Everything you need to know about marriage in Luxembourg

18 Apr 2023·20 min to read
Articles
Everything you need to know about marriage in Luxembourg 01

Marriage is a very important event in the lives of Luxembourgers, with over 2000 marriages being held annually in the country. Couples can either get married through a civil ceremony or through a religious or traditional marriage. Unlike most countries where you have the option of choosing between civil and religious marriages, the opposite is the case in Luxembourg. You must conduct a civil marriage before performing a religious marriage in the country because only civil marriages are legally binding. The law does not recognize religious marriages, and couples usually perform this type of marriage as a result of their beliefs or preferences.
Foreign spouses who want to get married in Luxembourg must have been living in the country for a period of 3 months before proceeding with marriage preparations. The country allows marriages between same-sex couples, and other types of marriages, such as symbolic or secular ones, are also practiced in the country. The majority of the residents of the country are Christians, and church marriage traditions are the most common in the country. Most couples mix their church ceremonies with other traditional ceremonial rites. Continue reading to find out more about the types of marriages and other important aspects of marriage in Luxembourg. Let’s get started.

Civil Marriage 

A civil marriage is the only type of marriage that is legally binding in Luxembourg. Couples who want other forms of marriage must conduct a civil marriage first. This type of marriage is officiated by a state-authorized registrar or mayor and conducted in the registry office. The marriage must be celebrated in the municipality of either both spouses or at least one of them. A declaration of marriage must be made before a marriage registration is done. Also, both spouses must have all the required documentation. Civil marriages may be performed by both opposite-sex and same-sex couples, but they must be at least 18 years old, the minimum legal age to marry in the country. Any spouse below this age will have to provide parental and guardian consent for a marriage to take place. All required documents from both partners must be submitted at least one month before the wedding date. The whole process of registering a marriage civilly may take up to 2 to 3 months, depending on the conditions at the registry office. Couples are usually advised to start making preparations and provisions as soon as possible. Some of the documents required to get married legally in Luxembourg are listed below.

Required Documents 

  • National identity or passport. Both partners are required to submit this document.
  • Luxembourgers must submit a national ID, while foreign spouses may submit a valid passport.
  • Certificate of residence This paperwork must show that both partners have lived in the country for the stipulated timeframe. Citizens of the country are required to have lived in the country for a period of two months, while that of foreign spouses is three months.
  • Proof of single status. Both spouses must provide evidence that their marital status is single and that they are not in any marriage at the time with a different spouse in Luxembourg or another country.
  • A recent copy of the birth certificate This must be submitted by both spouses, with the correct display of names on their IDs. The document must have been issued recently, in a timeframe of not more than 6 months.
  • Certificate of legal capacity to marry This document must show that both spouses are eligible to get married in the country, and a certificate of national custom may be provided by those who are unable to obtain this paperwork from their home country.
  • Death or divorce certificate. Partners who were in previous marriages must provide this document to show their previous marriages were legally terminated as a result of separation or the death of the former spouse.

All documents requested from other countries, consulates, or embassies must be legalized in Luxembourg. They are to be notarized with an apostille, and they must also be translated into the official languages of the country. A spouse from a country under the European Union must have their documents translated by a sworn translator, and an apostille or legalized signature is not required, unlike spouses from countries that are not members of the European Union. French, Luxembourgish, and German are the official languages into which all documents must be translated.
Some countries have special provisions with Luxembourg, with slight differences in the type and amount of paperwork that citizens of such countries are required to provide. These countries include Germany and Portugal. After a marriage publication is made to notify the whole public of the oncoming ceremony, the spouses must hold their marriage within a period of 12 months from the date of the publication. The spouses also have the opportunity to decide the location where the civil marriage will be held. It can either be held in the mayor's office, the general registry office, or the residence of the couple.

Traditional and religious marriage

Thousands of religious marriages are held in Luxembourg every year. Religious marriages are not recognized by law in the country; however, most couples still perform them. This is because church weddings are a necessity in the Christian faith, and the majority of the citizens in the country are Christians. Other religions include Judaism and Islam. Most church marriages take place in the Roman Catholic Church and are officiated by a priest. The traditions and norms of the Catholic Church are followed during the wedding ceremony, and the church may also make a banns publication to announce to the church members as well as other people that the marriage ceremony will take place. There are mandatory marriage classes that are held by most churches that spouses who want to get married must attend. The priest has the authority to decide if he does not want a couple to get married due to reasons such as the ineligibility of both spouses.

Same-sex and polygamous marriage

Same-sex marriages are legal in Luxembourg. This type of marriage was legalized in 2015, and same-sex couples enjoy most of the rights and benefits available to opposite-sex couples. Couples of the same sex may also perform religious marriages in churches and other religious organizations that allow them.
Polygamy is illegal in Luxembourg. A man or woman is prohibited from having more than one spouse. Spouses who are married are not allowed to enter another marriage unless the previous one is legally terminated. In cases where this type of marriage is held, the union is rendered invalid under the laws of the country.

Everything you need to know about marriage in Luxembourg 02

Marriage traditions in Luxembourg

Engagement ceremony 

As with other marriage traditions in various countries around the world, the engagement ceremony is also a marriage tradition in Luxembourg. Here, the groom and his family meet the bride and her family to make an official introduction and ask for their daughter's hand in marriage. It is customary for them to meet in the bride's place of residence; however, some families opt for a common ground such as a restaurant where both families can carry out the formalities and accept the union between them.

Wedding ceremony 

The actual wedding ceremony in Luxembourg largely includes all the ceremonial rites of a church service. Here, the bride is dressed in a white gown while the groom wears a suit that is mostly black or navy blue in color. The family and friends of the bride, as well as other guests, are often present for this ceremony. Sometimes, couples may opt for a small ceremony that is only attended by a few witnesses or their immediate family. The priest said prayers and pronounced the couple husband and wife. After the church service is concluded, everyone heads to the reception venue.

Wedding reception (Aperitif)

The wedding reception is usually a vibrant and lively occasion. Some couples change into another beautiful and more comfortable outfit for this second phase of the wedding ceremony. It is customary for the guests to form a long line to greet and congratulate the bride and groom on their wedding day. The reception is usually marked by a lot of food and drinks as well as the exchange of gifts.

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Marriage Laws and Rights, Costs and Duties

Laws

Marriage in Luxembourg is only valid when all rules and regulations in the civil code have been obeyed. The law states that the legal minimum age for marriage in Luxembourg is 16 years for females and 18 years for males; the law also permits the marriage of minors under legitimate circumstances, provided parental consent or a court's permission is obtained. Only civil marriages are recognized and legally binding in Luxembourg; religious marriages are not recognized under the law. Marriages must be held at the civil registry office before a notary or civil office staff on any day of the week. Marriage between persons who are related by blood is forbidden; persons who are linked through marriage or adoption are prohibited from contracting marriage. Forced marriage is against the law; before marriage can be valid, both parties must give their free and willing consent; if one of the parties is unable to give consent due to illness, he or she should appoint a representative who must be authorized by the court to give consent on his or her behalf. 

Marriage between mentally ill people is void. According to the law, couples should have the capacity to contract marriage, whether physical, mental, emotional, or financial. Couples must be in a stable frame of mind at the time of marriage. Homosexual marriage is recognized and protected by the law; persons of the same sex who wish to contract marriage can do so in Luxembourg. Marriage is only valid when at least one of the couples has his or her permanent residence in Luxembourg. The law does not state the need for witnesses at the time of marriage.

All wedding documentation must be prepared and submitted to the civil registrar at least 3 months before the chosen wedding date, and after all documents have been verified, a publication of the banns must be made and put up for 10 days, after which the couple are permitted to marry within 12 months. Marriage can only take place in the municipality where one of the spouses resides. Persons who wish to marry must be single at the time of marriage. If one or both parties have been previously married, proof that such a marriage has been dissolved or is nonexistent must be provided. A woman who is divorced may not get married until 300 days after her divorce.

Rights

The institution of marriage in Luxembourg makes certain rights available to spouses across the world by virtue of marriage. Unless stated otherwise at the time of marriage, couples are subject to a mandatory property regime by default. If a prenuptial agreement was not signed, couples have the right to whatever property, income, and assets they acquired during marriage, except for certain properties like gifts that have special meanings, inheritances, etc., and in the event of separation, such property would be split equally. The opposite is true if a prenuptial agreement was signed; couples who signed a prenuptial agreement have the right to separate property acquired during the marriage.

Whatever debt was incurred during marriage by one of the spouses must be settled by the responsible party and not jointly. However, if the debt incurred was for the welfare of the family, couples are obligated to settle the debt jointly. Under the law, couples have access to special rights such as maternal care during pregnancy and the right to take a 3-day marriage leave if they are legally bound under a contract of employment. The law gives couples the right to bear children, adopt children under certain circumstances, such as infertility, and raise them according to their personal beliefs. Couples have the right to choose jobs that best suit their chosen career paths. The right to be involved in politics and government as well as the right to file for divorce are available to couples in Luxembourg. Both parties have the right to request custody of the child or children in the case of divorce.

Costs

Putting together a wedding budget is not a bed of roses; you would need to be a professional at creating budgets and have a lot of patience. Whether the ceremony is grand and lavish or intimate in the backyard, a lot of planning goes into the budget. A wedding venue in Luxembourg can cost between €500 and €18,000; this may be higher depending on the additional equipment needed to accommodate all guests. For catering, you would be spending an average of €90–€150 per guest. Wedding outfits cost anywhere from €300 for local brands to €2,500 for designer brands. If you're going for a small, budget-friendly wedding, getting your wedding outfits from a local brand is very advisable. However, if you and your spouse have the financial ability to put enough money into the celebration, a designer brand for wedding outfits is never a bad idea! Photography at the wedding can cost as little as €500 or as much as €2500, depending on what memories the couple wants to create. The honeymoon experience costs around €1,000 and up to €6,000 for the full honeymoon experience, which would most likely be outside the country. The makeup, transportation, music, and entertainment also take up a large part of the wedding budget; this is where proper planning skills are required so as not to incur debts.

Duties

The people, society, and culture of Luxembourg give a number of duties and responsibilities to the husband and wife in the home. The family is considered to be the most essential part of society; therefore, the husband and wife have to carry out their respective duties to ensure the smooth running of the family. The roles of husband and wife in the home are distributed based on mutual agreement rather than gender roles. Women can easily take on the role of men in the home, and the same goes for men. The family's comfort and welfare rest on the shoulders of the couple; they are responsible for the provision of basic amenities such as food, clothing, and shelter. When it comes to deciding the family's permanent residence, the couple is required to reach a mutual agreement. The provision of education and care for the children is the responsibility of the couple, and in return, the children are responsible for the welfare of their parents once they are old enough. The couple is obligated to protect the family from any form of danger or harm that might come to them. Despite the equal distribution of household duties among couples, women continue to bear more responsibilities than men, and this is especially prevalent in large families.

Conclusion 

Luxembourg has a diverse culture due to its being made up of natives from different countries such as Germany, France, and Portugal. A civil marriage is the only type of marriage that is recognized and protected under the laws of the country. Couples are allowed to perform other religious and traditional ceremonies; these, however, are not recognized by law.
The marriage must take place in the municipality where either or both spouses reside, and couples may decide the venue for their civil ceremony. Instead of using the town hall or registry office, the marriage can be performed at the residence of the partners, and marriage witnesses are not required. This country is one of the few countries in the world where marriage witnesses are not needed during a civil marriage. This article is a full guide to everything you need to know about marriage in Luxembourg.

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