Being a Witness at a Civil Wedding - All you Need to Know
In occasions we are presented with the question of what is the role of witnesses in a civil wedding. Sometimes we wonder whether they have to be relatives or not, how many are needed... The truth is that there are some differences compared to witnesses of a religious wedding, although they do share a similar function. In either case, they should be people who are close to the couple as they will also be participating in this important day. So that there is no doubt on the subject we at oneHOWTO explain in detail what being a witness in a civil wedding is all about and what they do.
Types of witness at a civil wedding
First, note that in a civil wedding there are two types of witnesses:
- Witnesses for processing the application.
- Witnesses to sign the marriage certificate.
Processing the marriage certificate
The processing of the marriage certificate will happen before the wedding at the registry office or town hall. One requirement will be the statement of at least one witness, who must appear before the state official in charge of this procedure.
Who can sign as a Witness on marriage documents?
The witness for the processing of this case must meet certain requirements:
- Be an adult (over 18 years of age).
- Be present at the ceremony to see the bride and groom sign.
- Bring with them a document to confirm their identity.
- In some registry offices it is required for the witness not to be a relative, though it is not officially stipulated in this way. Ask what rules apply in the registry office where you want the marriage to take effect.
What does a civil wedding witness do?
The role of the witness or witnesses is to 'give faith' that none of the people who are going to marry are there under coercion or against their will. Take a look at our article on How does a Civil Wedding ceremony work if you need more information.
Most civil codes provide that the marriage should be held before the judge, mayor or chosen official and two adult witnesses.
Therefore, there is only one legal requirement for the witnesses, they must be over 18 years old (or the legal adult age of the country). There is no need for witnesses to be relatives, they can have any relation with the bride and groom.
The role of the two witnesses at a civil wedding will be to witness that the act of marriage has taken place and to then sign the marriage certificate.
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- Choose as a witnesses people with whom you want to share this special day.