Non South African residents:
On the day of the wedding once the ceremony has been concluded the bride and groom will both sign the marriage register along with the marriage officer and two witnesses and will received an original abridged marriage certificate as well as the second copy of the marriage register. The marriage officer submits the documents to Home Affairs within three working days.
For South African Citizens they can check to see when their marital status has changed and their marriage has been registered - www.home-affairs.gov.za
From August 2010, Home Affairs in South Africa stated that couples who are not South African citizens and wish to get married in South Africa need to provide what is called a letter of no lawful impediment. This letter is obtained from the bride and or groom’s home office in their country of origin. It basically states that there is no lawful impediment to them getting married overseas (like in South Africa). As a marriage officer, I am requested to submit this letter with the other required documentation to Home Affairs. If a bride or groom’s country of origin like the United Kingdom do not provide a no lawful impediment letter then an official letter (dated and stamped and signed) is required from the relevant government department stating this and I will then provide the couple with an oath which they need to get signed by a Commissioner of Oaths prior to getting married.
Couples who are South African citizens do not require this letter as their marital status is on the Home Affairs system. It is the responsibility if the bride and groom are SA citizens that they check their marital status is correct on the Home Affairs system.
An unabridged marriage certificate is like an international marriage certificate that some countries require in order to register a marriage that took pace in South Africa. On your wedding day, the marriage officer will issue you with an abridged marriage certificate and a copy of the marriage register which are both legal documents stating you have been married in SA.
If you reside outside of SA or wish to register your marriage outside of SA you may require an unabridged marriage certificate and in some cases like the Germans, Dutch and Swiss it will need to be affixed with an Apostille Stamp.
Marriage officers are no longer permitted to apply for unabridged marriage certificates on behalf of couples getting married in SA. Please note that Home Affairs no longer provide handwritten unabridged marriage certificates to couples. All unabridged marriage certificates are processed in Pretoria and can take many months to be processed.
Couples can either:
An Apostille seal is used to authenticate legal documents for use in foreign countries. A document with an Apostille requires no further certification from an embassy or consulate in order to be legal.
Couples who get married in South Africa but who reside overseas may require an unabridged marriage certificate affixed with an Apostille Stamp.
Please don't be alarmed , this does happen from time to time and is an administrative issue that Home Affairs need to sort out so it will mean the delay of your new marriage being registered. As long as you have the final decree of divorce you can proceed with your wedding which will be legal but please note that the registration of your marriage will be delayed.
So basically Home Affairs (in Pretoria) first need to update your divorce on their system so that your marital status goes from married to divorced and then they can process your marriage. This does take a number of months to be rectified.
However I would recommend that you sort this out before you get married to prevent delays in your marriage getting registered. You can go into your local Home Affairs Office with your ID document and final decree of divorce and request that they update their system.
I would also suggest posting a copy of your final decree of divorce together with a copy of your ID to the address below requesting that they change your marital status from married to divorced.
Department of Home Affairs
Private Bag X114
Att: Divorce Department
In my opinion there is nothing worse than a long drawn out wedding ceremony where the marriage officer just likes the sound of his / her own voice. In my experience, especially if your wedding is outdoors the optimal time for a wedding ceremony is between 25 – 30 minutes. Obviously it does depend on what elements you would like included in your wedding ceremony….. A wedding ceremony does not have to be long to be special.
The length of a wedding ceremony really depends on a number of factors like how many readings or song items or symbolic gestures you would like included in your ceremony. My focus for a wedding ceremony is primarily a celebration of the love between the bride and groom and the promises they will be making to each other on their wedding day.
I think a wedding ceremony can be enhanced by involving a family member of friend to read a poem about marriage or even read something personal that they have written about the couple.
I normally use 3 sets of standard vows in the wedding ceremonies I officiate.
You can also Google wedding vows for a whole host of different choices.
Unity Candles are a wonderful ritual that acknowledges the role and influence of family in the lives of both the groom and bride. On the one hand it honours the bride and groom’s parents and on the other it is a powerful symbol of the bride and groom becoming one and starting a new family. The two outside candles represent the bride and groom’s lives. They are two distinct lights, each capable of going their separate ways. As you join now in marriage, there is a merging of these two lights into one light. From now on your thoughts shall be for each other rather than your individual selves. Your plans shall be mutual, your joys and sorrows shall be shared alike. As you each take a candle and together light the centre one, you will extinguish your own candles thus letting the centre candle represent the union of your lives. As this one light cannot be divided, neither shall your lives be divided.
Scottish tradition of Handfasting ritual / blessing ; During the ceremony the couples hands will be bound together with a tartan sash. The bride and groom will then repeat the words of the hand fasting ceremony to each other.
The letter of the law says the marriage register needs to be signed under a roof with the windows and doors open. It is much more important to understand the interpretation or the (spirit) of the law rather than just the letter of the law. The purpose of this regulation is that it must be done in an open public place so that people can object because it is a contract between two people.
Most of the weddings along the Garden Route are on beaches or forests or game reserves. As marriage officers we make sure all the necessary documentation is in order for home affairs and all weddings are public where people can object if the want to (no one ever does) thus complying with the spirit of the law.