Practical advice from Ms Sara PAVLATOU, from SP Weddings
Wedding abroad are becoming extremely popular amongst European couples, wanting to get away from the traditional "white" wedding day, with all the formalities and stresses that you with it! A wedding abroad, can be the answer to those who want to approach their wedding plans in a relaxed fashion or perhaps dare we say simply want to be married at the end of their day!
If you consider your destination wedding to be just as important as planning a wedding in your home country and don’t believe that you should have to compromise on quality, choice or service, then SP Weddings can offer you the service to reflect this! A wedding is a chance for a celebration, a party, a gathering of people that mean something to you;
There are plenty of travel agencies and wedding planning sites offering packages to suit some couples, however if you are looking for something special, unique or out of the ordinary, then we would love to try to assist you in finding the ideal wedding venue!
Secluded villas overlooking a breathtaking beach, a medieval house with a wonderful courtyard, a boutique hotel with innovative cuisine and decoration, anything and everything is possible!
We work in collaboration with you, the client, to create the perfect wedding, reflecting your taste and requirements, however simple or elaborate!
So, next, how to pick the location?
If you have chosen to plan your wedding in Rhodes, then you are quite lucky, as this island offers the most flexibility than any other on the locations available for a civil wedding!
Keep in mind the law referring to where civil weddings are allowed and where not. Each and every Town hall's mayor, makes their own rule regarding the locations permitted, so if you have an idea in mind, it is worth speaking to a wedding planner, who will advise you as to whether it is possible for a wedding to take place there.
Archaeological sites in general are forbidden for photography sessions and of course cannot be used as wedding or reception venues, so unfortunately any dreams of a wedding on the Acropolis of Rhodes or Lindos, are I'm afraid impossible to fulfil.
If weddings are only permitted in the local Town Hall, then consider having your "official" and legal ceremony on a day leading up to your chosen wedding date (or perhaps on the morning of your wedding day), you can choose to have only 2 witnesses present or close family and friends.
You are then free to set up your second (unofficial) ceremony as you would like, in some cases we can arrange for the same officiant to be present and perform the wedding or you may prefer for a family member or a friend to read the service to make it more personal and special for you and your guests.
Civil ceremony, the most popular type of ceremony for a wedding abroad is the civil one, which is a short ceremony performed by the mayor or registrar of the nearest town hall to the wedding venue that you have chosen.
The civil ceremony is very short (5 minutes), you are allowed to customize the ceremony by saying your own vows to each other or having some close friends or families do a reading. The certificate is legally binding around the world and has no connection to any religious faith.
Greek Orthodox Ceremony, this is of course the easiest ceremony to organize in the country, with unlimited options, venues by the sea, on mountains, it will be difficult to choose from the vast array of options available!
Depending on the priest performing the ceremony, we may be able to arrange for the ceremony to be performed outdoors!
One of the couple must be Greek Orthodox Church and the other baptized in the Christian faith. The ceremony is performed in Ancient Greek only.
There is a Roman Catholic Church on Rhodes Island, where weddings can take place, the ceremony and requirements are exactly the same as in your home country.
There is also a Synagogue and Protestant Church on Rhodes Island.
- Full Birth Certificate, the shorter version of the Certificate will not be accepted.
- Divorce or Death Certificate, if previously married a certified copy of the divorce decree or death certificate if marriage ended due to the death of spouse.
- Certificate of No Impediment, this document certifies that both parties are free to marry and can be obtained from your local registrar and can take up to a month to obtain, this certificate must not be issued more than three months prior to the wedding date.
- Apostille stamp, this is a special seal applied by an authority to certify that a document is a true copy of the original. These can be obtained by the Greek Embassy or the Secretary of State.
- Change of Name or Deed Poll Certificate, this is required in the event that the bride or groom has changed name by Deed Poll or court order.
- Adoption Certificate required if either party was adopted.
- Baptism Certificate, required only for a Catholic or Greek Orthodox ceremony.
- Document Translations, All the above documents, except for the copies of passport must be officially translated into Greek at the Greek Embassy or Consulate. This must be completed at least one month before the wedding. Contact the Greek Embassy nearest you on www.greekembassy.org or www.greekembassy.org.uk.
Greek Law does not allow a religious marriage between a Christian and non-Christian, however it is up to the individual parish to decide about the marriage of a non Greek orthodox faith to another Christian belief.
- Both parties must show evidence of Christian faith and baptism
- The couple must have a certificate from their Pastor for a series of pre-marital counseling sessions.
- One of the parties must be of Protestant faith and neither of Greek orthodox.
- Two witnesses must be in attendance
Roman Catholic Requirements
- Catholic weddings can only be performed if the bride and groom were not previously married, either the bride or the groom must be Catholic and both must be baptized.
- Each couple must provide certificates of Baptism, confirmation and Freedom to marry.
- Special Privilege is required in the case of a marriage to a non-Catholic; they must obtain certificates of baptism, birth and freedom to marry from his r her church.
- Greek Orthodox requirements
- Both parties must be baptized and either the bride or Groom of the Orthodox faith.
Jewish Faith requirements
- A certificate of freedom to marry, issued by the senior Rabbinate of the area of residence must be issued.
- A Jewish ceremony can be performed only if both parties are of a Jewish faith.
- After the wedding
- after the ceremony has been performed the couple have a legal obligation to register the wedding at the local council within 40 days, failure to do so will result in the marriage having no validity.
Please note that the paperwork that you provide to the Greek authorities is NOT returned to you after the wedding, they are kept on record.
Author: Ms Sara PAVLATOU, SP Weddings
Photography: Mr Antonis GIANNELIS