Living in Greece

A practical guide to moving, living, working & traveling in Greece, plus musing and misadventures from an American in Athens

Getting married in Greece – for visitors

Warm weather, whitewashed villas and cobalt seas all make the perfect backdrop to a wedding on a Greek island.

Romance and perfect weather aside, visitors wishing to get married on a Greek island or anywhere in Greece should know that having a legal ceremony will involve the collection of important documents, apostilles and translations (in some cases) before arrival.

For assistance in navigating legalities, it is helpful to employ a legitimate wedding planner who will do the legwork for you once you forward the necessary documents. You will pay more than the 75-100 euros normally incurred to do it yourself, but at least your pre- and post-wedding time won’t be spoiled by bureaucracy.

* Article last updated February 2, 2014

Avoiding Greek bureaucracy

Two ways to avoid doing pre-wedding bureaucracy in a foreign currency and/or language.

a) File the marriage license, sign papers and get married back home, then have the “real” or symbolic wedding in Greece — this method provides certain benefits in that it does not involve the language, laws, apostilles, translations or spending eight days in Greece, while giving you the freedom and flexibility to plan your itinerary and visit islands without the restrictions of a foreign country.
b) Acquire a marriage license without restrictions back home (i.e., It doesn’t say “only good in the state of NY”), apply an apostille, have it translated at the Greek consulate/embassy and give it to your wedding planner or priest to proceed without having to submit further documents. This is also a way around the eight-day requirement.

*Be aware that some islands now bar tourists from getting married on certain Greek islands, and there are laws that forbid weddings on archaeological sites. For example, you cannot get married at the Acropolis.

Recommendations from wedding planners

1. Reserve a date at least three (3) months in advance if between May and October
2. Forward your documents with apostilles to the wedding planner at least one (1) month before the wedding date if you wish to get a marriage license and have a legal ceremony in Greece
3. Finalize your preferences at least 30 days before arrival to insure your needs are met or alternatives are found in advance to avoid surprises

Additional advice

  • The period from late June to early September is notoriously hot, humid and busy; if crowds and heat are undesirable factors of a dream wedding, it is best to choose a date in April, May or October.
  • Take the time to investigate different wedding planners: Attention to detail on their websites is sometimes a reflection of their capability to provide attention to detail for your wedding
  • Every type of ceremony is done in Greece — big and small, civil ceremonies, religious ceremonies of many denominations, symbolic ceremonies, renewal of vows and gay weddings, with or without Greek traditions — BUT not all of them are provided by all wedding planners and gay marriage is not legal in Greece. Be sure to inquire about this and any detail that is not clearly outlined. Do not assume anything.
  • Ask to see the portfolio of the photographer, who is likely local, and have specific examples of photography style, wedding cake or flowers to communicate your wishes.

You may not need a wedding planner if you are familiar with the location of your choice, especially if you have trusted contacts or family to help you. Tour operators and hotel owners sometimes have good contacts and can assist with arrangements, if necessary

Also note that wedding cakes in Greece usually consist of one cutout bottom layer of cake, a middle layer of custard/mousse and whipped cream on top and/or the sides. Raspberry filling, fondant, tiers and other elements that are staples in your homeland are not commonly used here. For example, an American or UK style fondant wedding cake is considered a luxury item and priced accordingly. I recommend arranging consultations/tastings and reviewing portfolios to find the one that suits you and your price range, much like you would back home if you have the time and opportunity.

Having a legal ceremony

If having a legal ceremony in Greece is important to you, these are the normal requirements for the majority of EU and non-EU citizens worldwide. Your wedding planner can inform you of additional or lesser requirements specific to your country.

I have provided this information purely as a reference to assist you in your decision to handle legalities in Greece or at home. * If at least one of you is a resident of Greece of any nationality, the following does not apply to you and you must instead see “Getting married in Greece — for residents.”

You must be at least 18 years old and will need:

1. One photocopy of each passport

2. One photocopy of each witnesses’ passport, if providing two of your own

3. A printed birth certificate for each applicant, certified in the past five (5) years with an apostille (see below for details on apostilles)

4. A copy of divorce decrees (if any) certified in the past five (5) years with one apostille per document

5. A copy of death certificates of previous spouses (if any), certified in the past five (5) years with one apostille per document

6. Certified copy of a court order name change (if applicable)

7. Certified affidavit stating you are single and free to marry without impediment, signed within three (3) months of the wedding date

For Americans: a) Citizens can go to the U.S. Embassy in Athens’ Notarial Unit located in U.S. Citizen Services between 9:00-14:00, no appointment needed, with passport, $50 cash or the equivalent in euros for each Affidavit, which will be given at the window and completed in Greek on one side and English on the other. If you do not understand or write Greek, an embassy official can assist you. The Affidavit will be examined and approved while you wait; OR b) secure a “single” status letter from your State Registrar AND a notary of public statement certified that you are free to marry. (You must inquire at your local State Registrar for guidance, and I have not provided examples because they are different in each U.S. state).

For Australians: Certificate of Non-Impediment for each applicant from the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, issued within three (3) months of your wedding date.

For Brits: Non-impediment forms for each applicant certified within three (3) months of the wedding date.

For Canadians: A notary of public statement certifying that you are free to marry.

For South Africa: Certificate of marital status.

8. Your preference as to whether future children will take one name or the other or both. Laws back home will take precedent over your stated preference, but you will still be expected to answer.

9. Two witnesses who are Greek citizens and have unexpired passports/IDs proving such.

10. Must stay at least one (1) working day after the ceremony to register your marriage at the Greek Registry Office (Lixiarxeio). This means if you are married on Friday, you cannot depart for another island on Saturday and must stay until at least Monday evening. If Monday happens to be a Greek holiday, then you are obligated to stay until Tuesday evening.

It has been stated by other sources that you must be in Greece at least eight (8) days before the wedding date, but this is usually the time it takes to secure and issue a Greek marriage license. If you have your own marriage license or hired a wedding planner to secure a Greek marriage license in advance, the eight (8) days is not always necessary.

Getting an apostille

An apostille is a seal applied to a certified document to signify its legal authenticity for international use under the terms of the 1961 Hague Convention Abolishing the Requirement of Legalization for Foreign Public Documents.

For more specific information, please see “How to get an apostille.”


Translations are required for birth certificates, divorce decrees and death certificates but not passports, and your wedding planner may or may not offer this as part of their services. All nationalities have two options, according to Greek law.

For more specific information, see “Official translation of documents into Greek.”

Marriage Certificates

All original documents and apostilles will be permanently on file at the Greek Registrar’s Office, and therefore not returned to you.

Request certified copies of your marriage certificate if you are not provided with sufficient copies for your needs back home and personal files.


Weddings take place in a church, city hall, mayor’s office or a pre-approved location of choice, not a registrar’s office, archaeological site or foreign embassy/consulate.

According to Orthodox Christian religious law as written, only two people of the same faith are allowed to marry in an Orthodox church and must provide baptism certificates as proof or must state an intent to convert and take a spiritual mentor. This is the straight way.

However, priests all over Greece make exceptions for people of different faiths, and leniency in the USA and other countries has also been shown. This technically violates religious law, but it is done to accommodate the changing times.

You need to select a location or church and inquire directly with the priest or person in charge. Be prepared to conduct all communication in Greek, as most will not speak English or another language.

Final Notes

* Choosing a location and hiring a wedding planner is a unique and personal choice. Therefore, I am unable to make recommendations.

Related posts

If you think this process is lengthy, get a taste of the bureaucracy faced by residents of Greece when getting married by reading “Getting married in Greece — for residents.” It might make you feel better. ;)


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  melusina wrote @ May 19th, 2007 at 00:37

Not to mention the headache involved in registering an American marriage in Greece (which we wanted to do right away so I could get health insurance through my husband), and THEN on top of that gathering everything required for a Greek wedding. Ugh. I’m glad that nightmare is OVER.

Kat Reply:

Mel – We’re doing the opposite as you. We’ll be married here and register the marriage in America, just because we thought it might be such a pain to do the reverse. From your comment, it seems we made the right choice.

  yiannos wrote @ May 25th, 2007 at 17:27

i’ve heard mostly bad things about this. if i ever get married–which i doubt–it won’t be in Greece!(although it would be lovely)

Kat Reply:

Yiannos – For visitors, it’s not so bad. For residents, it’s a bit of a pain, but after 10 years of handling bureaucracy on my own, I suppose I’m numb to whether it’s good or bad. I just do it.

  Used vans girl wrote @ July 5th, 2007 at 18:18

You say you need to stay one day after the wedding but do you need to be in the country for a week or so before being allowed to get married in Greece?

Kat Reply:

That’s a great question.

Officially, I’ve been told that you do need to be here 1 week before the date of your wedding, which is the time it takes to secure a marriage license (as it says in the post). However, if you have your own or your wedding planner files for it in advance of your arrival or makes arrangements otherwise, this may not be absolutely necessary. I recommend inquiring since each wedding planner and municipality has their own rules and services.

Thanks for your comment!

  Fotini wrote @ July 10th, 2007 at 18:21

I am in the middle of this process and it is not fun at all. I have a question for you, i am from the states, marrying a catholic man, in greece, in a greek orthodox church. We were asked to get a notarized “letter of faith” that we will raise our children orthodox… in the notes from the planer she said just to ask a local notary, but i can’t imagine a notary in NY would have this on hand… Would you know wher to find a sample of this?

Kat Reply:

Hi Fotini, sorry it’s not going smoothly, but at least you’re not residents of Greece since that process is much, much harder.

To get married in a Greek Orthodox church, both people must be Greek Orthodox or he/she must agree to convert. The person that agrees to convert is assigned a spiritual mentor and needs to complete a series of readings after the wedding.

You’re right, the planner is wrong. The notary would definitely not have this. It’s a religious document that you need to get from the Greek Orthodox church, diocese or archdiocese. If I’m not mistaken, you and your husband need to go to a priest and/or a religious counselor. They should be able to advise how to qualify and have this letter issued.

I’ve heard of people getting around this with bribes or connections, but this is not the proper way to go about following religious law.

All the best :)

  Matt wrote @ March 3rd, 2008 at 22:29

Actually, a Roman Catholic can marry someone of the Greek Orthodox faith in a Greek Orthodox church. The marriage will be recognized by both the Roman Catholic church as well as the Greek Orthodox church. However, if said couple was to marry in a Roman Catholic church, the Greek Orthodox church would not recognize the marriage. I am Catholic and my fiance is Greek Orthodox and we are getting married in an Orthodox church in Athens this June. We have already met with the priest as well as consulting a Jesuit Theologian friend who also specializes in Catholic-Orthodox relations.

Kat Reply:

It’s good to know it worked for you. Thank you for sharing your experience.

Note that I write articles based on straight information. My sources are two bishops at the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese and its registry office; and I know dozens of people who did it the straight way and either could not marry in a church and/or had to convert. Priests are known to make up their own rules and, as I’ve said many times, Greece is a ‘results may vary’ country where exceptions are the rule. If people get around the straight way and it works for them, that’s great.

Many congratulations!

  Ms. May wrote @ May 29th, 2008 at 12:02

You website is very helpful, i have been reading it alot, but i have been trying hard for someone to answer me this question… I have been with a greek for 2 years, we want to get married but unfortunately Greece will not reconize our marriage, we were wondering if we marry in Germany and come back to live here in Greece, would i be able to have an EU citizenship through marriage?
Thank you for your time~

Kat Reply:

1) You cannot get married again if you are already married no matter where you try to do it unless you lie about being ‘single’ (which you are not), which is perjury. You will be caught.
2) If Greece will not recognize your marriage now, they obviously have good reason to not do so. Therefore, trying to do it again is pointless.
3) You could have found your answer to citizenship very easily by doing a search, as it’s already on this site in 3 articles. Further redundant questions will be deleted.
Citizenship by naturalization
How non-EU citizens can move, live, work in Greece
How to get EU citizenship

  pdsmummy wrote @ June 12th, 2008 at 15:35

Hi – I’m an Aussie in Greece and love your website – however whilst you write about many things which of course are fab – I have noticed that there is one thing missing – DIVORCING A GREEK. I was married for 5 years – he then wanted a divorce and now both my son (aged 6) and myself are stuck in Greece and cannot go anywhere as he is refusing to sign my son’s Aussie Passport. There are many women like me (ex-pats) in similar positions – without family here – but are subjected to remain in Greece for the sake of our children while at the same time trying to fight for their rights. Just though I would let you know. Thanks pdsmummy.

Kat Reply:

PD’s mom – That’s true. There are only few comments on divorce because I do not have any first-hand knowledge on the subject; I like to present articles that have an even balance of both official documentation and experience.

I have one friend who is divorced, and it went smoothly because her ex was at fault and had nothing to contest — they are also both Greek and live in Greece. I also know a mixed American-Greek couple that divorced, and she was at fault so that also went smoothly; he stays here purely for his daughter (they share custody), even though he hates it here. Should I collect information and experiences from at least 3 people on divorce in Greece (preferably mixed couples such as yourself with the issues you describe), I am more than willing to research and present that information.

I’m very sorry to hear about your situation. It’s a shame, and I understand completely when you talk about fighting for your rights.

  Vasiliki wrote @ June 20th, 2008 at 01:17

This is such a helpful website! I LOVE it!

Back in 2005, my then fiancé and I had contemplated getting married in Greece. We decided a destination wedding in Greece would be too cost prohibitive for us, so we opted for a rather small wedding in Colorado. Now we are expecting a baby in September and I can’t even begin to understand this part of the Greek culture (and I AM Greek): people asking me to baptize my baby. My cousin told (yes, she TOLD me) that she will be baptizing my baby if it ends up being a girl (yes, I am having a baby girl). She isn’t the only one. I have random Greek people I barely know tell me that they want to baptize the baby. I thought the honor of choosing Godparents was reserved for the parents of the child! Anyhow…let’s say I DO, in fact, decide to shell out my life savings to buy plane tickets to Greece, do you have any information on what I need to do to have a baptism in Greece? THANK YOU!

Kat Reply:

V — I don’t have any info on baptisms in GR at this time. Most of my friends did it long ago and don’t remember any details, my fiance is not a practicing Orthodox Christian and all of his cousins are younger than him without children. I’m sure someone out there has written an article. There are some great women at if you go to the category, “Greece.” No doubt many of them will know.

  Lisa wrote @ August 1st, 2008 at 11:21

Getting married in Greece can be a tad tiresome. To date, we’ve had 2 appointments at the local municpaitly offices, cancelled ! We called , confirmed the dates, were told to show up at a certain time , and yet both times, a few days before the service was to take place, they called and cancelled. The mayor “was busy”. Frankly, I think they are looking for a bribe. We have booked one more appointment and I told them it had better not be cancelled. I cannot belive they can just decide they are too busy to marry you? Unbelievable.

Kat Reply:

L – Hello! Although I’m sure you’re not happy about the inconvenience, I’m glad you shared that with me and readers because it’s something I haven’t heard before. Most everyone I know who had a civil ceremony in Greece had to be there 5 minutes early to the appointment, and it was in and out in a flash.

What happened to you is especially bad if you have relatives and friends from out of town attending your wedding in Greece!

  ILM wrote @ April 19th, 2009 at 20:34

My boyfriend is greek orthodox who lives in Greece right now, I was baptized in Methodist Church in America, I live in Puerto Rico (Caribbean) right now. We begin to do our research last week and still have many doubts, can we get married in Greece – Greek Orthodox church and if there are any requirements we need to do in order to be able to do it? Can we get legally married in America and then the religious wedding in Greece through Greek orthodox religion? Will Greece religion recognize our legal marriage and will they allow me as a methodist baptized christian to get married in greek orthodox church?
Thank you for any information you can give.

Kat Reply:

Hello, and thank you for your question. Strict Orthodox Christian rules say that an Orthodox Christian can only marry another. However, the Archdiocese has relaxed these rules, and the rules in Greece can sometimes be ignored altogether at the right price (bribe). For sure you can be married in a civil ceremony in America, but my advice for the religious ceremony in Greece is to consult directly with your Greek boyfriend’s priest or religious adviser, as I don’t know the rules between Methodist-Orthodoxy and they are very knowledgeable on these matters.

  Sophie wrote @ May 5th, 2009 at 18:24

Hi! Can anyone answer my question – Where do I stand legally if I got married in Greece but never “finalized” it at home in england??

I got married in Corfu last September. We are both UK citizens. We did all the paperwork/translations/apostille HOWEVER our ceremony took place on a friday and we flew home on the Sunday. We realised we should have stayed til the Monday in order to return to the town hall and collect the paperwork….but we didnt. Now I am in this “half-married” limbo.

Apparently all we need to do is get a lawyer to give power of attorney to our wedding planner to collect the documents. Or I suppose travel to corfu ourselves to do it……….. but to be honest it was such a palava planning the wedding that we cant seem find the energy to sort out this last thing. Could we just leave it as it is in Corfu and marry in england? As far as the UK is concerned we are both still single I guess….?

Kat Reply:

Hi Sophie, thanks for your question. Since you never filed your marriage certificate, you are not officially registered as being married in Greece or anywhere. Therefore, you can leave it ‘as is’ and marry again in the UK. It’s more a matter of conscience than legalities when you sign papers that attest to your single status.

The palava you mention is the reason I often recommend non-Greek couples do the official ceremony in one’s homeland, even if it’s only a civil one; then go ahead with the fun, romantic, picturesque ceremony in Greece. That said, there are many wedding planners who do it right, and it’s a matter of finding the right one to avoid the half-married limbo.

  julien wrote @ May 29th, 2009 at 16:55

Hi there,
I got married last year in Greece. I was baptisted a catholic and my wife is a greek orthodox. The fact that I was a catholic was no problem but I had to sign paperwork stating that I would baptise and raise my children in the greek orthodox church. Had I not signed that stuff, the pope would not have performed the wedding ceremony. As you said Kat, there’s apparently a large amount of discretion there; it is the priest’s call. Just like the payment to the priest for the ceremony. Officially you give what you want. But in fact, the priest fixes the price, and it may be pretty high if you wish to get married in a nice place. In my view this is just another example of the corruption at play in the greek church… Anyway.

Another thing I’d like to add to the discussion: at first we thought we’d get a civil wedding, with a party afterward with family an friends. The thing with civil weddings is that they generally take place at the least convenient of times. When my wife and I were considering it, Athens city council was celebrating weddings only on Wednesdays between 7pm and 11pm, and there would be like 10 weddings in a row in that period of time. Also they could not guarantee that this would take place on that day of the week: maybe they would change it later on, say, for monday morning. In other words: no possibility to plan anything. I think it’s a shame: some people might wish to have a civil wedding and a party afterward with all their family and friends. Although civil weddings have been legal since 1981/82 (not sure anymore of the exact date), it’s still considered a mere administrative thing. That’s unfair and backward.

Thanks for giving the opportunity to discuss this. I love the blog.

julien, London

Kat Reply:

Hi Julien, thank you for taking the time to write out your story and share your experience. It’s always nice when people give back and/or contribute to the website.

It’s true what you say about some municipalities in Greece rescheduling civil ceremonies; summer is even trickier when (ironically) Greeks leave for vacation and tourists arrive here to get married. However, some dates and times are solid, allowing people to organize and schedule their lives accordingly — but that’s the thing about Greece, “results may vary.” Because civil ceremonies last only a few minutes and the city hall/mayor’s office space is so small, I never recommend anyone taking more than 9 immediate family/friends with them and a photographer. Inviting everyone should be reserved for the real party. :)

  Jenny wrote @ May 31st, 2009 at 01:27

There was an comment written by pdsmummy about divorce in greece. My sister is going through the exact same thing. Can you please give me her email address or give her mine. I really would love to speak to her. Its important we support eachother.

  Sophie wrote @ June 2nd, 2009 at 18:07

Thanks for your answer Kat! I was worried about committing bigamy or some such crime by marrying again in england, albeit to the same man!

PS – Commenting on Julien’s post. We also had an inconvenient ceremony time. They said it had to take place by 1pm at the latest. This meant we had to feed and water our 75 guests both lunch and dinner and the whole thing was a fair bit more expensive than we planned ………….. but we were just glad that the ceremony was actually taking place since our wedding planner said that everyone in the mayor’s office was on strike and her husband pulled strings for us… whatever that means!

  Ivan wrote @ September 26th, 2009 at 18:51

Is it me or did my question get deleted? :(

Kat Reply:

Ivan, actually you had six questions. All comments enter moderation, and the post you’re trying to access is password protected for a reason. Please read “Comments, Questions and Contacting Me,” linked in the sidebar.

Hundreds of people a day seek my help, and I run the website in my (unpaid) free time, which means I’m not always checking it and can’t help everyone because the majority of people take without contributing or giving back. I have a full-time job, family, friends worldwide, life and my own challenges to solve also. People seem to forget that.

  Jeanne wrote @ January 19th, 2010 at 04:00

Hello, You link here to an article titled getting married in Greece for residents, but it’s password protected. I’m an author trying to find out some very basic information about the process for a Greek marrying a non-Greek/non-EU (US) citizen. I don’t need tons of legal details, but I do need an overview and it looks like your blog entry would be just the thing. Would you be willing to give me the password so that I could read it? Thank you for your time.

Kat Reply:

I do not grant access to password-protected posts for reasons stated in “Comments, Questions and Contacting Me.” As an author myself, I do my own research and independently verify all information for reasons of integrity and journalistic ethics.

  Trish wrote @ March 22nd, 2010 at 01:41

We are planning to get married on Corfu in July 2011 and would very much like to have our civil ceremony take place at a Villa in Perithia, some web sites say that you can get married anywhere in Corfu if you gat the permission of the local mayor, is this correct? If it is not possible to have the wedding at the villa could you give us a list of Venues where we can get married.

Kat Reply:

At this time, it is true that you can get married almost anywhere if you have permission from the mayor. Archaeological sites are off limits for obvious reasons, and an Orthodox church should be reserved for only those who abide by religious law (though I’ve seen people get around this). There’s no problem with a villa in Perithia. Thank you for your question and for visiting.

  Dean wrote @ May 5th, 2010 at 05:04

Thank you for the information that you have available. I am an American citizen and marrying a Greek citizen in Greece. However, she is a resident of the US on a H1B Visa. Above, you state, “If at least one of you is a resident of Greece of any nationality, the following does not apply to you and you must instead see “Getting married in Greece — for residents.”

Should I continue to pursue the above advice relating to visitors in order to have a legal marriage in Greece? We have a date and a church and the priest has agreed to marry us if I agree to consent to any of our children being raised as Greek Orthodox. (I am not Greek Orthodox, but baptized Christian, she is Greek Orthodox).

Thanks again, any advice you have would be great.

Kat Reply:

Everything you told me didn’t help me determine an answer to your question.

As I said, if one of you is “a resident of Greece.” Is either of you a resident of Greece (aka, living here at least 6 months a year)? I didn’t say anything about citizenship or religion or visa status. To me it sounds like you’re both U.S. residents, so you’d follow the advice given above for visitors.

  Tracy wrote @ June 17th, 2010 at 19:40

my partner and i are thinking of getting married on spinalonga island in june 2011. we wish to do this at the archway on spinalonga and not in the church do you know if this is possible and how we go about finding out?

tracy and andrew

Kat Reply:

Hi Tracy,

As you may know from your research, Spinalonga is an uninhabited fortress island and archaeological site. Therefore, whether you can marry in the arch will depend on permission from local authorities. This is not my area of expertise. I recommend contacting Elizabeth at because she’s a UK citizen, long-time resident of Crete who speaks Greek and wedding planner with a decade of experience. All best.

  Amy wrote @ August 27th, 2010 at 17:13

Hi and I have learned so much from reading your site and answers to all the questions. I have researched wedding planners for Greek island weddings and have found what looks like a good one — ________. I wondered if you had heard of them and if they were recommended? I saw that you had mentioned a Crete wedding planner (we are both from the UK) Thank you :)

Kat Reply:

In my comment to ‘Tracy’ above, I only referred her to Elizabeth to find out if a wedding on Spinalonga was possible because I didn’t know the answer.

Choosing a wedding planner is a highly personal decision, which is why I do not endorse or make recommendations, and there are no paid advertisements or links on this website. We could both use the same wedding planner in Greece, and I could love them and you could hate them. So it’s best to interview a few and then choose one.

  Pat wrote @ October 30th, 2010 at 05:03

Hi, I love your site and have learned so much. I’m hoping you can help me confirm what paperwork is required by 2 canadians wanting to get married in Crete. If we had a city hall wedding in Canada …what do we need to take with us to Greece to get married in church?

Thank you

Kat Reply:

Hi Pat,

There was a small delay in answering because I needed to do some research and consult an expert.

You cannot legally get married again in Greece. Why? To qualify for a marriage license in Greece, you must get a certificate of non-impediment that verifies you are not married, and you were already married in Canada.

However, if at least one of you is Orthodox and you wish to have a ceremony in an Orthodox church, each of you must provide a paper from the Orthodox church (or other denomination) in Canada certifying that you have not been married in a church before, plus a certified copy of your civil marriage certificate translated to Greek (see “Official translations to Greek” if you need help). This would make you eligible for an official Orthodox church ceremony in Greece.

If neither of you is Orthodox, then an official Orthodox church ceremony would only be possible if one of you agrees to convert. (It’s true that people find their way around rules with connections, bribes or negotiating with the priest, but I don’t advocate this.) A Protestant blessing is possible without papers.

Thank you for your question. It helped me learn something new.

Note: Some information in this comment was provided by Elizabeth, whom I consulted because she has lived and worked on Crete for 25 years and arranges weddings for a living.

  Olga wrote @ November 6th, 2010 at 11:57

Hi there,

As always your website is extremely helpful. I am in a similar position as Pat. I am an Greek Aussie (I lived in Greece for a year and have my Greek citizenship). My fiance and I are now living in Australia, and he has a partner-to-be visa. We need to get married legally by May. Hence we are contemplating to have a civil ceremony in Oz. However we both have family in Greece and would love to have our Greek Orthodox Wedding in Greece.

I read on a Greek wedding site that “Αν σκοπεύετε να τελέσετε και πολιτικό και θρησκευτικό γάμο, πρέπει να το δηλώσετε μέσα σε 40 ημέρες από την τέλεση του κάθε μυστηρίου στο Ληξιαρχείο της περιοχής σας.”… would that only apply to those Greek residents living locally?

Any help would be highly appreciated.

Thanks… and all the best!

Kat Reply:

Hi Olga, I remember the “Greek citizenship via ancestry” article helped you.

The 40 days applies to all couples who legally get married in Greece, not just people who live in Greece, which is why tip #9 above advises people they must stay at least one working day past the date of their wedding to register their marriage. This wouldn’t apply to you because you’ll be legally married in Australia. So in your case:
a) To have an official Orthodox church ceremony in Greece: Same documents I told Pat.
b) You can register your Australian marriage with the Greek consulate/embassy nearest you, so it will be recorded in your future husband’s oikogeneiaki merida in Greece.

All best.

  Davin wrote @ January 17th, 2011 at 09:17

Hi, your website is of great help, thanks.
One question i have is that I’m looking at getting married on th beach in Corfu or if you could recommend an other Greek Island. I’m Methodist and my wife to be is Roman Catholic, Is this possible?

Kat Reply:

Hi Davin,

Being married on the beach is permitted in a Methodist or Roman Catholic ceremony, so all you need to do is find someone who can perform the service.

I have no first-hand experience with this, so I cannot recommend or endorse anyone specific. But I’m sure you’ll be able to find someone by searching and screening your options. All the best for happy life together!

  Nikki wrote @ February 8th, 2011 at 02:12

This is urgent because I am leaving in 10 days for greece, with 75 days left to stay there, once I arrive Feb, 17, 2011. (was there for 2 weeks 4 months ago)

I am an American citizen, living in Minnesota, moving to Greece to marry a Greek citizen there.

At the Town Hall of my fiance’s municipality he was told that the law is that I should bring a Marriage License from the States. They told him that both he and I would have to present our personal Marriage Licenses, and his they can issue there.

When I asked at my state Marriage License Office, for a Marriage License, they said they cannot, unless both the groom and bride are present and are married in MN.

Or, they have also suggested bringing a ‘Certificate of Non- Impediment’, which I am also unable to obtain. The only thing my state can provide is a ‘Certificate of Record Not Found’, which is a document provided by the office of vital records after a search of that county to see if there is record for marriage in that county alone. MN does not have a central record of marriages in the state. I have obtained that already from Scott County.

My problem is that this does not seem to satisfy their requirements, and my fiancee has been to the town hall twice now in Athens explaining that I am unable to obtain the documents they require, and they insist they need these.

I have contacted the Greek Consulate here, the American Embassy in Athens, the MN marriage license office, the office of vital records in MN, the secretary of state office in MN, and the law library here in MN as well. Nobody seems to be able to get me the records or documents required by Greece, or assure me that the one document I can get (‘No record found of a marriage’ that only searches one county) will be sufficient.

I know that the American Embassy in Greece states that they can issue a ‘Certificate of no Impediment’, but I am worried that my one document (Certificate of Record Not Found- that really only searches one county) will not be sufficient for them.

I would appreciate any information you might have that could help.
thank you,

Kat Reply:

Time is a factor with your question, and it’s late so I’ll be direct with my response.

Without hearing the conversation between your fiance and the municipality, I cannot determine whether he asked the wrong questions or asked the right questions and got the wrong answers. Not a criticism, I just don’t understand why he’s being misled.

First, as I say in the article above, the only case a marriage license is issued outside Greece but used in Greece is when the two people getting married are not residents of Greece. As your fiance is now living in Greece and you will also (soon) be living in Greece, a marriage license issued in the USA is pointless.

Second, you get a Certificate of Non-Impediment at the U.S. Embassy in Athens or the U.S. Consulate in Thessaloniki. For hours of operation and cost, see #4 of “Marriage in Greece.” If you contacted the American Embassy in Athens, I’m shocked they didn’t tell you this since they’re very competent and handle cases like yours every day.

Third, you need to get a marriage license here in Greece, same as your fiance.

Fourth, the only document(s) you need from the USA is a certified birth certificate (and divorce decree, if any) with apostille(s) applied. If you were born in Minnesota, go in person and get it in a few hours, then get an apostille as explained in “How to get an apostille.” If you were born elsewhere in the USA, I wish you luck because it takes 10-15 working days to have a birth certificate mailed/received, then another week or more to send off/receive the apostille applied at a different office even with expedited service. I realize you’re leaving in 10 days, but you only contacted me yesterday. The only way you can skirt this process is: a) have an immediate family member (parent, sibling) go in person to get the birth certificate and apostille for you, if they live in the city of your birthplace, then express mail it to you; or b) you already have a certified birth certificate with apostille in your possession issued within the last 5 years from the date of prospective marriage.

All translations, fees and other documents can be done in Greece. I detail the entire process in “Getting married in Greece – for residents,” but I had to password protect it due to plagiarism and abusive comments. Since you have a fiance here who speaks the language, you’ll be fine as long as you hit the ground running and start bureaucracy right away because you must be married and apply for your residence permit before the remaining 75 days of your Schengen visa runs out.

You’ll hear nightmare stories about people taking months to sort things out. But I personally witnessed a Greek-American couple who got all their papers together, translations done, marriage licenses issued, married at town hall and residence permit application submitted in three weeks flat from start to finish, without prior knowledge of the process, outside help or paying for expedited services.

One further tip: When you arrive in the Schengen zone, whether it’s Athens or elsewhere, make sure to have your passport stamped. If no one is in the booth, seek out an office that will do it for you.

OK, it’s almost 2:00 a.m., and I need to get up for work in a few hours. Please consider giving back and/or recommending the website to a friend in exchange for the personal assistance I provided. All best, and congratulations.

  Eve wrote @ May 12th, 2011 at 05:53

I am an Australian born to greek parents and am marrying a greek boy. I was married in registry office in australia for my partner to be granted a visa, and we would like to marry in Greece (church wedding). What documents do I require? If I need Certificate of Impediment how can i obtain if married in registry office?

Kat Reply:

You did not provide enough information for me to help you. However, commentator ‘Olga’ is Australian-Greek and asked the same question, as did ‘Pat’ above her.

Assuming you and your husband are Greek Orthodox, read the answers I gave and follow the same advice for having a church ceremony.

Note to all: Please do a key word search using your browser or skim answers before asking your question, or I will close the option to post future comments.

  Lilit wrote @ June 4th, 2011 at 19:02

Hello can you help me, and answer in my questions? We want to have our honeymoon in Crete and here in our country we will go in registry office and get married , but in Crete we want to go to church , and want that priest give us his blessing , is it possible ? We will be there only 7-10 days, please help me.

Kat Reply:

You didn’t provide enough information for me to help you. I recommend contacting Elizabeth at She has more than a decade of experience as a wedding planner on Crete and can answer your questions.

  Paul wrote @ October 6th, 2011 at 05:52

Dear Kat,
Thank you for the website and all the information. It helps me greatly on regular basis!

I need advice with regards to getting married in Greece to a Greek resident (citizen). I have dual citizenship (Greek/Russian), and am currently living in Greece. My fiancée is a Russian citizen, living in Greece with a Residence Certificate (Βεβαίωση), which she obtained as a student after we moved to Greece two years ago.

We are planning on registering our marriage in Greece (civil ceremony only – no church), and are currently trying to figure out what documents are required, and which procedures we need to follow. The information I was able to gather from different sources so far is “sketchy”, outdated, and even contradictory at times.

My fiancée has completed her degree in June, and went to Russia in August to renew her passport and gather the documents required for a marriage in Greece. Now come the questions.

1) Before returning to Greece she will inquire at the Greek embassy whether her Residence Certificate is still valid for entry. If it is (considering that after we get married she will be applying for a residence permit), is it better to enter the country with it, or to enter with a new Schengen Visa? If Visa is the way to go, would a simple tourist visa be appropriate?

2) In order to get married here, are there any documents she needs to prepare before coming to Greece (excluding translated birth certificate with an apostille, and a certificate from Russia proving that she is not married)?

3) Once my fiancée enters the country, what do we need to do in terms of procedures?

4) I have read somewhere that an announcement in a newspaper is required to be made a month prior to the marriage registration, and a copy of the newspaper needs to be presented. Is this valid information? Any other “unusual” requirements we should be aware of?

5) Would it be possible for my wife-to-be to take my surname?

6) After the civil ceremony itself, what are the procedures?

I am sorry for the amount of questions and some incoherency. I appreciate how busy you are and that this is an unpaid free-time project, but I am desperate for good advice and other sources have not been useful. I have tried going to my dimos for the information, but got no help there (which should not have come as a surprise), as one dimos rep told me that marrying a Russian is impossible for a Greek citizen and would not be recognized by the state, the other, that my fiancée needs to take Greek lessons and pass a state language exam before marrying me (a Greek), and the third rep told me that I should go to Russia to get married and then legalize it in Greece (the only legally plausible solution offered, although not appropriate to our particular situation). My Greek is mediocre at best (work in a British company and very frequent travel make it hard to learn at a quicker pace), so the official sites are not very useful either :(

Please advise me at your best convenience. Thank you in advance.

P.S. Is it at all possible to gain access to “Getting married in Greece — for residents”? I am sure I can find many answers there, and would not steal any of your time in the process. I understand if it is not an option.

  Sue wrote @ April 10th, 2012 at 09:40

I have a question if you can answer please.
I am an American Citizen which got married to a Greek Citizen in the mid 80′s. Our marriage took place in the States in a Luthern Church. We then came to Greece and registered our marriage in AThens, although they registered the marriage as a Political Marriage not a religious marriage. My question is: Is this a legal marriage? I really appreciate your help . you can email me the answer if that is possible. Thank you, Sue

Kat Reply:

Your marriage is legal as long as the original marriage in the USA is legal. It is still legal as long as you didn’t divorce somewhere in the world.

Registering your marriage in Greece does not invalidate or give more legality to an existing marriage. All it does is establish a record in a Greek citizen’s oikogeneiaki merida and tell Greek authorities that you were married somewhere. It’s not recorded as a ‘religious’ marriage because it was not Greek Orthodox. It has nothing to do with legality.

I do not offer email consultation for reasons given in “Comments, Questions and Contacting Me.”

  Maria wrote @ April 26th, 2012 at 01:59


My daughter wants to have a civil wedding in Crete. They are both US citizens only. I live in Thessaloniki. My mayor there told me that all they needed was a marriage license from their state of residence. My daughter contacted the Greek embassy in LA and was told she needed birth certs, single status, apostiles, translations, certificatied by Greek Emb here-no marriage license from here needed. No mention of 8 day wait. I called the embassy and was told each dimos does their own. Here I am reading other options. My daughter wants to get married on a beach in Crete. She does not want to register it in the U.S. In this case, do you know what is necessary?

Kat Reply:

I know very well what’s needed, but I can’t advise you/her for three reasons:

a) You didn’t provide enough information. Namely, what is the current marital status of your daughter and why she doesn’t want to register the marriage in the U.S.
b) The information you did provide is conflicting, which may be the reason you’re getting varied information. Namely, civil weddings are performed in a mayor’s office or city hall, but then you say your daughter wants it done on a beach.
c) Crete has restrictions on certain weddings/locations and permission must be secured in advance, which is why a wedding planner is necessary unless the bride/groom or someone else is prepared to tackle bureaucracy related to it.

— If you live in Thessaloniki, there is no Greek embassy here. All diplomatic missions are outside Greece, so I assume ‘here’ means you’re writing me from the USA. You need to state where you are or don’t tell me you live in Thessaloniki, so I understand where ‘here’ is.
— A marriage license must be issued either in her state of permanent residence and brought to Greece which is what your mayor said (easy) OR issued in Greece which is what the LA embassy said (difficult and lengthy; requires lots of documents, translations, apostilles in USA, then more documents and fees paid in Greece after which it takes approx. week/8 days to process). I say the exact same thing in my article. There’s no way to avoid getting a license.
— Each dimos in GR does their own licenses and marriages, but all follow the same laws. There should be little to no deviation.

  Astrid wrote @ July 10th, 2012 at 01:25

Comment 1:
I’m so happy to stumble upon your website! I’ve been leaving all the legal documents and organisation to my fiance, but want to make sure that we are not missing something big here after reading through your advice and readers comments/questions.

I need your advice on something and will try to be clear with my situation. I am getting married later this month in Corfu, Greece.

I’m German/Spanish (German passport, born in Spain), but I have my current residence in the UK. My fiance is Greek-American and resides in the US.

I have been coming to the US as much as possible and am pretty much based here now, though my residency and job is still held in the UK. After marrying we plan to continue with my base in the US since my fiance can’t leave his job here, but thankfully my job is flexible enough to allow me to go back and forth as needed and work from the US. We still are not sure of where we wish to reside long term.

What we are sure of though is that we will want to legalise the Greek marriage in the US so that we can proceed with my getting a US Citizenship or some type of legal residence so I don’t need to continue coming here as a tourist or work visa.

We have all of the paperwork we need in Greece along with the marriage license and will be getting married in an Orthodox Church as we are both Orthodox.

So, finally the question – what will be the process to get that marriage recognised in the US and then step 2 for us to file papers for my residency? Is there something (a document other than the signed marriage certificate) that we need to be sure to get in Greece to present here in the US?

Thanks so much for your help!!
Kind Regards,

Comment 2:
2012/07/11 at 20:32
I’m so happy to stumble upon your website! I’ve been leaving all the legal documents and organisation to my fiance, but want to make sure that we are not missing something big here after reading through your advice and readers comments/questions.

I need your advice on something and will try to be clear with my situation. I am getting married later this month in Corfu, Greece.

I’m German/Spanish (German passport, born in Spain), but I have my current residence in the UK. My fiance is Greek-American and resides in the US.

I have been coming to the US as much as possible and am pretty much based here now, though my residency and job is still held in the UK. After marrying we plan to continue with my base in the US since my fiance can’t leave his job here, but thankfully my job is flexible enough to allow me to go back and forth as needed and work from the US. We still are not sure of where we wish to reside long term.

What we are sure of though is that we will want to legalise the Greek marriage in the US so that we can proceed with my getting a US Citizenship or some type of legal residence so I don’t need to continue coming here as a tourist or work visa.

We have all of the paperwork we need in Greece along with the marriage license and will be getting married in an Orthodox Church as we are both Orthodox.

So, finally the question – what will be the process to get that marriage recognised in the US and then step 2 for us to file papers for my residency? Is there something (a document other than the signed marriage certificate) that we need to be sure to get in Greece to present here in the US?

Thanks so much for your help!!
Kind Regards,

Kat Reply:

Answer 2:
Identical comments have been received in less than 48 hours. If a question only takes a minute to answer, I’ll do it right away. Your questions don’t fall in that category — it will take at least 30 minutes to an hour to research and write a response.

As stated on the front page, I work full time as a journalist and only run this website, update its 300+ articles, curate the Twitter news feed and answer questions in my unpaid spare time.

Answer 1:
For the record, your questions have nothing to do with Greece or Greek laws, but rather U.S. laws and immigration. What I know comes from my own research — not this website or the post above — and I’m responding as a courtesy.

Your fiance could have started the process of bringing you to the U.S. many months ago, plus it takes time to gather the right papers and for the visa to be issued. See, “Fiancee visas.” Too late now.

In order to immigrate to the U.S. as a spouse, your fiance/husband needs to meet a number of requirements and formally file a petition before an immigrant visa is issued. This is typically done in cooperation with the U.S. embassy/consulate in whatever country is your current residence. See, “Bringing your spouse to live in the United States.” While waiting for the immigrant visa, he can file a petition to issue a non-immigrant visa to bring you over. See “K-3/K-4 Nonimmigrant visas.” You cannot move to the U.S. just because you’re married. You must be outside the U.S. when these visas are issued, then use them to formally enter the U.S.

In order to get U.S. citizenship, you need to live there for several years, go through naturalization and pass several tests. Same as naturalization in Germany. You can read all the requirements at: “Naturalization for spouses of U.S. citizens.”

How your marriage in Greece is recognized depends on U.S. laws, not Greece. A legal marriage performed and registered in Greece (Step #9 in ‘Having a legal ceremony’) is seen as a legal marriage in the U.S. There isn’t a separate “legalization” or “recognition” process for the U.S. because something that is already recognized and legal doesn’t need to be recognized or legalized.

After your marriage is registered, you are given Greek marriage certificates stamped by authorities. Should you need to show a Greek marriage certificate to anyone outside Greece — U.S./German/Spanish/UK authorities — simply take the Greek marriage certificate and get an apostille to certify its authenticity. See, “How to get an apostille” (section ‘Greece’). Then have the marriage certificate and apostille translated into whatever language is needed, according to the requirements of that country.

To answer any future questions, I recommend using the ample resources made available by the U.S. government and well-informed U.S. embassies and consulates.

Bonus info unrelated to your questions: As a Greek citizen, your fiance/husband is obliged to report a marriage or any change in status to his oikogeneiaki merida. He’ll know what I mean.

  Lawrie wrote @ July 26th, 2012 at 22:06

Hello – I would be very grateful for some impartial advice!

I’ve been speaking to 2 wedding planners about the prospect of marrying in a private villa in crete next year. I’ve heard 2 conflicting versions, could you tell me which is correct?

“A Greek civil ceremony must be in a place owned by the local municipality. Some municipalities have their own building for civil weddings; […] There are charges by the Municipalities for marriages which take place anywhere other than the Town Halls. […]. If however you have a specific location in mind such as your villa, hotel or a beach in an area where the municipality does not perform weddings outside of the town hall then we arrange for the official ceremony to take place at lunchtime on your wedding day at the Town Hall.”

Planner #2:
The ceremony at the villa would be with the Deputy Mayor. He signs a document to say that he’s witnessed your marriage at the villa – this paper is then submitted to the town hall clerk who writes everything into the register. The official register is then signed in the town hall with the registrar. The official register is not allowed out of the town hall building.

Kat Reply:

I want to be clear that the information I’m giving you concerns having a legal wedding — not a symbolic ceremony — and is sourced from first-hand experience of people I know who got married in Greece, with input from a UK wedding planner on Crete (, who is a bilingual 20-year resident with more than 10 years experience.

The two versions you were given are possible, but the planners are leaving out a few details.

Planner 1:
True — Official civil ceremonies do take place in the local municipality, usually at a town hall or mayor’s office. Only there.
Half true — If you plan to have a civil ceremony at a villa, hotel or beach, you need to have a separate official ceremony at the town hall or mayor’s office at some point during your stay, not necessarily the lunchtime of your wedding day unless you’re only staying one day.
Not true — The municipality isn’t involved in ceremonies outside town hall, as they are largely symbolic and charges more likely relate to a wedding planner’s fee for whatever arrangements you require.

Planner 2:
True — The official register is not allowed outside town hall.
Half true — Papers do need to be submitted to the town hall clerk, but it cannot be done by a representative for you (wedding planner, lawyer, friend, etc.) or a witness alone, even if it’s the deputy mayor. You need to go to town hall and sign papers in front of witnesses who are Greek citizens. That’s why Planner 1 says you need to have a separate official ceremony in town hall.
Not true — A deputy mayor or any mayor or representative cannot perform or witness a civil ceremony outside town hall and just sign a paper that he saw you get married at the villa, without you ever going to town hall.

The official ceremony at town hall only takes a few minutes if you have the right papers and an appointment (normally required). You go in at the appointed time, you present papers and ID/passport, witnesses present their ID/passport, a register is signed, the mayor or deputy mayor says a few words (which can be translated to English if there is someone bilingual in the room), you both say ‘I do’, sign something and leave. The marriage certificates are usually ready the next day, it’s recorded in the Greek registry, and your wedding planner sends them to you or you pick them up and leave.

I hope that helps, and thank you for trusting me to dispense advice. Wishing you all the best.

  Brandon wrote @ November 28th, 2012 at 20:14

Hi there , your site has been so helpful ! I do have a question if you would be so kind to help or have any ideas you could suggest.

Quick background : Both my fiancee and I are American citizens that planned to be married in July 2013 as a civil ceremony by the mayor (so we are told by our family in Greece ). We will have 20 or so guest joining us from the US to stay at the families home right outside of Sparta (Sparti).

1. Would the mayor be allowed to marry us at our families home ( is that allowed) ?
2. I’m interested in your information on avoiding Greek Bureaucracy for getting married. For option (a) , would that basically be just a reception with no option of exchanging of vows ? Or is there a way to have a true civil ceremony and have all the paper work done at home in the US ? For Option (B) , can you please give more details on this option and if this plan would work with a mayor ? Also for option (b) , we both have been married and divorced before so will this be more of headache to accomplish ? Thank you for any information and kind regards !

Kat Reply:

Civil ceremonies only take place at mayor’s offices and city halls. In the oft chance the mayor or deputy mayor is a family friend, or a wedding planner calls in a favor, perhaps but I highly doubt it. Things don’t work here like they do in America.

Avoiding Greek bureaucracy completely would mean getting married in the United States, then having a symbolic ceremony in Greece. It could, in your eyes, be the real wedding with friends and family. But the legal part would be at your local city hall.

If you want to have a true legal civil ceremony in Greece, you’ll need to do the bureaucracy. The only part you could do outside Greece is get marriage licenses that have no restrictions, but the rest would need to be done in Greece, including registration and issuing your marriage certificate (in Greek). Previous marriages/divorces don’t complicate the process. I cannot give you more details because the article I wrote is password-protected due to official, consular and commercial websites/forums plagiarizing it. If you insist on this, I recommend starting with your local city hall and inquiring about marriage licenses that can be used outside the country, then asking your relatives for help once in Greece. They should be able to call the dimos in the area, get instructions, schedule your wedding date and usher you through the process.

  Mehdi wrote @ January 9th, 2013 at 17:11

Question 1:
I am a Tunisian citizen and i’m getting married with my girlfriend in Greece, we want to know what do we need and who to contact to organize out wedding date ?


Question 2:
what info do you require so you can guide me to the right direction ?

Question 3:
I’m a tunisian citizen living in tunisia
my fiancee is polish citizen living in the uk
we are going together to poland to visit her mum then we are going to greece and we want to get married in there
we are both divorced ( i for 3 years and my fiance for a year )

hope this helps you

Kat Reply:

Answer 1:
You didn’t provide enough specifics for me to help you. But if your girlfriend is in Greece, she can easily find this information by making phone calls to the mayor’s office nearest her residence and her church. Because you are a non-EU citizen, you will have a lot of bureaucracy in your future and she needs to get used to helping you.

Answer 2 and 3:
Did you read the article above? It contains 1500 words of free advice that points you in the right direction.

Should you require more information or clarification, you and/or your fiancee can both contact the Greek embassy/consulate in the country of current residence. She also needs to check with the UK Border Agency about requirements to bring you to the UK if you intend to live there. Good luck.

  Renee wrote @ February 21st, 2013 at 03:58

Hi we are both Australian looking to marry in Lesvos when we visit in September.

My partner is of Greek Orthodox faith however I am baptised Church of England. Can we have a religious/legal ceremony for the 2 of us? If not possible for religious, I would be more than happy to convert to Greek Orthodox faith.

We have contacted the Greek Consulate in Australia and need to organise paperwork however are lacking some details.

Can you recommend any wedding planners in Lesvos?


Kat Reply:

I do not advise for religious ceremonies because there’s no way a single article can cover all religions of the world, their view on interfaith couples and requirements set by every church in Greece.

Paperwork universal to citizens from all countries is already listed in the 1500-word article above starting with the section ‘Having a legal ceremony’ and thereafter with translations, apostilles, etc. You need to contact a priest (or priests) directly, plus the church you select for religious ceremonies.

Choosing a wedding planner is highly individual, and I don’t make recommendations for reasons given in ‘Final Notes.’

  Nathalia wrote @ March 4th, 2013 at 18:55


My situation is a little bit different.
I am Brazilian, my husband is American and we live in the USA.
We got married in January, 4th 2013 at a Couthouse in New Jersey. We were planning the wedding party in Brazil. But we dont want to spend thousands of dollars to “feed” or family just to say we had our wedding party.
So, we decided to “join” party and honeymoon in a simple way.
I would like to know if is possible to have a simple wedding like in a chapel in Greece (we want it to be in Oia) to 10 people only? something simple, we take some pictures with family and friends and go to a restaurant to celebrate?

I really want to know how i can hire someone and a little chapel to a wedding and if it would be complicated since we are already married in papers.

thank you :)

Kat Reply:

Most of your inquiries are already covered in the article.
— In the section ‘Avoiding Greek bureaucracy,’ I discuss having a “real” or symbolic ceremony for those who marry somewhere else.
— In the section ‘Location,’ what’s allowed depends on where you choose and if permissions are involved.
— In the section ‘Final notes,’ I recommend you find and interview a number of wedding planners to arrange what you want and negotiate the cost. A simple Google search can get you started.

What you want is possible and very common (not different), but you need to hire a local planner if you’re unable to arrange it yourself. All best.

  Assaf wrote @ April 26th, 2013 at 14:14


Your website is extremely informative and well organised. Thank you very much for all this effort.

You write: ‘If having a legal ceremony in Greece is important to you’.

Is it permitted in Greece to have a religious wedding ceremony without any civil wedding and without presenting any marriage certificate from another country?

My fiance and I do not intend to get married legally. We would like to visit to Greece to marry religiously, and without bringing any marriage license or any civilian marriage paperwork.

Is this permitted in Greece?
We understand this means we will legally remain single.

Many thanks for your time.

(We are under quite a lot of time pressure for organising our wedding, so if at all possible as speedy response would be very helpful. Many thanks.)

Just to clarify the above post:
My fiance and I do not intend to get married legally anywhere, neither in Greece nor back home (Israel).
But we do wish to come to Greece to do a religious ceremony under the auspices of a recognised religious authority.

In some countries this is not legal.
How about in Greece?
Is this possible and is it a complicated bureaucratic situation?
Thanks again

Kat Reply:

Question is already answered in section ‘Additional advice,’ under the third bullet. My normal policy is to ignore redundant questions, as stated in “Comments, Questions and Contacting Me,” which I know you read.

I also state on front page that I provide assistance in my unpaid spare time. Compelling me to respond in less than 8 hours will have the opposite effect.

  Pano wrote @ June 19th, 2013 at 08:32

Hi There,

I’m a greek orthodox living in Australia, and my partner is Roman Catholic. I do not have Greek ID card. We would like to get married in Greece religiously and then in Rome afterwards both religiously and legally (making Rome the legal one). We know that this is not possible as we can only get married in one church.

However, we were thinking that if we get married in Greece first, and it is our responsibility to ‘legalise’ the documents, what if we do not lodge the Greek Marriage documents, and then get married in Rome a week later? Does the Priest in Greece inform Australia of our wedding to legalise it or is that our responsibility? If it is our responsibility to legalise it, it seems that what we are thinking of doing may be possible seeing as we will not lodge the greek documents anywhere (similar to how Sophie two years ago wrote whether she is legalised in the UK as she didn’t lodge the documents).

Thank you so much for your help!!!
I just have a couple of questions:

Kat Reply:

You are confusing the word legalise with the word register. They’re not the same thing.

Wherever and whenever you get married first, the marriage is legal there and everywhere. There’s no extra step to “legalise” it. There’s a step to register it, but that has no bearing on its legality.

If you try to get married again — in your case, in Rome — there’s a document asking you to state/swear under oath that you are single and unmarried. If you answer yes, you’re lying to the church and state. And technically, because you’re already married, the second marriage is not legal.

Sophie’s situation from 4 years ago isn’t relevant to yours because hers was a civil ceremony and the UK has different requirements on registering marriages. Her marriage was legal, just not registered, and she did it unintentionally.

What you’re doing is intentional, in a church (or two) and it’s clear that you’re trying to find a loophole to suit what you want instead of understanding the legal, ethical and religious implications. You should consult Greek Orthodox and Roman Catholic priests on this matter.

  Abdul wrote @ August 14th, 2013 at 09:57
  Deirdre wrote @ October 8th, 2013 at 16:28

Hi, I am a catholic marrying another catholic on a Greek island next summer. however my fiance is divorced so we cannot re-marry under traditional catholic service and must therefore apply for a civil ceremony. probably a stupid question but is it possible for us to marry in a greek orthdox Church (we are both legally free to marry). If not is it the mayor of the island that must perform the service and how do I enroll his help to do so? Sorry for being so ignorant but online searches have led me nowhere. Many thanks.

Kat Reply:

As it says in section ‘Location,’ only two Orthodox Christians are allowed to marry in an Orthodox church, though I’ve heard of exceptions being made under certain circumstances. I don’t know all the variations and encourage people to seek counsel with the priest assigned to the church of choice.

For a Greek civil ceremony, you need to make an appointment at city hall or mayor’s office AFTER a marriage license has been secured. It’s not guaranteed anyone will speak English, so be ready to navigate all the bureaucracy, phone calls, papers and registration in Greek.

  Johana wrote @ October 24th, 2013 at 08:11

Thank you for the information you are providing. Me and my fiance are both Albanian citizens, I am with a permanent resident status in the US, he lives in Albania. Neither of us have been married before, and we are both legally free to marry. We are planning to have a legal marriage ceremony in Greece. We’ve been told that after we get the permissions to marry (from the Albanian country),we can go to Greece and have the ceremony in the Albanian embassy. I would like to know if this is the right procedure to have this done and If there are any extra required documents to obtain since after the marriage Im going to petition for him to immigrate to the US. Thank you again :)

Kat Reply:

Regarding locations to get married, see section ‘Location.’

I do not advise on documents beyond what is offered above since each person’s situation is uniquely different. For purposes of immigration, it seems to me you’d want to make this as simple as possible and legally marry in Albania or the U.S., not involve a third country’s bureaucracy and documents in another language.

  suseelkumar wrote @ March 6th, 2014 at 19:29

i’m an indian hindu(atheist) 28yro and i’m in love with a pakistani muslim(sunni) girl 21yro. as our countries are born enemies, we can’t get married in our countries and i can’t even get a visit visa to pakistan untill i’m over 65yrs old. can we get married in greece by any non religious method? should the witnesses be greek citizens?

Kat Reply:

Please read all sections starting from, ‘Having a legal ceremony in Greece.’

All best.

  debbie wrote @ April 8th, 2014 at 20:21

i hope you can help me , my daughter has lived in Greece four the past 8 years ,she is English .she is getting married in October,she pays tax and insurance in Greece ,would that make her a greek resident ,if so what documents does she need to take back with her from England ,she is getting baptised in Greece ,her boyfriend is greek ,he is greek orthodox any thing would be helpful thank you debbie

  Zoe wrote @ May 11th, 2014 at 20:13

Hi. I married in lindos in 2002. Unfortunately we have separated 3 years ago & I want to re marry now. The marriage was never registered in the uk & I have filed for divorce but the judge wont allow this as the marriage was not registered here & we are not recognised as been married under uk law. We did not provide all the correct papers in greece at the time & didn’t provide translated documents. We did however get given a marriage certificate which the uk courts say are not certified. Same has been said of the copies we had sent over from greece. Does this mean we are not legally marriage in greece? Am I free to marry again?

Kat Reply:

In Greece. Because you didn’t submit translated documents or the correct papers that are absolutely required, it is unlikely you had a legal marriage and even more unlikely it’s officially registered. That’s why you don’t have a certified marriage certificate, which the UK confirms.

In the UK. If you never registered the marriage in the UK, and the judge confirms that you aren’t recognised as married under UK law (which is why you cannot divorce), then you are free to marry. See commentator Sophie above you who had a similar situation.

No country has you on official record as ever marrying, so legally/technically this is your first marriage though you know it’s your second.

Wishing you all the best.

  David wrote @ May 27th, 2014 at 17:51

Hi there
I got married in lindos in 2010 and unfortunatelly now am trying to get a divorce. Our marriage has not been registered with british authorities and I have been trying to obtain a copy of marriage certificate from greece but am having no luck, I tried greek embassy, they told me to ask the municipality, I emailed and called the municipality of rhodes many times but received no answer! I am running out of ideas and require the copy very urgently.

WOuld you be able to assist ? Who do I contact to get the copy of the marriage certificate?

Also reading some of the comments above how do I make sure the marriage is actually legally registered in Greece??

Hi there
I was wondering if you could help?
I got married in Greece, lindos in 2010 and require the copy of my marriage certificate. I have been told to contact the municipality of the place, but am having no luck after calling and emailing.
Could you suggest who I can call/contact to obtain the copy of the marriage certificate?

Kat Reply:

The municipality city hall or mayor’s office, or the official registry (lixiarcheio) in Athens, are the only places you can get a copy of marriage certificates. These offices typically close at 11:30 or 12:00 GMT.

I am a private citizen. My taxes pay for government officials to assist you, and I run this philanthropic website in my unpaid spare time.

You are legally married, assuming you submitted all the paperwork and a license. To determine if you’re registered is a different matter and a lot more information and access to your official records would be required.

See answers 1 and 2.

  Stephanie wrote @ June 14th, 2014 at 19:46

I love your website. It’s very interesting to read everyone’s different situations.
This is our situation. We want to have our ceremony at at Greek Orthodox Church in Santorini in May of 2015. We had a Civil Ceremony- to get our Marriage Licence, in Chicago, IL. The licence does not say that it is only valid here in IL.
We don’t want to go through this whole process of Apostille stamps, translations, etc.
We only care about having a religious ceremony.
We planned to get married sooner in Greece. We had a legal marriage here first. Then we were in a horrific car accident where I was hurt very badly. Thus, we had to postpone the Church Wedding in Greece.

Does it help us that we are already legally married in the US?
Thank you so much!

Kat Reply:

The same information I gave ‘Pat’ on March 11, 2010 also applies to you. You already had a civil ceremony and don’t want a legal ceremony in Greece. You only want a church wedding. Same situation, just replace the word Canada with the United States.

Glad to hear you’re on the mend and plans are moving forward for your church wedding on Santorini. Wishing you all the best.

  dori wrote @ July 14th, 2014 at 12:36

Hi,I really found your article useful but I’m kind of lost here. Well, my partner and I are Lebanese Maronite Christians and would really love to have a small romantic christian wedding in Greek. Can you please tell me if it is possible to do so? And can you please suggest some places to do it or some people to contact?? We would really appreciate your help. Thank you

Kat Reply:

Please read advice and information in ‘Location’ and ‘Final Notes.’ All best.

  mrle badilla wrote @ July 28th, 2014 at 18:12

my brother in law wants to marry his Filipina girlfriend, who has a 10 year working permit and expired on 2020. at the moment she doesn’t have a permanent job. would it be possible if they can marry here in Greece? or she had to go back first with my brother in law and married in the Philippines.. And if they can marry here(Greece) what document she need…

Your opinion much appreciated… thank you..

Kat Reply:

Whether she has a job in Greece has no bearing on eligibility to marry. However, if he wants to come to Greece and live/work here, she needs to have filed taxes for several years and earned a minimum income to bring him here. This is explained in “Residence/work permits for non-EU citizens.”

The only help I offer on documents for getting married in Greece is above. The detailed guide for residents has been password protected due to the Greek government, embassies/consulates, lawyers and other online guides plagiarizing my information. It is very bureaucratic.

  Sunny Collins wrote @ August 4th, 2014 at 17:43


I’m an American and do not reside in Greece.
My fiance is Greek and does not reside in Greece.
We will be having a religious ceremony in Zakynthos.

We’ve poured through several websites and spoken to authorities here in Dubai, UAE (where we reside) and we can’t seem to find a clear answer regarding the required documents for a legal marriage in Greece.

I was hoping you could give us some pointers and clarify what exactly are the documents that will be required from us to be married legally in Greece.


Kat Reply:

I have a detailed guide on what documents are needed to get married in Greece, where to go, how much it costs and how long it takes at “Getting married in Greece – for residents.” However, it is password protected due to official Greek government websites, embassies/consulates, lawyers and other online guides plagiarizing my information. If they simply gave credit or asked permission, it would be fine. But these people have no shame.

If your Greek fiance has relatives here, they can easily get the info in Greek by making a few calls. Additionally, the priest marrying you on Zakynthos can provide religious guidance.

  jignyasa wrote @ August 16th, 2014 at 06:10

my fiance and I plan to get married in greece although our marriage will be registered in india.
my fiance is jewish and I am a hindu.
greek weddings have always fancied me therefore I would like to know if there is a possibility for the same. also it is just going to be the two of us with a short time so we want to keep it simple and nice for an experience!

look forward to hear from you.
many thanks,

Kat Reply:

As the article says above, you can have a symbolic ceremony in Greece if you plan to legally marry and register the marriage in another country. All best.

  Katerina wrote @ September 19th, 2014 at 23:09

Hi girls (and guys!). I am Greek, registered at Rhodos, my fiance Dutch and we would like to marry in Thessaloniki because I used to live there and all my friend live there. The church is out of question. I have heard from friends that you can marry at Villa Bianca at Vasilissis Olgas or the Botanical Garden at Stavroupoli. But at Villa Biance you cannot enter the monument with all your guests and we would like to marry during October. How can we find the places that you are allowed to get married in Thessaloniki? Also, we would like to marry on Saturday or Sunday and not on a Wednesday (at the City Hall).
After reading the posts above we decided to get married here in Holland and then drop a party there in Thessaloniki. But we would like it to look like a wedding there also….You know, to have the whole wedding feeling. Any ideas would be much appreciated. Thanks in advance!


  Jane wrote @ December 30th, 2014 at 22:32

Thank you so much for such an informative site, we are planning on getting married in Crete in May but want a intimate wedding (just myself, partner and our 2 toddlers) we just want the town hall ceramony so don’t want to book a wedding planner, can a chapel/town hall help by suppling witnesses of do I need to find somebody to take on this role for us?
Thank you in advance

Kat Reply:

The two witnesses need to be Greek citizens, and the mayor’s office/town hall won’t typically provide them at a civil ceremony. You could ask in advance if it’s possible or perhaps get two new acquaintances to accompany you — someone you meet at the hotel or another local place. All best.

  Felek wrote @ April 7th, 2015 at 22:14

Thanks for very use full informations. my story is holding British and Turkish passport currently living in Turkey l want to get married through British embassy but we want to quite simple wedding we do not really need wedding planner what should l do for first step to gather paper together.
Thank you

Kat Reply:

In the section ‘Location,’ it says that you cannot get married at an embassy.

The first step to getting married? The whole article covers this!

  Amir wrote @ April 9th, 2015 at 11:51

I am in from Pakistan and i am ilegel in Greece and my gf is German citizen.. can we get married in Geece and can i travel to Germany after getting married and how.. or what we should do? Thank you

Kat Reply:

In a word, no. You cannot do something legal (get married, immigrate to another country) when you are illegal and cannot produce the required documents.

What you need to do is go back to your country and enter Germany with a visa through the immigration process: Your girlfriend should be the one helping you, not a stranger (me) running a website.

  Nancy wrote @ April 21st, 2015 at 16:30

Hi I am now thinking of getting married in the uk and then straight after travelling to kos and having a small ceramony there with friends and family,can you tell me how to go about getting someone to perform this and cost,as the rest i would like to do myself without a planner. thanks.

Kat Reply:

If you want to do this without a planner, you need to speak Greek, find a person to do the ceremony and arrange everything on your own from where you are.

  Stefan wrote @ May 4th, 2015 at 11:15

Hi from Austria
We would like to have a tiny private relligious wedding ceremony in Greece.We do not intend to have the civil ceremoniy.
Going through the comments ,I know some other peolple had this question before and I read the aditional advice,still was not clear for me,if it is possible or not. If it is possible please give me some dirrections. THX !

Kat Reply:

It’s possible but the bureaucracy and religious requirements are different according to denomination/church/priest/location, and you must be ready to navigate everything in Greek.

It’s not clear because Greece and implementation of laws are not consistent, and people leaving comments/questions provide me with almost no information.

There’s no possible way I can address every case because it would require a book in several languages.

  Jan wrote @ June 2nd, 2015 at 17:20

Hello. Me and my fiancee would like to get married in Crete. I am Polish and She is British. We are not greek orthodox so for obvious reasons wouldn’t want a church wedding, more like a blessing. Tried to book a wedding package through a travel agent, but it seems that they have doubts about me being Polish. Are all EU citizens on the same rights when it comes to be married in Greece. Best Regards- Jan

Kat Reply:

Yes. But discrimination and racism are common in Greece, so you may need to provide extra documents and politely point this out. If you’re not willing to be calm and tolerant of this, best to make other plans.

  Arian wrote @ August 16th, 2015 at 23:29

This country is so backwards. I am a US citizen of Greek decent and my husband was born in Greece but is a US citizen.
We brought all the Apostilles of our political marriage in NYC to the lixougio in Athens
Do you know what we were told? Go to KEP bc she said the date expired on his birth certificate that was issued at the Greek Embassy in NyC. Then go to this place to get it translated. We go to MonotritrAKi. They tell us this is already translated and it is legit.
We go back to the place lixougio AGIAN. This time we are told where is the stamp on the translation page. It is an Apostille and the people at the lixougio send you on a goose chase when you have the right paperwork to begin with.
This whole fiasco for a stamp. Mind you the paper work was looked at in the Greek Consulate in NYC and said it was fine.
Where is the stamp? You need to go back to the place where you got the Apostille for a stamp? Even the questioned the validity of the whole document. This is what I am told to go 5000 miles away.
So now tomorrow we have to go through the same process and waste an other day of this.
Worse comes to worse will go to the USA embassy and ask for help because the greek government is saying I am giving them a false document.
I am greek and I love greece would I advise someone to get marriage here. No no no no no no no. Btw my wedding is in one week and let’s see how it goes bc never in my life have I seen such a backwards system with my own eyes.
You know some thing is terribly wrong when you have people at the lixougio all complaining bc they being sent on goose chases all around Athens bc people do not know how or understand the laws.

Advise the Forum here to be well prepared just like we
are but apparently that is not good enough.

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