Wedding Ceremonies

Wedding Ceremonies

Wedding Rituals – their traditions and customs - vary greatly between cultures, religions, social classes, Wedding traditions and customs vary greatly between cultures, ethnic groups, religions, countries, and social classes.

Marriage Practices
These culturally diverse customs, may take many forms, and are formalised by a wedding. The act of marriage usually creates legal obligations between the individuals involved. Almost all cultures that recognise marriage also identify adultery as a violation of the terms of marriage.

South African Marriages
The law varies from country to country and, in some countries, from area to area. We will concern ourselves here only with South African Law

Who May Solemnise the Marriage?
Civil marriages are currently solemnised at Churches with authorised Marriage Officers i.e. Pastors, etc. and also at the Offices of the Department of Home Affairs. Only Marriage Officers authorised in terms of Act No. 25 of 1961 to perform marriages may do so.

What is Your Preferred Mode of Marriage?
If you are planning to get married then the first thing you should do is ensure that you are allowed to marry and that you familiarise yourself with the legal consequences of a marriage. You need to ensure that you marriage will comply with all the legal requirements for a valid marriage. Further, unless a valid antenuptial contract has been entered into beforehand, marriages in South Africa automatically take the form of being in community of property. Thus, if you are not certain which mode of marriage would be right for you, it would be wise to seek the advice of legal counsel, i.e. make an appointment to consult with a Specialist Divorce and Family Law Attorney before you become married.

What Documents Should You Take With You?
There are documents which the couple must present to the Marriage Officer on the actual day of the Wedding. Below is a list of possible documentation that the couple are required to bring with them to the Ceremony:

  • Their Identify Documents. If the couple have not, and never had identity documents, an Affidavit BI-31 may be issued in lieu of identity documents; also, if their births have been registered, then also their birth certificates. Foreigners must present their passports;
  • If Minors are getting married, then the prescribed written consent is necessary;
  • If both or one of the parties to be married have been previously married and now divorced, they must bring with them their respective original final decree of divorce.
  • This is not always possible and sometimes they are unable to produce the document; further, they may have been divorced another country and cannot get such a decree of divorce. In cases such as these, a sworn affidavit by the party concerned stating that they are legally divorced, and giving the name of the Court that granted the divorce and the date on which it was granted is required.
  • Should one of the parties be a widow or widower, the deceased spouse’s death certificate should be produced. In the event that this document is not available, the bereaved party of the person concerned will be required to bring with them an Affidavit which confirms the death of the deceased spouse and gives the name of the deceased and date of their death.