If you’re planning to get married in Luxembourg, you’ll find romance in the castles, culture and mixed-marriages.
If wedding bells are ringing while living in Luxembourg, go ahead and be swept away with romantic stone castles and rolling hills on your wedding day. When it’s time to be practical and get official, there are some rules to follow and paperwork to fill and file. Here are some pointers to consider on how to get married in Luxembourg.
Married in Luxembourg
Let’s start with a few statistics to know when living in Luxembourg. Around 2,000 couples tie the knot every year in Luxembourg. Out of the 45 percent of families living in Luxembourg as a couple, 9 out of 10 are married. About twelve percent are married to at least one international living in Luxembourg. The average couple in Luxembourg marries in their mid-20s for women and early 30s for men. Given the international environment in the Grand Duchy, it is not surprising that over half of all marriages involve at least one partner of foreign nationality.
Weddings in Luxembourg: Getting official
There is a clear and organised process for your marriage, leaving all the more time to enjoy the fairytale. Religious ceremonies are up to you, but officially there must be a civil ceremony, a published proclamation, and some light paperwork. According to law, the groom must be at least 18 years whereas the bride may be 16 years old with parental consent. Both partners must dissolve any previous marriages. Furthermore, at least one of the partners must be a resident of Luxembourg.
There are a few documents that must be presented to the local town hall/commune of one of the partners at least one to three months before the civil ceremony takes place. Each must bring a passport or EU identity card and a certified copy of a birth certificate issued no later than six months before marriage. A certificate of Luxembourg residence from the town hall must be brought, and a certificate of single-status or celibacy (less than three months old if from Luxembourg and less than six month months if from abroad).
Other documents that might be needed based on certain circumstances can be divorce decrees if a partner has been married in the past, or death certificates of a former spouse if a partner is widowed. If a child was born before the marriage the father must recognize the child before the civil marriage for the child to be considered legitimate by providing the child’s birth certificate. Sometimes a health certificate issued by a Luxembourg legal doctor or physician that reviewed a blood and tuberculosis test is requested, but the registrar at city hall will let you know what extra information is needed.
Remember that these documents need to be in English, French or German. For the commune to accept any translation of another language, the documents need to be translated by a sworn translator (expect a fee). Once the paperwork is turned in a date is set by the civil registrar sometime between Monday to Friday, and a particular day can be requested. Some communes include Saturday, depending on the commune. Witnesses are not required by law, and the wedding certificate issued after the ceremony and is required for any following religious service plans.
Publishing of banns
The publishing of banns, or marriage proclamation, happens mandatory by law for at least ten days after the marriage at the municipality office where the couple/individuals live. After the publishing of banns, this is the official proclamation to get married, and thus the civil ceremony has to happen within the next year after the banns have been published in the communes both partners live in.
If you plan to get married in Luxembourg expect the registrar at your district’s city hall/commune to carry out the ceremony. Luxembourg only recognizes civil marriage, and a civil registrar must perform the marriage. Although this officialdom sounds a bit administrative for love, registrars give a polite and warm character to the ceremony. The public is welcome, although the usual attendees are family and close friends. After the civil ceremony, it is optional to perform a church ceremony. Other religious ceremonies are possible, but it does not replace the necessity of having a civil ceremony. All religious ceremonies can only happen after the civil ceremony, and receptions are usually in tow on either days. The website and blog CitySavvy has a great list of English-speaking churches that offer Protestant or Catholic churches and ceremonies.
Employment contracts usually include the possibility to leave for personal reasons – like marriage – for about six working days. Whether you’re a private employee or civil servant, your Luxembourg employer will allocate time. An advance notice is of course appreciated.
The Family Book
After the marriage, the couple will receive a ‘livret de famille’ (family book). This is a written record of marriage, and will eventually include any births, deaths, and divorce or name changes. If you want your marriage certificate (extrait d’acte de marriage), you must write to the commune where to marriage took place, indicate the date, place and full names.
Any taxpayer will receive a new tax card automatically based on the marriage information coming through to the municipality after the civil ceremony. When married, and as a taxpayer in Luxembourg, benefits are pushed over into a different class of taxation and taxed collectively. This means couples can benefit from double-tax deductions on certain expenses. (If you are a couple but unmarried, you will be taxed independently.)
In Luxembourg, the bride keeps her maiden name after marriage, but the common routine is for a married woman to use her husband’s family name or add it to her maiden name. Legally, the official recognized names are what’s shown in the civil register the day of the civil ceremony. It is possible to legally change via a written application stating the reason and sent to the Ministry of Justice.
Same sex marriage is legal in Luxembourg since January 2015, although partnerships have been available since 2004. A 2013 study found that 83 percent of people who live in Luxembourg are for same sex marriage, and in 2015 75 percent thought it ought to be allowed throughout Europe.
Marriage terms (French – German)
Wedding: marriage – Ehe
Husband : mari – Ehemann
Wife: épouse – Ehefrau
Church: église – Kirche
Registrar: registraire – Kanzler
Partnership: partenariat – Partnerschaft
Divorce: divorce – Scheidung