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What do Marriage Officers do?

The marriage Officer completes the Marriage Register and issues a South African Marriage Certificate on the day of the wedding. He or she should personally register the marriage at Home Affairs within 3 working days after the wedding, and not just mail the documentation to them.

To be able to officiate at a legal wedding ceremony, a Marriage Officer should be registered with the Department of Home Affairs and have a designation number. You should be able to discuss the type of wedding you would prefer with the Marriage Officer.

Types of ceremony

This is very important and indeed central part of your wedding day – a part that you should always treasure and remember. Discuss different ceremonies with the Marriage Officer. Your choice purely depends on what you as a couple prefers and what the Marriage Officer can offer.

Different ceremonies

  • Traditional ceremony – a more formal ceremony

  • Romantic ceremony – light-hearted, non-denominational

  • Religious ceremony – according to your beliefs

  • Civil ceremony – just the legal part of the ceremony

Additions to a ceremony

  • Candle ceremony – two individual candles are used to light one candle, which symbolises unity.

  • Rose ceremony – symbolises the hope and love that the couple share on their wedding day.

  • Sand ceremony – symbolises two lives joining as one.

  • Hand-joining ceremony – the couple’s wrists are tied together with a love knot; the couple outwardly agree to be joined together.

Legal requirements

South African Citizens

  • Certified copy of the Identification Documents.

  • Certified copies of two witnesses’ Identification Documents.

  • Identity photos of the bride and groom.

  • If divorced, a certified copy of the Final Divorce Decree.

  • If a former spouse is deceased – a certified copy of Death Certificate.

  • The legal part (questions, signing of register) should take place in a building (Marriage Act, 1961)

  • Two competent witnesses older than 21 years should sign the register with the couple and the Marriage Officer.

  • The bride will sign in her maiden name if she is still single; if divorced, she will sign in her present legitimate surname.

Order of service

Introduction: Greeting and statement about marriage

Legal declaration of couple


Exchanging of rings

Blessing (if the couple chooses)

Announcement as husband and wife

“You may kiss the bride”

Signing of the register

Introduce Mr and Mrs

Ideas to remember in planning the ceremony

  • A reading or poem by a family member makes the ceremony more personal.

  • Music when the bride walks in creates atmosphere.

  • Music when signing the register breaks the silence, and gives the photographer time to take special photos.

  • Discuss who stands where during the ceremony.

  • Who will take the flowers when exchanging rings?

  • Who will bring the rings to the ceremony?

  • What happens after the couple is introduced as Mr and Mrs – for example, guests walk out first and gather somewhere for throwing of petals.

  • Discuss every little detail of your marriage ceremony and the happenings during the ceremony with your marriage Officer. She or he should guide you – and you should relax and enjoy one of the most important days of your life!

Credenda Wedding Venue
Credenda Wedding Venue

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