Frequently Asked Questions


Who can marry me in SA?

A marriage in South Africa can only be concluded and registered by a legally appointed marriage officer. A religious leader is not automatically a marriage officer but can write the exam and become a marriage officer.


Do we have to get married under a roof?

The law states that for a marriage to be legal it has to take place in “....a church or other building used for religious services or a public office (e.g. a Government office) or in a private dwelling house.” It makes no reference to a “roof” or “walls” and when asked at Home Affairs they will state that it must take place inside with open doors.

So basically if you want your marriage to be legal it has to take place in a location stipulated by law; however, this does not limit you to only indoor marriages. If you want the beach wedding you can just take yourself and your partner along with 2 witnesses to the courthouse a day or so before the actual wedding to get the legal aspect out of the way, you can then focus on enjoying your big day.


At what times can I get married?

You can get married on any day and at any time you want, provided you can get a marriage officer to assist you.


Where can I get married?

You can get married just about anywhere from a place of worship, public office or private dwelling. In the case of serious illness or injuries you may also get married in a hospital, provided that the medical practitioner is satisfied that the patient is in a sane frame of mind and the marriage officer feels the marriage is warranted to be solemnised in a hospital.


Do I need to be in the country for a specific amount of time before the wedding?

No, if you live or work abroad but want to get married in South Africa you don’t have to be in the country for a certain amount of time.


Can I keep my maiden name after getting married in South Africa?

Yes, you do not have to take your husband’s name. You can keep your maiden name or if you want join your surname to that of your husbands. 

Do witnesses to my marriage need to be South African?

No they don’t, proof of identification in the form of a passport is perfectly fine. However they do have to be over 16 years old.


Do I need to get a marriage license?

There is no such thing as a marriage license in South Africa; a marriage certificate is the only document you’ll need.