Dutch Wedding Guide NL

Looking for advice about registering a foreign marriage in NL as a overseas citizen, visitor to Holland or Dutch resident? If you’re in the early stages of planning a Dutch wedding ceremony celebration. Here’s a comprehensive Dutch wedding guide.

Dutch weddings whether small or elaborate are fun, unique yet complicated. Should you notify the marriage officials, contact the municipality, and declare a legal wedding? Where can you find someone to marry you?

If you’re high school sweethearts, engaged, first time visitors, moving to Holland for love to settle down and have kids. This insiders view makes it simple for you to arrange a Dutch wedding ceremony celebration. Let’s get the party started!

Dutch Wedding Requirements in NL

Simple or elaborate wedding ceremonies

Registering a foreign marriage in NL Grachten museum

Can a foreign same-sex and opposite sex couples legally marry in NL?

Non-Dutch citizens or foreign nationals, whether in a same-sex or heterosexual relationship cannot legally marry in NL. To host a legal Dutch wedding ceremony celebration, you must live in the Netherlands and have a residence permit.

Where can I obtain permission to marry in NL?

Obtain permission for a valid marriage license from the country where you live. Undertake a registration service ceremony at the local register office (registry office) where you reside. Otherwise, apply for settled status in Holland.

Can couples of (dual) nationalities marry in NL?

Yes, imagine you’re engaged, a British/French expat wanting to marry a Dutch citizen or visa versa. A wedding ceremony celebration in NL provides dual nationality couples the opportunity to marry in an inclusive way.

fun wedding facts witnesses

Dutch weddings and secular wedding ceremonies for black, same-sex and other LGBT+ couples resident in NL. – closeupfoto.nl

What does a Dutch wedding cost?

Fun wedding fact. Dutch weddings on average cost from € 14.548 up to € 80.000, it is entirely up to you. Basically, let your marriage celebration be the happy event you imagine it should be.

What is the best time of day for a Dutch wedding?

You can officially marry between the hours of 8am – 8pm and 8pm – 8am. Dutch marriage ceremonies can take place 24hours a day, ONLY applies to foreign citizens of Holland and Dutch residents.

Overview of municipal costs

Type of ceremony & venueDays and timesCosts
FreeOn request only – Amsterdam.nlNo
Bud­getOn request only – Amsterdam.nl€ 171,35
Municipal hallMonday – Friday: 09.00 – 17.00 hrs€ 804,10
Location in the cityMonday – Friday: 08.00 – 18.00 hrs€ 763,90
Location in the cityMonday – Friday: 18.00 – 08.00 hrs€ 989,95
Location in the citySaturday & Sunday€ 989,95

Civil Registrar vs Celebrant – which one should you choose?

In Holland only civil marriages and partnership registrations are permitted. A licensed registrar (civil servant) can legally marry you and conduct a non-religious ceremony. A celebrant is trained to perform peronsalised wedding ceremony, baby naming ceremonies and funeral services.

registering a foreign marriage in NL

Registering a foreign marriage in NL – Hans & Eric got married – The Hanger michielstock photography

What is a celebrant-led ceremony NL?

What is a celebrant-led wedding? A celebrant-led wedding ceremony celebration allows couples the freedom to express their love for one another without the legal part. Celebrant led weddings are officiated without signing any formal agreement of marriage or civil union.

When can a celebrant wedding take place?

A celebrant-led wedding takes place before or after a legal marriage registration at the Registry Office. This separate programme of events can be done without registering your marriage or union. It’s held at an unlicensed wedding venue of your choice.

How to hire a celebrant EN/NL?

Hire a celebrant (ceremoniespreker in Dutch) to facilitate and guide you through the non-legal marriage proceedings. Ceremonial weddings are focused entirely on the couple.

registrar vs celebrant authority figures

Celebrant Clover Jean & Dutch civil servant/registrar – Betty Sta van Uiter

Where do you give notice of your marriage?

You must register your intent to marry with the Registrar of Births, Deaths, Marriages. Complete this 6 weeks beforehand. The registrar at the municipality, town or city hall completes the necessary marriage forms, signs the paperwork and you receive a civil union/marriage certificate.

M & P (Dutch) have their own set of rules, moral beliefs and strong values.

Where can an official marriage ceremony be held?

Official marriage and civil partnership ceremonies can only be held at licensed wedding locations or at the municipality in NL. The marriage contract is certified by a registrar. The local municipal authority or town hall in the area where you live has more information.

dutch wedding

Ceremonial wedding service – pexels lombe k

• Dutch park weddings

Unfortunately, park weddings in the Netherlands are prohibited. You cannot get married in any park or outside. Dutch weddings can only take place at an ‘official wedding location’. For example, church, hotel, wedding venue, castles, cafes (some) or on a boat.

Bilingual wedding ceremonies

Thera & Kevin (Canadian) ‘we did it married in Canada)! and hosted a celebrant wedding in Amsterdam,NL – Boat Ondine

• Visiting, moving or relocating

Are you divorced? Have you relocated permanently to Holland? Is your fiancé (e) a Dutch national (citizen)? Well, an official Dutch marriage service, requires that you apply for citizenship and a residence permit. So, sort it out before you set off to the Netherlands.

• Marriage, partnership & cohabitation

“In the Netherlands partners can choose from two different forms of living arrangement that are regulated by Dutch law: you can marry or enter into a registered partnership. Otherwise, sign a cohabitation agreement, or live together without signing any formal agreement.” government.nl

Dutch Central Government (Rijksoverheid)

The Rijksoverheid requires that Dutch citizens wishing to marry a foreigner register and give notice of their intended marriage. Obtain all the relevant documentation required at the Rijksoverheid.

Immigration and Naturalisation Service (IND)


Marriage of convenience

Sham Dutch wedding ceremonies and marriages of conveniences come under greater scrutiny. IND.nl

What is a Dutch civil registrar of marriage?

A Trouwambtenaar is a Dutch civil registrar that works independently or on behalf of the municipality. These licensed marriage officials marry you under Dutch law. A civil registrar issues a legal marriage certificate, which is proof of registration. So, sort out the legal side of things, first.

• Foreign passport & authenticated documents

If you are from a non-English speaking country, it’s mandatory to have your authenticated documents translated. Provide a birth certificate, unmarried status declaration and registrar marriage certificate. Bring diplomas, passports and divorced papers too. amsterdam.nl.

English wedding in NL

Wedding ceremonies

• Fix a budget

Whether you register your marriage or not. You need a wedding budget. Perhaps your on a strict limit. Remember, keep a little extra aside for last minute wedding expenses.

Bilingual wedding ceremonies same-sex wedding couples

Hans & Eric Wedding – De Hanger Amsterdam – michielstock photography

• Marriage witnesses

You can have a minimum of 2 and maximum of 4 witness (mum, dad, siblings or best friend). This allows your Dutch wedding celebration to be a seamless transition between a legal marriage registration and/or celebrant led ceremony.

Bilingual wedding ceremonies

Love-pats in Holland Valeria (Italian) & Joerie (Dutch) : tassiedevilabroad.com|



Make a brand new start and get married in NL! pexels-ambrosiniv

• Dutch wedding ceremonies

Whether you are a Buddhist, atheist or churchgoer you can marry in NL. Create a moment in time at your secular Dutch wedding or official marriage service in the language that’s meaningful to both of you.

Engage an interpreter/translator

Do you or your partner have limited Dutch language skills? What about your wedding guests, do they understand English or Dutch? If any of the above apply to you, maybe you can engage a certified interpreter or translator to assist at the town hall.

registering a foreign marriage in NL

Museum Herengracht Amsterdam


 save the date invitations same-sex wedding couples

Getting Married in NL? Dutch weddings are it! pexels-olya-kobruseva

• Wedding planner

Getting Married in NL? Planning your Dutch wedding can be daunting. Whether you want a hands-on or hands-off role look for a wedding planning service. Get the assistance and guidance you need to plan your big day in Holland.

• Divorce certificates & more

Lastly, Dutch wedding ceremony celebrations abroad are perfect. Divorced couples preparing for a 2nd/3rd marriage in the Netherlands must bring all the relevant information such as birth certificates, passport and divorce papers – copy of decree absolute. Source: Holland Expat Center.

Dutch wedding guide – marriage legal paperwork

  1. The ONLY LEGALLY recognised union before your wedding in NL are Civil Marriages and Partnership Ceremonies. Solemnised and authorised by a Dutch wedding registrar – civil servant.
  2. For a small fee it is mandatory to give notice of your intention to marry or form a civil partnership. So, find out more at your local authority near you.
  3. Appoint an authorised person to marry you at your English wedding in NL. Or you can schedule a no-frills registrar wedding in true Dutch style with a simple ceremony. Otherwise, apply for a FREE REGISTRATION of your certified marriage license – on Tuesday mornings only.
registering a foreign marriage in NL

Dutch weddings – Queen Maxima, Steve McQueen, Dave Clarke DJ did it! The City Office of Civil Affairs in Amsterdam


The budget marriage is a shorter version of a civil marriage ceremony or a basic registered partnership ceremony. The “City Office Registrations costs are minimum fee €171.35 – Amsterdam 2023).



  1. Do you need a licensed marriage officiant to marry you at an approved wedding venue? It’s possible to arrange an English wedding, marriage or civil partnership solemnized by a family member, friend, celebrant or officiant. You must request a special civil servant (BABS) for one day certificate at the municipality (only applicable in Holland).
  2. Be aware, that if you appoint a celebrant – officiant (not a Dutch registrar) for your civil union or official marriage an authority from the municipality will be present during the proceedings, to ensure legality of your nuptials.
  3. Otherwise, undertake the marriage registration formalities (in Holland or abroad) and have your nuptials legally recognised.
  4. Another option is to obtain your official marriage license for FREE (at a later date) and proceed with a secular Dutch wedding or English wedding [celebrant led ceremony].
registering a foreign marriage in NL

Registering a foreign marriage in NL Museum het grachten huis, Amsterdam



 While you’re here…

Leave a comment in the box below.


  1. Mazen Ghasim


    • Clover Jean

      Thank you!

  2. Daniel

    Hey! Great pointers to plan a Dutch wedding. But it is kind of unnerving to see how the Coronavirus has taken precedence over everything, even weddings! BTW, it is interesting to know that a citizenship and residence permit are necessary for an official Dutch wedding service! And there are other intriguing rules too!

    • Clover Jean

      Hey Daniel, I really appreciate your comment! I hope you and your loves ones are well under the unusual circumstances. Do you know of any wedding couples who are worried about their planned nuptials in Holland? Well, please forward this coronavirus weddings update post to them. Thank you.
      Have a wonderful day. Warm regards, Clover

  3. Guanghui

    Hello. Guten Tag. Im Chinese ,and my partner is german. We want to gay marry or registered partner . I’m living in Düsseldorf and I have 2 years foreigner ID card . We just want to make paper in Holland and back to Germany. Because Germany we need So many documents.so we ask you can help make this marry .thanks and how much ?

    • Clover Jean

      Hello Guanghui, Congratulations to you and your partner. Unfortunately, Non-Dutch citizens or foreign nationals cannot legally marry in the Netherlands. The legal marriage document can only be obtained in the country of birth, where you live or reside. Hope this helps!

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