If you think that to get married in Kenya there will be a plethora of paperwork and official red tape then think again. Kenya wedding ceremony is relatively simple to organize if you receive the correct support and advice. Kenya offers a variety of wedding options – you can have a religious ceremony in a church, a civil ceremony in a Register Office or a civil ceremony, blessing or renewal of vows in a beautiful setting such as a luxury safari camp or an upmarket beach hotel.
Kenya Weddings: Types of Wedding in Kenya
Religious Ceremonies Christian, Islamic, Traditional African and Hindu ceremonies are all possible and recognised under Kenyan law. The Kenyan Registrar will hold records of Christian ceremonies and Marriage Certificates are issued for those and for Hindu and Islamic ceremonies. Affidavits are issued for traditional African ceremonies. It is important to note that many Kenyan churches use the African Christian Marriage & Divorce Act which is not suitable for non-Africans who can only get married under the Marriage Act (Cap 150/1), so ensure that you check this with your chosen church when you contact them for all their relevant terms / conditions and paperwork. Couples wanting an Islamic, Hindu or African ceremony should contact the Registrar of Marriages in the first instance to get further information on the terms and conditions. Civil Ceremonies If a Religious Ceremony is not for you, or if you’d prefer to wed in a special location, a Civil Ceremony can be arranged. In Kenya a Civil Ceremony can be held in a Register Office or at a venue that holds a Special License for weddings (check this in advance). Blessings / Renewal of Vows Couples can organize to have a blessing ceremony to celebrate their union or married couples may choose to renew their vows. These types of event can take place in a choice of beautiful locations and with very little paperwork, though no official certificates are supplied.
Kenya Weddings: Marriage certificate in Kenya
Before you get married in Kenya, you have to receive a certificate from the Registrar of Marriages. Their offices are located on the Third Floor, Sheria House, along Harambee Avenue in Nairobi. The first stage involves filling the application form for the certificate. This should be accompanied with copies of your identification cards and two hundred Kenya Shillings in application fees. In the case where either one or both parties are widowed, the Death Certificate of the departed spouse and a copy is required. In the case that either one or both parties are divorced, a Divorce Decree Absolute is also required. After filing the application with the clerk, the notice of intention to marry has to be published for twenty one (21) days. If there is no objection to the marriage, you have the following options:
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- If you plan to get married at the Registrar’s office, you will have to get a date, based on availability, from the clerk at the point of applying for a certificate. However, you still have to wait the 21 days for the notice. On the day when you are to marry, you are required to come with two witnesses for the occasion.
- If you plan to get married in the church, the notice of the intention to marry will be filed and also required to be announced in the church where the spouses are members and after the 21 days notice, you and your partner are required to go pick the certificate together. This certificate is then given to the pastor who will officiate the wedding and the church will prepare the marriage certificate.
In the event that parties, for a very good reason cannot give the 21-day notice, the Registrar of Marriages has the discretion to waive the Notice. This is not a right and can be denied. Requirements :
- Valid Identity Cards or Passports will be the only accepted forms of identification. If a person has any other form of identification, he/she MUST give the 21-day notice.
- Death Certificate of spouse if widowed and Divorce Decree Absolute if divorced.
- Documentary evidence of reason why notice cannot be given e.g. invitation letter from an Embassy inviting the applicant for an interview on a specific date.
- Completed Application form.
- A marriage date is then booked.
- A Special License is also required if the wedding is to take place in a place other than the Registrar’s Office.
All couples must bring two witnesses on their marriage day. Registrar certificates and special licenses for persons getting married in church under cap 150, the marriage act
- Where couples get married in church under Cap 150, Notice is given both in church and in the Office of the Registrar of Marriages. After the Notice period of 21 days, a Registrar’s Certificate is issued by the Office of the Registrar of Marriages and taken to the Church Minister who shall officiate the ceremony.
- A Special License is issued if the couple cannot give the required three weeks notice.
- Where the ceremony shall take place in a place other than a church or Registrar’s Office e.g. a garden, hotel e.t.c. a Special License is also needed to license the venue for a wedding even if Notice is properly given.
- A church minister must have either a Registrar’s Certificate or a Special License from the Registrar of Marriages to perform a wedding under Cap 150.
Church ministers please take note All non-Africans must get married under Cap 150, The Marriage Act because the African Christian Marriage & Divorce Act, Cap 151 which most churches use, does not apply to non-Africans. The marriages of non-Africans married under this Act are null and void.
Certificates of no impediment under cap 150, the marriage act These are issued to Kenya citizens wishing to have their marriages, either to Kenya citizens or foreigners performed abroad. The certificate conforms that the applicant is single and has capacity to enter into a marriage. The applicant completes the application form and attaches a copy of their identity documents. Applicants living abroad may channel their applications through Kenya ‘s missions in their countries of residence. The fee is paid there and the form completed. The mission then forwards to the Registrar of Marriages in Nairobi , the receipt conforming payment, a duly completed form and an authenticated copy of the applicant’s passport. Where the applicant’s home district is Nairobi , notice of the application is displayed for 10 days, giving anyone with an objection to the intended marriage opportunity to raise his or her objection. After 10 days, the certificate is prepared and collected by the applicant or forwarded to the mission through whom the certificate was applied. Where the applicant’s home district is not Nairobi , a letter is sent to the District Commissioner (DC) of the applicant’s home district, requesting him to display the notice of the intended marriage on his notice board or do investigations through the Chief of the applicant’s location on the marital status of the applicant. The DC then writes to the registrar and if no legal objection has been raised, the certificate is prepared in the usual way and dispatched through the usual channels.
Church ministers licensing, issuance of marriage books and filing of returns under cap 151 The Office of the Registrar of Marriages licenses church ministers to perform marriage ceremonies and issue marriage certificates. Any duly registered church can apply for the licensing of its minister(s).The application letter has to be on the official letterhead of the church and signed by an official of the church i.e. registered office bearer. The church must ensure that its annual returns are up-to-date before making the application. A license for the minister is then prepared, signed and sent by post to the church or collected by applicant’s agent. A gazette notice is also prepared alongside the license and the licensing of the minister sent to the Government Printer for gazetting in the Kenya Gazette. Marriage certificate books are sold at Ksh. 20,000 for a book containing 100 certificates. These are only sold to duly registered churches that have a licensed minister and after conforming that returns from the previously bought book have been returned to the Office of the Registrar of Marriages. Within seven days of conducting a marriage ceremony, a minister is required by law to file the duplicate marriage certificate with the Registrar of Marriages. It is the duty of the Registrar to maintain all records on statutory marriages in the country.
Kenya Weddings: Wedding planners in Kenya that can help you get the best gowns, photographers, rings, cakes and venues
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