Dutch Wedding Guide For Couples Getting Married in NL

Dutch wedding guide couple holding hands and smiling at lady registrar

Are you moving to Holland for love? Do you want to settle down and make a brand new start and get married? Here is a comprehensive Dutch wedding guide. Settling into a new country, as expats means you want to make it your new home. It is adventurous, exciting yet overwhelming. But who can provide you with the information you need for your wedding? And what is the first hurdle to overcome before you notify the marriage officials?

And where can you get married in NL? Well, these famous expats were wowed away with Amsterdam and fell in love with the Netherlands; Queen Maxima, Steve McQueen – filmmaker and artist and Dave Clarke, DJ. Being a foreigner, immigrant or migrant who wants to marry someone who does or doesn’t speak Dutch isn’t straight forward. In fact, what is a recognised marriage without residency and the legal stuff? Should you contact NL government marriage officials and declare a legal wedding?

Look, performing a marriage ceremony in Holland for international, love-pat, expat and foreign couples is possible. So, don’t feel overwhelmed, take things in your stride. Providing you have a legally valid marriage performed in your country of residence. Or 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 Expats Getting Married in NL

Dutch wedding guide expats wedding ceremony venue

Comprehensive wedding planning in preparation of marriage in Holland. – image courtesy grachten.museum

What does a Dutch wedding cost?

Here is a fun wedding fact. The Dutch wedding report states, that on average, it costs 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.

Weddings for couples of all cultures, colour & creed

Dutch marital law spearheaded the first gender-neutral wedding in Amsterdam. So, you can explore the charm of the Netherlands, too. As the first country in the world to legalize marriage for all couples, the Netherlands has long been known for its tolerant and accepting culture. Keep reading and plan your wedding day with the following insight.

Step 1• Registering a marriage/partnership

So, let’s start, as foreigners, immigrants or love-pats you’ve got your own set of rules, moral beliefs and strong values. What does it mean to be formally married? Well, in Holland only civil marriage registrations are permitted. But, you can enjoy a celebrant-led partnership of wedding ceremony without registering your marriage.

Step 2• Wedding couples (dual) nationality

Many Dutch weddings 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?  Another scenario is, you just desire to register your marriage in Holland. Face the challenge and move onto step 3.

Step 3• Dutch wedding guide – destination

Who do you invite? And who gets an invitation to your Dutch wedding? Whatever your preference, belief or nationality, select which part of the Netherlands you want 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.

Dutch wedding guide multiracial couples' wedding on roof top in Amsterdam

Worried about formalising your relationship in Holland and need guidance. image credit awbridal.com

Step 4• Visiting, moving or relocating

There are many ways to settle in Holland. 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.

Step 5• 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, whether your an expatriate, immigrant or international you must be registered 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

Dutch wedding guide costs of getting married in Amsterdam

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

Step 6• 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. This should be done 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.

Step 7• Registrar marriage certificate

Fulfill certain requirements, sort out the legal side of things and obtain a registrar marriage certificate. Whether you are an understated, conscious or design-led couple this is mandatory. And it must be done in the country where you reside if you want a Dutch church marriage service.

Step 8. Passport & authenticated documents

In preparation of your marriage or partnership ceremony, make sure your foreign documents are legalised and the translation is authenticated. Birth certificates, unmarried status declarations and registrar marriage certificates are required. Bring diplomas, passports and divorced papers too. Find out more at amsterdam.nl.

Step 9. Save Dutch wedding date

Save your Dutch wedding date. The Calvinist nature of the Dutch makes it a great place to work, love and get wed. Partnership ceremonies and celebrant-led weddings are popular. So, what’s the best date to get married? When should you register your official wedding? Have you thought about a long weekend or a midweek wedding? It’s up to you.

Dutch wedding guide expat bride and Dutch groom enjoying ceremony with international family and friends

“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|

Step 10• 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.

Step 11• 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.

Step 12. Dutch wedding guide – celebrant

And there’s more, are you a Buddhist, atheist or churchgoer? 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. So, hire a wedding officiant or a marriage celebrant to facilitate and guide you through the marriage proceedings.

Step 13• Land on a budget

In addition, whether you register your marriage or not. You need to land on a wedding budget with your partner. Define it and decide whether it can be stretched to the max or you want 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.

Andriessenkamer a licensed wedding venue at the museum canal house on the Herengracht amsterdam

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

Step 14• 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.

Step 15• 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. Get more information at getting-married-aboard-boat.

Step 16• 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. Here’s an insiders view that every couple needs to know, if you desire to get officially married in Vondelpark.

Dutch wedding guide couple holding hands and smiling at lady registrar

Dutch wedding in a field!www.awbridal.com

Step 17• Non-legal wedding ceremonies

Whether you are a Buddhist, atheist or churchgoer you can marry in Holland or enjoy a non-legal wedding ceremony. Do you have close ties, relatives or wonderful memories of a special time spent in Holland? Create a moment in time at your secular wedding or official marriage service in the language that’s meaningful to both of you. And include your folks culture in your Dutch wedding.

Engage an interpreter/translator

Do you or your partner have limited Dutch language skills? Perhaps your witnesses are not proficient in Dutch, English or are hearing impaired. What about your wedding guests, do they understand English or Dutch? Does the above apply to you? So, 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.

Step 18• 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.

bride being escorted by maid of honour down grand staircase at 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.

Step 19• 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.

step 20• 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.

Step 21• Blooming wedding

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

Dutch wedding guide save the date invitations

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

Step 22• Partial wedding planner

Look for a partial wedding planner if you don’t want a full-service wedding.  This wedding professional is the ideal option for couples who want a hands-on role with their wedding. Let them give you assistance and guide you through the wedding planning process.

Dutch wedding guide experts

What do you need to take into account to look absolutely flawless on your wedding day? Well, 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?

Step 23• 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

What to do before the wedding blessing service

  1. Firstly, the ONLY LEGALLY recognised marriage in the Netherlands are Civil Partnership Ceremonies. And for a small fee it is mandatory to give notice of your intention to marry or form a civil partnership. Find out more at your local authority near you.
  2. Secondly, appoint an authorised person to marry you. Schedule a no-frills wedding in true Dutch style with a simple ceremony. Or you apply for a FREE REGISTRATION of your certified marriage license – on Tuesday mornings only.
FREE registration of marriage at Amsterdam city hall on Tuesday

Screenshot courtesy of The city of Amsterdam – www.amsterdam.nl

  1. 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).
  1. In addition, submit a request. Let them know you wish to (only applicable in Holland) appoint a celebrant – officiant you’re civil union – wedding registrar for the day. An official from the authority will also attend the marriage proceedings, to ensure legality of your nuptials.
  2. Otherwise, undertake the marriage registration formalities (in Holland or abroad) and have your nuptials legally recognised.
  3. Or obtain your official marriage license for FREE (at a later date) and proceed with a secular Dutch wedding [celebrant led ceremony].

A Dutch wedding guide helps you with planning 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.

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About Clover Jean: I'm a London, UK celebrant based in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. Officiating weddings, renewal of marriage vows 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. What's yours? Get in touch, via Instagram #cloverjeanamsterdam or Facebook. LIKE, SHARE, SPREAD THE LOVE & see you soon!

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