Getting engaged | Everything you need to know

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Getting married

Getting married

Before you say "I do" to each other, you will go to the municipality to get your marriage licence. What exactly this entails and what you need to arrange for this is unclear to many couples. This article tells you everything you need to know about getting married in absentia.

What is betrothal?


The term betrothal is still widely used, but is no longer the official term. In fact, since 2018, betrothal is called "Notification of Intended Marriage" and is also communicated that way by municipalities.

Getting married in marriage sounds complicated. Fortunately, it is not that complicated! When you apply for a marriage licence, you give the necessary details and wishes for the wedding. Once the application is confirmed, you have permission to get married together.

When are you getting married in marriage?

A complete last-minute wedding is not possible in the Netherlands. You go into a period of remarriage no later than two weeks before your wedding day. Although some municipalities indicate they want to know 4 to 6 weeks in advance, they are not allowed to refuse a notice of remarriage as long as this is reported 14 days before the wedding. You can also choose to arrange this earlier. This is a year before the wedding at the earliest. If there is more than a year between the notification and the wedding, the remarriage must be reapplied for.

There is one exception to the rule. A last-minute application is possible in major cases of exception, such as terminally ill people. You can make an urgent notification to the Public Prosecutor in this case

Where are you getting your marriage inaugurated?

You arrange a submarriage application via a municipal official or via an online registration form. You can do this with your DigiD. Please note: this application should be made to the municipality where you are getting married, not in the municipality where you live. During the application you fill in all the necessary details after which you will receive confirmation if the application has been approved.

How to get married in marriage

If you decide to apply at the town hall, make an appointment by phone. If you want to apply online, do so via the website of the municipality where you are getting married. Before you can apply for a notice of marriage, you must first check whether you meet the terms.

Why do you have to go in remarriage first?

You will enter a civil marriage so that the municipality can check whether you meet the legally established requirements. There may also be an objection from a family member or acquaintance in the period between the application and the marriage. Fortunately, this almost never happens!

What are the conditions of a marriage?

Getting married is not always allowed. Before stepping into the marriage boat, you must meet the following conditions:

  • You and your partner are both at least 18 years old. Even if you marry abroad as a minor, the marriage will not be recognised by the Dutch government.
  • You are not allowed to already have an active marriage or registered partnership with another person.
  • It is forbidden to marry immediate relatives (parents, grandparents and children). Marrying a cousin, on the other hand, is allowed.
  • Under guardianship, it is not allowed to marry without permission.
  • Your mental state must be good enough to make an optimal choice. This includes free will during the application. Both persons should be sober when making this choice.

What does a subfidelity application cost?

You pay a one-off fee for a subfiduciary application. These are sent together with the costs for other activities in one invoice. These include the costs of hiring the town hall, the salary of the wedding officiant, any civil service costs for processing the application and drawing up the marriage certificate.

The empty costs vary from one municipality to another and can vary by day and time. Marriage is often free on Monday and Tuesday mornings because these marriages are not performed in a wedding hall, but in an office or coffee room.

The wedding booklet is not included in this cost, but can be ordered extra for a few tens extra. You do not get this automatically, unless the municipality works with wedding packages. This is then explicitly mentioned.

What do you need to arrange for a submarriage application?

There are a number of things that need to be arranged before or during the application. Below is an overview of all regulations and obligations:

Decide which way you will get married

Before you can get married, you decide how you will do this. If you do not report anything, you will automatically marry in community of property.

Marrying in community of property

When you get married, you automatically do so in community of property. This is everything you and your partner build up: money, assets, goods and debts. In the event of a divorce, all the assets you have built up together will be divided fairly. In marriages before 2018, this included inheritances and gifts. Existing debts and assets before the marriage also belonged to your partner from now on. Nowadays, this is no longer within the arrangement. Marrying in community of property is risky. If one of you accumulates debts without the other's knowledge or goes into the red because of your own business, you are automatically partly responsible for this.

Marrying under a prenuptial agreement

If you want to get married but keep future debts and assets for yourself, you can make an appointment with the notary to do so. You will then marry under a prenuptial agreement. During this appointment, you will discuss what arrangements you want to make.

Report witnesses

Before you can get married, it is mandatory to register 2 to 4 witnesses. For a marriage under unique circumstances, you sometimes need 6 witnesses. Think of a marriage from the hospital or prison. A child does not count as a witness. A witness is registered through the municipality. This too can often be done via an online form.

Please provide the surname

You can hire a wedding officiant from the municipality, or an independent officiant for the ceremony of your wedding. If you choose a municipality wedding officiant, you can express a preference to a specific officiant. However, this is a preference, and cannot be insured.

An independent wedding officiant is appointed officiant in his or her own municipality. In every other municipality that this officiant marries a couple, he or she must be appointed as an officiant in that municipality once. Not every municipality does this, which means you cannot hire an independent wedding officiant in every municipality.

Sign marriage certificates

At the application for a marriage licence, you sign the marriage certificate. This document makes a marriage official and is stored in the marriage register. The marriage booklet is often confused with marriage certificates. This booklet lists marriage details and children and witnesses. The marriage booklet is not an official document.

Enter the wedding date and location

You will also specify the date and location of your wedding. You should think carefully about this; you cannot change it later unless you apply for a new marriage licence. Make sure you book a venue in time. CBS concludes that Friday is by far the most popular wedding day. Valentine´s Day and other holidays also do well. If you want to get married on a ´special´ date, it is wise to arrange this on time. This will ensure that your chosen venue is still available. Arrange this before you apply for a marriage licence.

Pass on the official

You can hire a wedding officiant from the municipality, or an independent officiant for the ceremony of your wedding. Again, you need to have made a final decision on this before you get married in marriage.

Required documents

You will need the documents below for a subfidelity application:

  • An ID card or passport,
  • The witness form with an attached copy of credentials of all witnesses,
  • If you choose a wedding officiant from the municipality, you need to fill out a separate form for this,
  • If you marry at a wedding venue that is not registered with the municipality, a separate form must also be filled in for this,
  • Any residence documents.

Some municipalities also want to see a birth certificate and any divorce or death certificates of previous partners. You should check this with your municipality.

Practical tips

You now know how to get married in marriage, what to think about and what you need. Still, extra tips can never hurt!

Collect all data at once

Schedule an afternoon to collect all the necessary data and forms. Do not do this during the application. This is chaotic, confusing and frustrating. It is more comfortable to put everything aside so that the application goes smoothly and quickly.

Talk to each other before the application

There are many decisions to be made during a submarriage application. Think about how and where you want to get married. You will also choose the witnesses together. So talk to each other at length before you start the application.

Don't walk around with questions for too long

Because each municipality has a slightly different procedure for submitting an application for a letter of subordination, uncertainties and questions may arise. Do not hesitate to call the telephone number of your commune.

Make it something fun!

There is unfortunately nothing you can do about it: getting married involves some administration. Don't fret about it for too long, it's just a small effort. In the 20e century, getting engaged was seen as a celebration. It was the official start of the wedding days. Visitors were invited and the couple received presents. Nowadays, getting married induction is seen as an obstacle. This is a shame! After all, it is the perfect reason for a celebration. You are getting married now, which is also great fun. Open a nice bottle of wine, go out for dinner or spend a weekend at the seaside. Above all, make it a fun party!

Who proposed to you and how did it go? Let us know in the comments below!

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About the Author: Justin Manders

Thanks for reading this article! Above all, let me know what you want to see. You can see my entire portfolio view. In my opinion, I have the most fun profession in the world. Together with Nathalie, I have been photographing for just over seven years now and I have learned the most by getting to know many people. I think the camera is just a tool and it is the people who make the photo.
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