Can you imagine having your gorgeous and expensive wedding cancelled, or worse still, your marriage annulled simply because you did not fulfill legal requirements beforehand? Like many other countries in the world, Kenya has its own laws pertaining to Civil and church marriages.
It’s always important to ensure that before planning your wedding you comply with the laws of the land to avoid inconveniences in future. Let us outline some of the basic laws that you should keep in mind before making that big step of marriage. To start off, let’s differentiate between a civil and a Christian marriage.
A Civil marriage is a union solemnized without a religious ceremony and overseen by a government official. In Kenya, civil marriages are done in a registrar’s office or at any preferred location but in possession of a special license. You are probably asking yourself why you need a special License. A special license is a vital document that is required in order for your wedding to be recognized by the Marriage Act. This document can be applied for at the Marriage Registrar’s office. Foreign couples looking to get married in Kenya also need a special license to get married in Kenya. In case you are planning a civil wedding in Kenya, below are some of the documents you need to qualify:
- Valid passport for both parties
- Tourist Visa (foreigners)
- Birth certificates for both parties
- Affidavit made by solicitor or notary declaring you are both single and eligible to marry
- Widows and widowers need to hand the death certificates of deceased partners
- Divorced party need to present a Decree of Absolute stamped by a court
A Christian wedding involves a union between couples that profess the Christian religion. In a Christian wedding the laws requires the two couples to be joined by a licensed minister. This sort of marriage has to be registered at the registrar’s office to give it validity. A witness is required to sign the marriage certificate during the official signing of the documents. In most churches, the couples are often enrolled in a marriage counseling class before they are allowed to wed in church. A Church wedding in Kenya is quite involving and sets its own standards that are different from other types of marriages. Polygamy is not allowed under Christian doctrines therefore, there has to be one man and one woman. Other additional documents required are:
- Valid passport/ID card
- Birth certificates for both couples
Affidavit declaring that you are both single
Other requirements vary from church to church and it is good to find out well in advance before booking the wedding.