Dutch Wedding Guide For Couples Getting Married in NL

Dutch wedding guide for couples getting married in NL

Getting married in NL? Bilingual wedding ceremonies in the Netherlands are booming! And fulfills the dream of many love-expats, international and multicultural wedding couples. So, here’s a comprehensive Dutch wedding guide and an insiders view of how to plan your marriage celebrations. Whether engaged, moving to Holland for love or you want to settle down and have kids, it is exciting. Weddings are adventurous yet daunting. Where do you begin your search?

And what is the first hurdle to overcome before you notify the marriage officials? Where can you find an authority figure to marry you? Not only did Sophie (British) & Victor (American-Dutch) fall in love with Holland. Famous foreigners, immigrants and migrants such as Queen Maxima, Steve McQueen – filmmaker-artist, Dave Clarke DJ, these foreigners fell in lust too. They married their partners and moved to the Dutch country for love! In fact, what is a recognised marriage without residency and the legal stuff? Getting married in NL? Should you contact government marriage officials and declare a legal wedding?

Performing a marriage ceremony in Holland for Americans, Canadians, British, Irish, international, foreign citizens or same-sex wedding couples is possible. However, you must provide a legally valid marriage license – obtain this from your country of residence. Or you can register and apply for settled status in Holland. How do you do that? I’ve done the legwork for you. So that arranging your wedding is a piece of cake. Follow the below steps!

Dutch Wedding Guide & Requirements for Getting Married in NL

Dutch wedding guide marry you

Weddings in the Netherlands. Settling into a new country, means you want to make it your new home. Provinces, municipalities and authorities await your big day dreams, wishes, expectations and requirements. Grachten museum

What does a Dutch wedding cost?

Here is a fun wedding fact for straight and same-sex wedding couples, getting married in NL and in preparation of marriage or a civil partnership. Dutch weddings in the Netherlands on average cost anywhere from € 14.548,- . However, you could spend up to € 80.000, it is entirely up to you. Basically, it’s as expensive as you want to make it. Let your marriage celebration be the happy event you imagine it should be—by planning a Dutch wedding you can comfortably afford.

Why officially marry on your Dutch wedding day?

Many bilingual wedding ceremonies in the Netherlands were spearheaded in Amsterdam. So, if you desire to marry and sign a written contract of marriage on your wedding day. It’s possible. Explore the charm of the country which has long been known for its tolerant and acceptance of diverse cultures. In fact,  Amsterdam is the first place in the world to legalize marriage for all couples, keep reading and be inspired to plan an inclusive wedding in Holland.

marry you

Dutch weddings in the Netherlands and civil partnerships for all couples including black, same-sex and other LGBT+ couples. The couples love language and intense emotion of the moment is captured authentically by michielstock photography

• Registering your marriage/domestic partnership

As foreigners, immigrants or love-pats you’ve got your own set of rules, moral beliefs and strong values. So, what does it mean to be formally married or have a civil partnership at one of Holland’s licenced / official wedding locations? What’s your dream wedding scenario? Well, in Holland only civil marriage and domestic partnership registrations are permitted. But, you can enjoy a domestic partnership ceremony or celebrant-led wedding without registering your marriage. This can be held at an unlicensed wedding venue.

• Wedding couples (dual) nationality

Many Dutch weddings in the Netherlands are inclusive of all languages, identities and communities. Imagine you’re engaged, a British expat wanting to marry a Dutch citizen. Perhaps you are Dutch and are dotting about your foreign partner. Are you American love-expats dreaming of a secular wedding in NL?  Or you just desire to register your marriage in Holland.

• Written contract of partnership

‘Cohabitation agreement: This is a written agreement settling certain matters relating to living together. You need a drawn up notary – an official contract with or without civil partnership vows. In some cases, you may need a notarised cohabitation agreement in order to qualify for certain benefits such as partner pension schemes and fringe benefits.’ Source: www.government.nl

• Dutch wedding guide – destination

Who do you invite? And who gets an invitation to your Dutch wedding? Whatever your preference, belief or nationality, Dutch weddings in the Netherlands give you the opportuninty to get wed, first. From the Jordaan – Amsterdam, De Maas, Rotterdam, Maastricht or in Utrecht it’s your choice. Perhaps a beach location at Bloemendaal near Haarlem suits you better. Plan it your way with a modern touch.

Bilingual wedding ceremonies

Thera & Keving get married in Amsterdam – Boat Ondine | Worried about formalising your relationship in Holland and need guidance? Find a local municipal authority in the area where you reside as a couple.

• Visiting, moving or relocating

There are many ways to settle in Holland. 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. It must be issued and granted with a residence permit. So, avoid the brink of travel planning despair before you set off to the Netherlands.

• Marriage, partnership & cohabitation

“In the Netherlands partners you 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.” Source:www.government.nl

Dutch Central Government (Rijksoverheid)

What about your wedding day schedule, itinerary and timelines? Well, before you put timings in place for the big event. The Rijksoverheid requires that Dutch citizens wishing to marry a foreigner register and give notice of their intended marriage. This must be done directly with the city or town hall where you reside, your country of origin. Obtain all the relevant documentation required at the Rijksoverheid.

Immigration and Naturalisation Service (IND)

Perhaps incorporating family customs, traditions, and beliefs is important. So, if you are an expatriate, immigrant or international register at the IND in order to get married. Dutch citizens marrying a foreigner are required to also register partners arrival, a permanent address and the tax partner. This is imperative, if you wish to legally marry in Holland.

Marriage of convenience

“Sometimes couples make a great deal of money through sham Dutch wedding ceremonies. Couples gain unlawful access to the Netherlands through a sham relationship”. That’s not you, right? Anyway, the IND do stricter checks of potential marriages of convenience. You may have to sign a declaration of good behaviour before registering your marriage. Find out more at IND. nl

Screenshot courtesy: Stadsdeel Centrum · Stadsdeel Nieuw-West · Stadsdeel Noord · Stadsdeel Oost · Stadsdeel West · Stadsdeel Zuid · Stadsdeel Zuidoost  – The department of Civil Affairs – City office of Gemeente Amsterdam – www.amsterdam.nl

• Give notice of your wedding

Whether you plan a religious or secular Dutch wedding blessing, you must register your intent to marry with the Registrar of Births, Deaths, Marriages. Complete this 6 weeks beforehand. So, get off to the local registry office at the town hall. Thereafter a registrar shall complete all the necessary marriage forms and conducts a ceremony. You sign the paperwork and pick up the civil union document.

• Registrar marriage certificate

If you want a Dutch church marriage service you must fulfill certain requirements and provide proof of a legal marriage registration. So, sort out the legal side of things and obtain a registrar marriage certificate. This is done in the country where you reside.

• Foreign passport & authenticated documents

Are you from a non-English speaking country? Well, it’s mandatory to have your authenticated documents translated. You should provide a birth certificate, unmarried status declaration and registrar marriage certificate. Bring diplomas, passports and divorced papers too. Find out more at amsterdam.nl.

• Save Dutch wedding date

The Calvinist nature of the Dutch weddings makes it a great place to host one. Partnership ceremonies and celebrant-led weddings are popular. Before sending out ‘pencil us in save Dutch wedding date invites you could register your official wedding. Have you thought about a long weekend or a midweek wedding? It’s up to you.

same-sex wedding couples

Hans & Eric Wedding – De Hanger Amsterdam – michielstock photography

• Compile wedding guest list

Do you have major concerns about guests travel arrangements? Have you thought about the primary language at your wedding ceremony or partnership ceremony? Do your guests speak Dutch, Italian, English, Spanish, French or German? Plan a bilingual marriage service, with A-list, B-list, C-list or D-list guests now.

• Marriage witnesses

A Dutch wedding blessing in the heart of Amsterdam or elsewhere in Holland is incomplete without marriage witnesses. You can have a minimum of 2 and maximum of 4 witness (mum, dad, siblings or best friend). This allows your 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) : “A ‘love-pat’ is a person who has moved to (and is living in) another country for the sake of love”. Read a real love-pats story here: tassiedevilabroad.com|

• Celebrant-led ceremony NL

What is a celebrant-led wedding? It’s a wedding ceremony whereby the legal marriage registration has or will take place separately.  The symbolic wedding of love focuses entirely on the couple. Celebrant led weddings officiated without the legal signing of an official marriage or civil partnership register (UK and NL) are popular. Hire a celebrant to facilitate and guide you through the non-legal marriage proceedings.

• Secular wedding ceremonies

Secularism scores high in Holland and secular wedding ceremonies are common. Being one of the most liberal and prosperous irreligious countries in the world, you can ‘Go Dutch’, too. Imagine your wedding hosted by a Dutch marriage officiant, it’s possible. Find one (Trouwambtenaar) at your local city hall. Or get online and search for a master-of-ceremonies (ceremoniespreker).

• Fix a budget

Whether you register your marriage or not. You need a wedding budget and must decide wif you want to stretch it to the max. Perhaps your on a strict limit. Remember, keep a little extra aside for last minute wedding expenses. So, whether you’ve postponed or pushed it forward to 2023/2024 get to grips with a budget to make your euros stretch further.


Perhaps you’ve bought the rings and hired the party venue. So, don’t forget the bilingual celebrant to officiate your wedding ceremony. image courtesy of andriessenkamer-devoorzaal-hetgrachtenhuis-amsterdam

• Wedding suppliers & vendors

To get your Dutch wedding started, you need the best wedding planners. Don’t forget the suppliers, vendors and entertainment. So, decide on a basic, extended or full-service wedding package service that’s authentically you and perfect.

• Dutch wedding guide boat venues

Additionally, how do you tackle a boat wedding boat venue or a waterside event? An international Dutch wedding sounds absolutely wonderful but make sure you know about the hidden costs. And the best news is, you don’t need to register your marriage before boarding the boat.

• Dutch garden wedding

So, you may like a garden wedding in the heart of Amsterdam. What about Vondelpark.  Vondelpark weddings are for couples who want a marriage celebration surrounded by loved ones and nature. Do you want to hold your official wedding in Vondelpark? It isn’t easy, however you can have a celebrant-led wedding at a park venue. The above Dutch garden wedding link gives you an insiders view.

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

• Symbolic wedding ceremonies

Whether you are a Buddhist, atheist or churchgoer you can marry in Holland or have a symbolic wedding ceremony. Do you have close ties, relatives or wonderful memories of a special time spent in Holland? Let one of them perform the ceremony for your partnership registration. 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? Do you want to include your folks culture in your Dutch wedding? Perhaps your witnesses are not proficient in Dutch, English or are hearing impaired. 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.

Dual nationality marriage

In addition to your own nationality (British, American, French) you might have one or more other nationalities. Perhaps you are Dutch with a dual nationality. How does this effect your marriage? Well, as you know each country of origin has their own set of rules. Find out at your country of birth.

• Wedding attire for him & her

Another thing, do you have a reasonable budget for your wedding outfits? Arrange an inexpensive bridal dress and suit. The clothes can resembles your cultural backgrounds and personalities. So, look at affordable disposable camera, it is a nice and inexpensive option.

Museum Herengracht Amsterdam

A foreign marriage celebration reflects common values and beliefs. However, to marry your Dutchy, foreign or exotic sweetheart in the Netherlands you need to visit your local authority in your home country.

• Dutch wedding guide venues

Let’s face it, you want to blend two families together and need an impressive location to do that. Decide if you want a museum, castle,  exclusive hotel or stately home wedding. Perhaps your dream  venue is a wine vineyard, orangery or the national Zoo. Whatever you decide invite everyone – within reason. Here are the best wedding venues in the Netherlands.

• Dutch wedding photographers

In truth, wedding photographers are at the top of their game. Helping you to capture the most beautiful day of your life in pictures. But you can also hire affordable disposable camera, it is a nice and inexpensive option.

• Blooming wedding

And when in Holland for a partnership ceremony or you decide to tie the knot you must have wedding flowers. From your bridal bouquet, flower arrangements, buttonhole, corsages to car decorations. Dutch florists make it happen.  www.katyahutter – floral design.com

 save the date invitations same-sex wedding couples

Getting Married in NL? Popular Dutch weddings (secular weddings) are more quieter, relaxed, structured and sometimes businesslike. pexels-olya-kobruseva

• Partial wedding planner

Getting Married in NL? Planning your big day can be daunting. So, look for a partial wedding planner or a full-service wedding planning service.  These wedding professionals are the ideal option for couples who want a hands-on or hands-off role with their special day. Let them give you assistance and guide you through the process of planning your big day in Holland.

• Dutch wedding guide experts

Same-sex wedding couples and straight couples need to take into account planning an absolutely flawless big day in Holland. So, don’t make it hard, make life easier and sort out a combined wedding hair stylist and makeup artist. And the best news is, use the same professional for your engagement love shoot, first look and pre-wedding shoot. How does that sound?

• Divorce certificates & more

Lastly, preparing for a Dutch wedding abroad in the Netherlands with a Dutch citizen, can be easy. Just remember to bring all the relevant information such as birth certificates, passport and divorce papers – copy of decree absolute (if this is your 2nd/3rd marriage). Source: Holland Expat Center.

Dutch wedding guide – marriage legal paperwork

  1. The ONLY LEGALLY recognised marriage in the Netherlands are Civil Partnership Ceremonies. Solemnised and authorised by a Dutch wedding registrar.
  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. 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.
same-sex wedding couples

Bilingual wedding ceremonies in the Netherlands. Screenshot courtesy of The city of Amsterdam – www.amsterdam.nl

There 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 2022).

Dutch wedding Amsterdam city office registrations fee

Getting Married in NL? Bilingual wedding ceremonies! . Screenshot courtesy of  The City Office of Civil Affairs in Amsterdam

  1. It’s possible to have your 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 [celebrant led ceremony].

Bilingual wedding ceremonies

Getting Married in NL guide for straight and same-sex wedding couples  Museum het grachten huis, Amsterdam

Getting Married in NL? A Dutch wedding guide helps every gender plan a Dutch wedding civil ceremony. Legal and official marriage licenses are provided by the registrar of births, deaths and marriages at the town/city hall ONLY. Dutch Citizens and Resident (s) holding a permit can legally and officially marry. However, tourists and visitors cannot. For more information about civil ceremonies visit The City Office of Civil Affairs in Amsterdam.

 While you’re here…

Getting married in NL? Need advice about bilingual wedding ceremonies? Please leave your thoughts in the comment box below.

About Clover Jean: I'm a London, UK celebrant based in Amsterdam, NL. Officiating symbolic weddings, vow renewals, funerals, celebration of life services and naming ceremonies is my passion. My guilty pleasures are singing with my Gospel & Soul choir, fine dining, travel hot spots and on-line retail therapy. Find out more, via Instagram #cloverjeanamsterdam or Facebook. LIKE, SHARE, SPREAD THE LOVE & see you soon!

4 Responses to "Dutch Wedding Guide For Couples Getting Married in NL"

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.