Can I Get Married in Greece?

Greece has to be one of the most romantic wedding destinations on earth. We offer an expert’s guide to the things you need to know before tying the knot.


With an abundance of naturally beautiful locations – from quaint island villages to luxury seaside hotels that cater to every whim – it’s a no-brainer that Greece is a highly popular wedding destination.

Indeed, recent research by money.co.uk shows that, based on global searches on Google, Greece is the third most popular place to get married amongst Europeans and the fifth best amongst people around the world.

Get Your Documentation Right

What you need for a civil wedding

The majority of foreigners choose to have a symbolic ceremony in Greece rather than a civil or a religious wedding, as this often proves easier.

If a couple wishes to have a civil wedding in Greece, they will need to provide he following documents:

  • An Apostilled birth certificate with an official translation (translated into Greek by a certified translator, a lawyer or a member of the Greek Consulate or Embassy in your country)
  • A wedding notice published in one of the local Greek language newspapers at least eight days ahead of applying for a marriage license. Their couples’ names have to be written phonetically in Greek (not Latin) characters
  • A certificate of no impediment to marriage
  • Apostilled documentary evidence of divorce/adoption/change of name certificates where applicable
  • Passports

 

The necessary documentation needs to be personally taken to the Town Hall or the Community President, (this can be submitted by your wedding planner if you are employing one). The Marriage License is usually issued eight days later. Once you have chosen the place where you plan to marry, a joint application needs to be given to the community’s mayor or president stating where you intend to carry out the wedding ceremony and on which date. Civil ceremonies are often performed by the town’s/city’s mayor.

What you need for a Greek Orthodox (religious) wedding

If you decide to have a legal Greek Orthodox wedding both the bride and groom need to be baptized Greek Orthodox, unless one of the couple is Catholic (according to Canon Law, Catholics and Orthodox are permitted to marry with special dispensation from the diocesan bishop). The best man/woman also needs to be baptized Orthodox to be able to marry the couple.

To plan a Greek Orthodox Church wedding you will need:

  • Certificates of no impediment to marriage from the municipality where the applicant is registered
  • Certificate of no previous marriage certified by the Archbishop of the area of residence
  • Full birth certificates from your local registry
  • Family Status Certificates from your local registry
  • Baptism Registration act certificate
  • Copies of your passports

If one of the couple is not baptized Greek Orthodox, a public notary’s act is required where it is stated that the children will be baptized Greek Orthodox. If divorced, a certificate will need to acquired from the civil and church authorities.

All the above need to be legalized and officially translated by a certified translator.

If you’re a UK citizen, find out more here. If you’re a US citizen, find out more here.

Religion & Nationality Factors

Protestant, Maronite, Hindu, Roman Catholic and Jewish ceremonies are all possible in Greece. “Catholic marriages for couples coming from abroad can be legally registered in Greece as it can be registered at the registry office,” says John Pasaris, Head Wedding Planner at Wedding in Greece.

“The same applies to the marriage of Maronites who come from Syria, Lebanon and Egypt and belong to the Catholic denomination. For weddings of couples of other religions, arrangements are made between the couple and their priest.”

For full information on the paperwork and procedure required for each of these kinds of weddings and more, please see the information on the “Wedding in Greece” site here.

It is not legal for same-sex couples to carry out an official ceremony in Greece at this current time. They are, however, welcome to organize a symbolic wedding ceremony.

Pick the Perfect Destination

“Getting married in Greece, couples can combine the ceremony (whether symbolic or official) with their honeymoon, rather than having to face the extra expense of travelling somewhere else after the wedding,” says Pasaris. “It’s a destination that offers a multitude of things ideal for a wedding party and honeymoon – history and antiquities, excellent gastronomy, natural beauty, and activities such as visits to small wineries, sailing, etc. Also, there’s a great selection of luxury resorts and venues, small boutique hotels, and of course infrastructure, such as airports that offer direct connections to major European cities.”

But with such a wide selection, how do you choose the specific place for the wedding itself? It’s all a matter of taste, budget, and what kind of wedding you would like to have. Here we offer some general guidelines:

Big Fat Greek Wedding

 

Do you want an elaborate feast with 200+ guests, a breathtaking sunset/sea combo, a three-tiered cake, ice sculptures, a traditional dance performance, fireworks, a live band, a rich menu with modern and traditional flavors, the lot? If so, you’ll need to select your destination according to the facilities, catering and décor services, and the availability of nearby accommodation. All this and more is popularly found in places such as Santorini, Mykonos, Paros, Crete, the Peloponnese, Halkidiki, Corfu and the Athenian Riviera.

A Big Celebration with Your Nearest and Dearest (and a few extra)

This can literally be organized anywhere in Greece, so long as you rent out a large enough venue like a hotel, estate, boat, or restaurant at the location of your choice. Keep in mind the practicalities involved, such as: is there enough nearby accommodation for guests? And is there enough for them to see and do the day before and after the wedding itself?

A Small, Intimate Beach Wedding

Just as above, the choices are endless, and no special license is required if the beach belongs to a resort or the hotel that you and your guests are staying at and have already made arrangements with.

Just the Two of Us

Paros is a good choice for couples who want to combine their wedding with a fun honeymoon that includes plenty of nightlife, swimming, and dining. Similarly, Naxos, Santorini, Mykonos, and Ios are islands ideal for a wedding and honeymoon with a party spirit.

For a more intensely romantic experience infused with old-world Greek beauty, Nafplio, Sounio, Hydra, Spetses, Sifnos, Patmos, and Monemvasia are all idyllic locations for starry eyed lovers.

Consider a “Destination Wedding”

With increasing numbers of people coming from all over the world to tie the knot here, especially in the summer months, it may be helpful to seek out a locally-based wedding planner. Not only do they have the local know-how and contacts for making your event great, they will be your rock. “I would go so far as to say that my roles include interior designer, project manager, financial advisor, therapist, and confidant,” says Xenia Hajipetrou, founder and planner of Riviera Blu Events.

In more recent years, there has been a large influx of Americans, Saudi Arabians, Lebanese, British, French, Germans, and Australians wanting to get married in Greece. Coming from a long way away, and especially with guests in tow, most people opt for popular “destination weddings,” which involve arranging a full-service package with an organizer who has a broad experience of such elaborate events. “Destination weddings are essentially three-day long celebrations, with various pre- and post-wedding events to entertain guests who are travelling from abroad to attend the ceremony,” Hajipetrou adds.

 

“Such three-day events usually include a pre-wedding dinner at a quaint taverna on the beach or a roof top venue with the view of the Acropolis if held in Athens. For the wedding day there are many venues to choose from that offer excellent services and quality and a great party. The most desired venues are places with a great view of the sea, a lovely vineyard, a castle or perhaps a mystical lake. For the third day you can treat guests either to a beach party or a yacht trip with a fun filled day out at sea.”



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