Marriage

The Marriage Service deals with marriages celebrated on the territory of the City of Brussels (compilation of the file and celebration).

For all questions concerning the recognition of a marriage abroad:

Coronavirus measures: it is not compulsory anymore to wear a face mask when making an appointment with the Marriage Service or during the celebrations at the City Hall.

The social distance of 1.5 meters is recommended.

These measures may be adjusted in accordance with health developments.

Handling of files

In all cases, please contact the Marriage Service in advance by e-mail or telephone.

  • If your file requires it (foreign documents to be analysed on the spot), the service will make an appointment for you at the counter.
  • In other cases, your entire file may be processed remotely.
  • If you have difficulties compiling your file remotely, the service can also offer you an appointment on site.

In order to celebrate your marriage in the City Hall of Brussels, one of the two future spouses must be registered in the municipality.

For Belgians living abroad who are not registered in the population register of a Belgian municipality, the declaration can be received if they meet one of these three conditions:

  • The last address was in Brussels
  • A second-degree relative of one of the future spouses is registered in Brussels
  • The birthplace of one of the future spouses is in Brussels

A person who is not free of any marriage bond cannot initiate a marriage ceremony.

The marriage must be consensual and may not be affected by violence or threats.

There is no marriage when the sole purpose of the marriage is a benefit of residence.

The steps of your file:

​Identity documents

To analyse your application, from the first contact you will be asked to send a copy of your identity document (front and back), and also that of your partner if he/she is involved in the procedure.

The list of documents to be submitted will be provided after examining the administrative situation of the spouses.

Two Belgian telephone numbers are also requested.

Reservations

You can contact the service to reserve a wedding date up to one year in advance.

  • This reservation is only final after your file has been completed and your marriage certificate has been received. From then on, without confirmation from you at least 14 days before the wedding ceremony, it will be postponed automatically. Also, if a requested document is not submitted in time, your reservation may be cancelled or postponed.
  • Events on the Grand-Place may affect the possibility of holding weddings. Some events are communicated less than one year in advance and the Marriage Service may therefore contact you to move your booked wedding date/time.

Steps

The compilation of your file for the celebration of your marriage is carried out in three main steps:

  • The information provided by the service to compile your file by collecting the required documents.
  • The declaration of marriage (25 euros), which must be drawn up maximum 6 months and at least 14 days before the date of the marriage.
  • Closing your file. The service will contact you in the week before the ceremony to give you all the practical information you need.

Required documents

If you are Belgian, born in Belgium and not married abroad, you will only need your ID card to draw up the marriage certificate. In other cases, you will be given all the information you need.

Please note:

  • All documents must be original.
  • If the documents are not drawn up in French or Dutch, they must be translated into French or Dutch (by a sworn translator).
  • Some documents must be apostilled/legalised: Search criteria

Only after your file has been completed and analysed, your marriage declaration can be made.

Witnesses

Witnesses are not obligatory and are limited to 4 persons for the bride and groom.

The witnesses must be of age and have their identity documents on the day of the ceremony. They do not have to be Belgian or reside in Belgium. A family relationship between the witnesses and the bride and groom is neither compulsory nor prohibited.

A copy of the ID card of the witnesses must be sent when the file is compiled.

Payment: prior to the declaration of marriage

If your file is handled remotely, you will be asked to send proof of payment by e-mail before the declaration of marriage is drawn up.

If your case is dealt with at the counter, payment is made at the time of the declaration of marriage by means of bancontact.

Marriage declaration

Persons wishing to marry are required to make a declaration to the Officer of the Civil Registry of the municipality where one of the future spouses is registered on that date, by presenting the required documents.

The declaration of marriage is drawn up by and/or within the Marriage Service.

Legal deadlines

Your marriage can be celebrated from the 14th day after your declaration of marriage until 6 months and 14 days after your declaration of marriage. If your marriage declaration has not been received 14 days before your marriage, your reservation is automatically cancelled.

Extension or cancellation of deadlines are done at the competent Public Prosecutor's Office.

Rates

'Simple' formula

The administrative costs of a marriage are 50 euros (25 euros administrative costs for the marriage certificate and 25 euros extra for the wedding book that is given to you at the celebration).

This 'simple' formula offers you the following advantages:

  • Wedding date: you can choose the date of your wedding according to the availability of the calendar but not the time of your wedding, which is set by the service between 8:30 am and noon. The fixed time will be notified to you in the week before your wedding.
  • Reception: for your ceremony you will be welcomed in front of the Lions Staircase.
  • Duration of the celebration: approximately 15 minutes.
  • Except for events on the Grand-Place, 3 parking permits are issued.

'Inner courtyard' formula

With a supplement of 250 euros (in addition to the 25 euros for the declaration of marriage and 25 euros optional for the wedding book).

  • Wedding date: this option allows you to choose the date and time of your wedding (between noon and 1:40 pm), depending on the availability of the agenda.
  • Reception: for your ceremony you will be received in the courtyard of the City Hall
  • Additional benefits:
    • Duration of the celebration: approximately 20 minutes. These extra 5 minutes will allow you to make a personal speech (by the bride and groom or a third person) and, unless access is prevented, to go to the balcony to take some photos in the presence of your witnesses, if any.
    • Unless there is an event on the Grand-Place, 5 parking permits will be issued.
      The advantages mentioned apply as much as possible and sometimes, due to an event, no parking spaces can be given.
      The payment of 250 euros is primarily for the reservation of a fixed time. If you cannot get any additional benefit, you are not entitled to a refund.

Citizens in an illegal or precarious situation

For citizens who are in an illegal or precarious situation, the service reserves the right to make enquiries at the Immigration Department, to have a police check carried out at your home or to have an interview conducted at the offices of the service.

You are free to provide evidence of your relationship.

If there is a serious suspicion that the legal requirements for the marriage have not been met, the Officer of the Civil Registry may postpone and/or refuse the marriage in accordance with Article 167 of the Civil Code.

The final step before the celebration of your marriage is the closing of your file.

Closing your file is done remotely and you will be contacted by the service about 10 days before your wedding.

You will be given all the information for your wedding day (arrival time, documents to bring, procedure). If parking spaces are available, they will also be sent to you.

Parking

As far as possible, and except in the case of events, parking spaces are provided for your wedding day (3 or 5 according to the formula you choose).

However, it is possible that access to the Grand-Place may be prevented on your wedding day because of an event taking place there.

Some events may also be visible from the balcony of the Wedding Hall (stages or other arrangements).

If you are unable to obtain parking spaces, you will not be entitled to a refund.

Rules during the celebration

Come to the City Hall with:

  • your ID cards or passports and those of any witnesses
  • the blue ticket received at the time of the declaration of marriage
  • any musical support (mobile phone, CD,...)

The celebrations take place according to a specific schedule that must be respected. Take all your precautions to arrive 15 minutes in advance. In case of delay of more than 15 minutes, the day of your wedding may be postponed.

After receiving your ID cards, those of your witnesses (if any) and your blue ticket, the Halberdier will escort you to the front of the Wedding Hall. The Alderman will then receive you for your wedding ceremony.

A marriage in the City Hall of Brussels is a civil procedure. Religious wishes will not be taken into account.

It is forbidden to throw rice, confetti or anything else that makes the public area dirty, in particular the Grand-Place and the inner courtyard of the City Hall. The tax regulation on uncivil behaviour provides for a tax of 200 euros per act.

It is forbidden to consume food or drinks at the inner courtyard of the City Hall.

During the wedding day you must also respect the peace and safety of all users of the public road and the places visited.

Language of the ceremony

Your ceremony may be held in French, Dutch or both languages.

If your level of Dutch or French is not sufficient to understand the proceedings of the ceremony (reading of texts, exchange of consent), you will need to provide a sworn interpreter for the wedding day. The service can provide you with a list of interpreters.

Personalising the ceremony

You have the opportunity to personalise your marriage in various ways:

With a personal word:

The registrar would like to personalise his or her welcome speech at your wedding ceremony.

If you wish, you can share some personal details or anecdotes so that the officer can add a personal touch to the welcome speech.

With music:

You have the possibility to choose 3 pieces. The first for your entry, the second is played during the exchange of rings (if you wish) and the third during the exit. The easiest way to do this is to offer your music on a phone, which we connect to the sound system with a jack cable. It is also possible to provide a CD. If not, soft music will be provided.

Handing over of documents and wedding book

At the end of your ceremony, you will be given the original documents, which you handed in when you made your application, in an envelope.

You may also choose to receive a marriage booklet (25 euros - to be mentioned when preparing your file). This is not obligatory. Please note: if you are a foreign national, ask your national authorities for this information. Some countries may require it.

The marriage certificate is a document issued by a civil servant. It proves the marriage between two spouses. The marriage certificate is drawn up electronically during the marriage ceremony, after the exchange of consents. This certificate is automatically registered in the Database of Civil Status Deeds (BAEC- DABS).

If you would like a paper copy of this document, please contact the Extracts Service on the Monday following your wedding:

Please note: in certain exceptional cases, your file cannot be drawn up electronically during the ceremony (e.g. in the event of a computer problem). This does not affect the validity of your marriage, a record will be made as proof of your marriage until the problem is resolved.

Once the computer problem has been solved, the Officer of the Civil Registry will sign your certificate electronically. You can then request an extract.

The City of Brussels celebrates jubilees with residence on its territory by organizing a reception in their honor on the occasion of their 50th, 60th, 65th and 70th wedding anniversary:

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