It is recommended that you get your certificates Apostilled (officially stamped) so the documents can be used to register your marriage with minimum fuss in your own country. Full copies of the original ‘Act of Marriage’ currently cost €9.32 with the short versions costing €2.33.
Fees. As well as the admin and ceremony fee (currently between €60-100 depending on your venue), you will also be required to pay the Registrar’s transport to and from your venue on the day. Unofficially, this amount is left up to you – draw your own conclusions on that one and tip as you see fit!