Getting Married in South Africa (as a foreigner)

What You Need to Know When Getting Married in South Africa

Are you planning on getting married in South Africa? Look no further. We’ve made sure to provide you with all the inside information in terms of tying the knot in sunny SA – from all the legal requirements to the costs as well as where to start!

1. What are the legal requirements and what documents are needed to get married in SA?

How do you get a marriage license?

Before deciding to get married in South Africa, you must ensure you meet the Department of Home Affairs’ marriage requirements. In most cases, this shouldn’t be a problem. To begin the process, you must first register an intention to marry with the Department of Home Affairs and apply for a marriage certificate. Couples must apply for this certificate at least three months prior to your intended wedding date. Home affairs marriage forms are available on request and should be submitted with the relevant supporting documentation (ID, passports etc.)


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How many witnesses are needed?

In South Africa, the service must be conducted in the presence of two witnesses.

Who performs the ceremony?

Marriage ceremonies may only be conducted by a licensed marriage officer, such as a religious minister, magistrate or Home Affairs marriage officer. Weddings in South Africa must take place in a church or religious building, a public office (such as a magistrate’s court) or private dwelling. If there is a serious illness, a wedding may take place in a hospital or other such medical facilities. If you plan to marry in a private or public garden or on the beach, you may need to repeat the legal aspect of the service in one of the legal locations. The same applies when you get married in a restaurant or other building not defined by the act.


Image Source: Pinterest

2. What does a wedding in South Africa cost? 

Benefits to UK and US travellers

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When it comes to having a dream wedding at a fraction of the cost, getting married in South Africa is a fantastic option with the Pound, Euro and Dollar trading strong against our South African Rand. Even after including the cost of flights, the cost of a wedding in South Africa remains great value and you will certainly get your money’s worth with all our world-class service providers and culinary excellence.

Here is a breakdown of what you can budget on spending if you are planning on getting married in South Africa:
Food and Drink

When it comes to wedding catering for an excellent quality 3-course meal and canapes the cost will be on average between R350-R450 per head (£20-£26). With so many wine farms and quality breweries, South Africa has a large offering of alcoholic beverages at reasonable costs.

If you are planning on having a ceremony for just you and your partner for five magnificent nights under the African skies, you are looking at a cost of about R9500-R12000 (£550-£700). This will include luxury accommodation and an extravagant dinner celebration for the two of you at one of the top restaurants in South Africa.

For the more budget-conscious couple, you can still enjoy a five-day romantic escape to South Africa for approximately R5500 (£315).


Image Source: Eat and Drink Cape Town

20 Guests

A simple intimate wedding celebration will see you spending around R500 (£30) per head for dinner and drinks for your guests.

50-60 Guests

For 50-60 people you will look at a total cost of your wedding being between R100000-R210000 (£5750-£12000), depending on how extravagant you want to go.

80-120 Guests

For 80-120 guests you can expect to pay anywhere between R160000-R420000 (£9200-£25150) for the entire wedding.


Image Source: Zara-Zoo Photography

Destination Wedding vs Elopement 

A destination wedding is for the couple who are adventurous and want it to be one big party with great friends and family. The couple that hosts a destination wedding wants to create a great holiday and adventure for everyone involved. This can also allow the couple to have their wedding during a time when they couldn’t back home. Destination weddings can be great for the couple who wants to combine their wedding and honeymoon.
These days when people talk about eloping they usually mean going to an awesome foreign destination and exchanging vows. This usually includes just the couple but sometimes parents are welcomed and they usually know it’s happening. It’s just that the couple has decided for whichever reason that they want something extremely intimate, romantic and private. A life-changing moment shared between just the two of them.

If budget is an issue, why not elope? Many destination venues offer elopement packages that usually include champagne, strawberries, candle-lit dinner or even a couples massage.


Image Source: Pinterest

3. Where to Start with the planning:
If you are planning on getting married in South Africa, the easier option would be to get in contact with a local wedding planner. Luckily, South Africa is home to some of the most talented industry experts. Here are a few top picks:
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