Everything you need to know about marriage in Austria

11 Mar 2023·19 min to read
Everything you need to know about marriage in Austria 01

Austria is a country in the southern part of Central Europe, lying in the Eastern Alps, and famous for its unique architectural works and landmarks. Every year, over 40,000 marriages are performed in the country by both foreigners and native Austrians. There are different ways through which couples tie the knot in Austria, ranging from civil to religious, traditional to symbolic weddings. 

However, a civil marriage is the only type of marriage that is recognized and protected by the laws of the country. In Austria, marriage is seen as a commitment between two individuals who intend to build a life together, and it is typically viewed as a lifelong commitment. While there is no legal requirement for couples to get married in order to live together or start a family, many people in Austria still choose to marry for personal and cultural reasons. 

In the past, arranged marriages used to be common in Austria, where parents married off their children upon reaching the age of maturity. However, these types of marriages are now quite rare. In fact, arranged marriages are illegal in the country, and they are not recognized under Austrian law. In Austria, individuals are free to choose their own partners and decide on their own whether or not to get married. Marriage in Austria is based on mutual consent, and the law requires that both parties freely and voluntarily consent to the marriage.

While arranged marriages are not a part of Austrian culture or tradition, there are some immigrant communities in Austria where arranged marriages may still occur. 

However, these practices are not accepted or supported by the broader Austrian society, and individuals who are forced into arranged marriages may seek legal protection and assistance from the authorities. There are various legal requirements that spouses who wish to get married in Austria must satisfy. All marriages must be officiated by government-authorized officials for them to have legal standing. As you read on, you will find out more about marriage traditions in Austria as well as the laws and rights guiding the act of marriage in the country.

Civil marriages 

In Austria, only civil marriages are legally binding. All marriages must be officiated by state-authorized officers or civil registrars in the registry for them to be recognized and protected by law. The process of registering a marriage in Austria involves several procedures as well as the submission of documents by both spouses. To begin the marriage registration, both partners will need to apply to the local vital statistics office (standesamt) or registrar’s office. 

After filling out the application, the registrar may ask some routine questions to verify that both partners are entering the marriage as a result of their own free will and consent. Both Austrian nationals and foreigners who wish to get married in Austria must be at least 18 years old. Under special circumstances, spouses who have not reached the age of 18 may be allowed to marry; however, they must obtain parental or guardian consent. There are no residency requirements for foreign couples. Both spouses will be required to provide valid copies of their identification cards and birth certificates. 

They will be required to prove they are in good legal standing with the government of Austria. This implies that a spouse who is a convicted felon will be unable to get married in the country. Also, foreign spouses may be required to provide additional documents from their home country that further prove the validity of their marriage. Partners who request documents from other countries will be required to get them translated into German, as this is the official language in Austria. The translation must be performed by an accredited translator, and all the documents must be apostilled. The documents that must be provided by both partners are stated below.

Documents Required 

  • A valid means of identification must be provided by both spouses.
  • Both partners are required to provide copies of government-issued birth certificates.
  • Certificate of freedom to marry This document shows that both partners are facing no legal impediment that may prevent the marriage from taking place.
  • Partners between the ages of 16 and 18 must provide notarized parental consent.
  • Divorce or death certificate. Either of these documents must be provided by previously married partners to show they legally terminated their previous marriage.

Religious Marriages 

Couples who wish to get married in Austria have the freedom of performing a religious marriage; however, it holds no legal grounds. Religious marriages are neither recognized nor protected under the laws of the country. Couples must perform a civil marriage before any other form of marriage for it to be legally binding. Austria is mainly dominated by Christians, with the Roman Catholic Church being the largest denomination. 

Over 55 percent of all Austrians are Catholic. About 22 percent of the people living in the country have no religious affiliation, while about 8 percent are Muslims. Church weddings are joyous celebrations to Austrians, and they often involve various ceremonial rites. Even though church weddings are not legally binding, they are still quite popular in Austria. It is common for couples to cohabitate for a long time before deciding to tie the knot in a big religious wedding.

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Marriage traditions in Austria

Engagement Ceremony 

The engagement ceremony in Austria is often a formal event, where the couple announces their plans to get married to their family and friends. In some regions, the groom will ask the bride's father for her hand in marriage. Upon the approval of the bride's parents, the wedding preparations progress.

Wreath or garland exchange

A popular wedding custom in Austria is the exchange of wreaths or garlands made of flowers or herbs, which symbolize their love and commitment to each other. This exchange is performed between the bride and groom, and it is still common in modern Austrian weddings.

Bride kidnapping

In some regions of Austria, it is customary for the bride and groom to take part in a "brautentführung," or "bride kidnapping," where the groom and his friends must "kidnap" the bride and take her to a local pub or restaurant for a celebratory drink. The groom will be required to pay a ransom in the form of some money to rescue his wife-to-be.

Same-sex marriages 

Couples of the same sex are allowed to be in a relationship and get married in Austria. In 2019, a ruling came into effect allowing same-sex couples to legally marry and have their marriages recognized by the state. As a result of this ruling, same-sex couples in Austria now have the same legal rights and protections as opposite-sex couples when it comes to marriage. They are able to enter into civil marriages, change their legal name, and adopt children, among other things. Discrimination in Austria based on gender identity or sexual orientation is largely frowned upon.

Polygamous marriages

Polygamy is illegal in Austria. The country's laws recognize marriage as a union between two individuals only, and individuals who attempt to enter into a polygamous marriage can face legal consequences. While there is no cultural or religious tradition of polygamy in Austria, there have been some instances of immigrants from countries where polygamy is allowed attempting to practice it in Austria. However, these practices are not legally recognized, and cases of polygamy are quite rare in the country.

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Marriage Laws and Rights, Costs and Duties


The Austrian civil code, known as the Allgemeines bürgerliches Gesetzbuch (ABGB), regulates marriage in the country. The civil code entails important requirements that intending couples have to fulfill before marriage can be contracted. In Austria, the legal age for marriage is 18 years. However, an exception is made for minors between the ages of 16 and 18. Minors may be allowed to marry with the consent of both parents or legal guardians. Marriage is only allowed between two people who are not in any legally subsisting relationship. 

This implies that intending couples must be single at the time of marriage. They are required to be unmarried, divorced, or widowed. In any situation where one of the couples has been married in the past, a certificate of death of the previous spouse or a certificate of divorce must be presented to the appropriate authorities to prove the single status of the concerned spouse. In Austria, only civil marriages are recognized as legally binding. The ceremony must be conducted by a registrar at the registry office (standesamt), and it must include the exchange of vows and rings. Other forms of marriage are allowed, but they do not hold any legal value. 

Before the civil marriage can take place, the couple is required to submit an application for marriage to the civil registry, after which a mandatory waiting period of six months must be observed before the wedding can take place. However, under certain circumstances, the waiting period can be waived by a court. Two witnesses are required to be present at the wedding ceremony. Both parties must provide their birth certificates, passports, and proof of their marital status (if applicable). If one or both parties are not Austrian citizens, they may also need to provide additional documentation, such as a certificate of no impediment to marriage from their home country. 

Any foreigner who is prohibited from contracting marriage in his or her home country would not be allowed to contract marriage in Austria. Same-sex couples are allowed to contract marriage in Austria, as it is considered to be legally binding in the country. According to the ABGB, incestuous marriages are prohibited in the country. The husband and wife must not be related. Also, marriage between close relatives, including siblings, half-siblings, parents and children, grandparents and grandchildren, and aunts, uncles, and nieces and nephews, is highly prohibited in Austria.


In Austria, legally married couples are entitled to enjoy several legal rights and privileges that are made available by virtue of marriage. In Austria, after marriage has been contracted, spouses have the right to decide whether to take each other's surname or a combination of both surnames. They may also keep their original surnames. Spouses are each other's heirs by law, which means that they are both granted the right to inherit from each other in the event of one spouse's death. This right can be modified by a prenuptial agreement. The husband and wife have the same right to obtain divorce, which can be obtained through a court proceeding. Married couples have the right to own, use, and dispose of property as they wish. 

Spouses who have opted for a community property regime have joint ownership of all property acquired during the marriage. This means that both spouses have equal rights to manage and dispose of the property. Spouses have the right to make decisions on behalf of each other in certain situations, such as in the event of an emergency or if one spouse is unable to make decisions for themselves. In Austria, legally married couples are granted immigration and residency rights. Spouses who are not Austrian citizens may be eligible for immigration and residency in Austria based on their marriage to an Austrian citizen.


The cost of getting married in Austria is dependent on the kind of wedding you desire. You'll be required to pay various administrative charges, such as the marriageability interview fee, which is estimated to cost around €50, and the submission fee for foreign certificates, which is €130. Additionally, there are federal administrative fees that vary based on the specifics of the wedding but typically cost between €5 and as much as €54. Couples who wish to have a small wedding should expect to pay a few thousand euros; however, a big wedding would cost much more. 

The cost can range from tens of thousands of euros to hundreds of thousands. Some popular venues in Austria, like Schönbrunn Palace in Vienna, may charge around €4,000 as a venue fee, but this can be offset if you spend a significant amount on food and drinks. A mid-sized wedding in Austria may cost around €75 per person for food and drinks, up to €2,500 for photos, around €1,500 for music, up to €1,500 for flowers, €300 for transportation (such as limousines or carriages), and up to €200 for makeup.


Marriage comes with several duties and responsibilities that must be carried out by couples. Married couples in Austria are expected to work together to build a happy and healthy relationship and to support each other through good and bad times. In Austria, married couples have a duty to provide mutual support and respect for each other. This includes providing emotional support and caring for each other's well-being at any point in time. Spouses have a duty to share financial responsibilities in the home. Couples are responsible for managing their finances together, including paying bills, saving money, and making joint financial decisions.

Both partners are expected to contribute to the upkeep of the household, including cleaning, cooking, and other domestic duties. Both husband and wife have a duty to provide childcare. If the couple has children, they are required to share the responsibility of caring for them and providing for their needs. They are required to ensure that the children are properly taken care of by providing a conducive environment for their growth and development. Even in the event of divorce, the care and wellbeing of the children fall on the shoulders of the couple. In Austria, married couples are expected to remain faithful to each other and not engage in extramarital affairs.


Couples in Austria typically have a wide range of options when it comes to getting married. They can choose to have a civil ceremony, a religious ceremony, or a combination of both. Civil ceremonies are typically conducted at the local registry office, while religious ceremonies take place in churches, mosques, or synagogues, depending on the couple's faith.

Marriage in Austria provides couples with certain legal rights and benefits, including inheritance rights, tax benefits, and the right to make medical decisions for each other. Married couples in Austria also have the option of changing their legal name, although this is not required. We hope this article has provided you with everything you need to know about marriage in Austria.