One of the first things you will need to decide on when planning your destination wedding in Croatia is what type of ceremony you would like to have. Some ceremonies are legally binding, while others are purely symbolic. Legally binding wedding ceremonies require extensive paperwork for couples coming from abroad and this is one of the main things your wedding planner in Croatia can help with. Here we explain the main types of ceremonies you can have in Croatia:
CIVIL WEDDING CEREMONY
The most common wedding ceremony type to take place is the civil ceremony. It is officiated by a registrar, who is a government official, making the marriage legally binding by the laws of the Republic of Croatia.
Traditionally, this type of ceremony takes place in a registrar’s office, however with the rise of destination weddings in Croatia, registrars are more and more asked to perform the ceremony outside of the office, in beautiful locations, making the ceremony more special. It sounds like a true destination wedding fairytale, but couples need to keep in mind that registrars charge a fee for leaving their office and performing a ceremony on another location.
The fee is calculated according to the distance between the office and the location of the ceremony, but also taking into consideration time of day and day of the week (work day, weekend or holiday).Legal paperwork needs to be translated into Croatian by a certified translator, bear an Apostille stamp and be submitted 30-45 days in advance in order to obtain a marriage licence. If the bride and/or groom are foreign nationals who do not speak Croatian, a court interpreter needs to be present to translate the ceremony.
Taking all of this into consideration, the civil ceremony can very easily be the most expensive of all the ceremony types. This is something to keep in mind when deciding on which ceremony type you will have for your destination wedding in Croatia.
RELIGIOUS WEDDING CEREMONY
Catholic ceremonies are the most common type of religious wedding ceremonies taking place in Croatia. In order to have a religious ceremony, couples need to submit the same paperwork as for the civil ceremony and the registrar’s office will then issue a Certificate of fulfilment of the prerequisites for marriage. The registrar’s office closes to the religious ceremony venue would be in charge of issuing this certificate.
Finding a minister who speaks foreign languages and can perform a wedding ceremony in another language is not an easy task, but not impossible. In cities such as Dubrovnik and Rovinj, where there is a large number of destination weddings each year, it is more likely to find a minister who fulfils this requirement. Another option is to hire a court interpreter, same as for the civil ceremony. As religious ceremonies are not regulated by the law of the country, prices for this type of ceremony might vary from church to church.
SYMBOLIC WEDDING CEREMONY
The most versatile of all and the only ceremony on this list that is not legally binding. No extensive paperwork is needed for this type of ceremony, which makes it the easiest one to organize. It can take place anytime and anywhere you would like and it can be completely tailored to your needs and wishes. You can even make it look like a real civil ceremony and not tell your guests that it wasn’t legally binding! You can hire a wedding celebrant to lead the ceremony for you or you can have a friend/family member officiate it.
One of the coolest symbolic wedding ceremonies we’ve seen in Croatia is a so-called wine ceremony, where a sommelier performs the ceremony and the couple drinks wine from the same cup to symbolize their newly-formed union. It doesn’t get much more special than that.
SAME SEX MARRIAGE CEREMONY
Last on our list is the same sex marriage, which as of yet has not been legalized in the Republic of Croatia. Nonetheless, LGBTQ weddings can be organized in the form of life partnership, a community of two people of the same sex, made in front of the registrar and in the presence of two witnesses. The requirements for this type of ceremony are exactly the same as for the civil ceremony, including the translation of the documents, an Apostille stamp and the requirement of having a court interpreter if the couple are not from Croatia/do not speak Croatian.
If the couple is from a country where same sex marriage has been legalized, we would always recommend having a legally binding ceremony in their home country and organizing a symbolic ceremony for their destination wedding in Croatia.
Whichever type of wedding ceremony you choose for your Croatian wedding, we are happy to help you navigate the process. Assistance with legal paperwork is an essential part of Serendipity Weddings wedding planning and coordination service and we are happy to answer any questions you might have. Contact us today and let’s plan your dream wedding ceremony in beautiful Croatia.