Normally, there are 3 ways to register your legal marriage in Hong Kong.
First, you can engage a lawyer as your Civil Celebrant of Marriages to hold your marriage registration in your wedding venue.
Second, you can have the ceremony at a licensed place of worship, and the clergy will be the Civil Celebrant of Marriages.
Third, the marriage can be celebrated in Hong Kong at a marriage registry by a Registrar and witnesses.
The Third one is the most common one that many couples would like to have there marriage ceremony take place in the Marriage Registry.
Though it looks like it’s the easiest one…
Submit the form…wait for the confirmation… and finally celebrate the marriage…
Actually, there are loads of things you need to know about and to note that down.
Not just the procedure, but also the many other points.
“And just one mistake, is all it will take…”
Even a tiny little mistake can ruin your Big Day.
If you want your Big Day to be perfect…
Plan your day with the tips that INES WEDDINGS is going to share with you…
And you’ll be just fine!
About the Procedure
1. Appointment Booking for Giving a Notice of Intend Marriage
If the you and your partner are living in Hong Kong, one or both of you are required to give the notice at the marriage registry in person or through civil celebrant of marriages.
Remember, you have to make an appointment booking of it.
As for how long in advance to make the appointment…
…it depends on if you are going to celebrate your marriage in the marriage registry.
At the time of making the appointment booking for giving notice…
…if your plan is to have it celebrated at a marriage registry on a selected date in a specific marriage hall…
…you should make the appointment within 14 days before the 3-month period from the date of marriage.
Therefore, the earlier you confirm the date of marriage, the greater chance you can reserve the date and place you want.
(Especially those who plan to have their marriage in an auspicious date or holiday!)
2. Prepare the Documents
To give a notice, both you and your partner are required to provide a series of identity information.
In order to shorten the processing time at the Registrar’s office of giving the notice, you can submit the required information in advance.
You can submit the information by using the online service（This service is only applicable to marrying parties who have already made an appointment for giving of notice of intended marriage.）
You can download the ‘Information Required for Registration of Marriage’ (Form MR21B) for completion and submit the completed form at the time the notice is given.
（Noted: the information sheet is neither an application form nor a notice.）
3. Give a Notice of Intended Marriage
At the appointment day, either one of you and your partner should go to the selected marriage registry in person to give the notice…
…and produce the Hong Kong identity cards/ travel documents/ identification documents of both of you.
Also, remember to pay the fee HKD305 for filing and exhibition of the notice.
If you plan to celebrate your marriage at a marriage registry, you can select the date and reserve a specific marriage hall at the time you give the notice.
（Noted: Successfully or not to reserve a hall&date is all depends on the available capacity of various marriage registries. So, better to think of several preference）
4. Collect the Certificate of Registrar of Marriages
After giving the notice, Part I of the notice will be exhibited at the marriage registries for at least 15 days.
If no objection is received after this period(15 clear days), you will be given the Certificate of Registrar of Marriages and could take place the marriage within 3 months after collected the certificate.
5. Celebration of Marriage
…remember you and your partner should attend the reserved registry 15minutes before the arranged time.
Also, remember to bring the Hong Kong identity cards (or valid travel documents) and be accompanied by two adults(aged 18 or above) to act and sign as witnesses.
On the wedding day, you will first meet the registrar and pay the registration fee.
Then, you and your partner shall address each other to the marriage oath that witness by the registrar and witnesses, and shall sign a certificate of marriage.
There will be two certificate of marriage:
- The original will be issued to you and your partner;
- The duplicate will be kept by the Registrar of Marriages.
6. Marrying Parties who are Living Outside Hong Kong
You and your parter can also get marry in Hong Kong and celebrate your marriage at a marriage registry even if one/both of you are foreigners or living outside Hong Kong.
The following is what you need to know about the procedure:
• You should write direct to the Marriage Registration and Records Office or E-mail to email@example.com for a copy of “Notice of Intended Marriage form” and information sheet “Information Required for Registration of Marriage”.
• The completed notice form with your signature should be authenticated by a Notary Public of the country where you live.
(Noted: if you are living in different countries, the form is only required to be authenticated by a Notary Public of the country where one of you lives）
• The authenticated notice, the completed information sheet should be send with the supporting documents and the bank draft being the payment of HK$305 payable to “The Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region” by registered airmail.
(or submit through your contact person in Hong Kong or a civil celebrant of marriages to the office.）
• If you intend to celebrate your marriage at the marriage registry, you may indicate your preference about the date of marriage and registry on the information sheet（You may provide several preferences）
• After your arrival at Hong Kong, you should attend the office OR meet your civil celebrant, bringing along your travel documents and originals of the documents.
• The party giving the notice should make an affidavit before the Registrar or the civil celebrant.（Must be issued before the Certificate of Registrar of Marriages is given）
• Noted: No marriage shall be celebrated in a licensed place of worship or by a civil celebrant in the absence of a Certificate of Registrar of Marriages.
For more details: Immigration Department-Marriage Registration
Other Points to Note
7. The Position of the Registry
You should consider carefully about the position of the registry.
Is the registry which you prefer is too far away from the groom’s house?
If yes, better go for another one.
Also, consider about the traffic condition of the district where the registry in before you confirm the time of the registration in order to prevent you miss the auspicious time on the wedding day.
8. The Capacity of Each Marriage Hall
Different marriage registry with different size of marriage hall.
You should estimate there will be how many guests attending your wedding before you reserve a marriage hall.
For example, if there are only less than 10 people attending the ceremony, you should reserve a smaller hall.
If you reserved a hall with 75 capacity but there are only 10 people there, everyone may going to be so embarrassed.
So, look at the capacity of each hall and estimate number of guests before you reserve the marriage hall!
The area of each marriage registry and the accommodated capacity for the wedding ceremony of marriage registries are as follows:
• City Hall Marriage Registry: around 45 seat ; 30 standing
• Cotton Tree Drive: around 32 seat ; 12 standing
• Tsim Sha Tsui: UB, around 40 seat ; 25 standing ; 3/F, around 16 seat ; 12 standing
• Sha Tin: around 25 seat ; 15 standing
• Tuen Mun: around 35 seat; 22 standing
9. Wedding Dress
So… brides, think carefully when you choose the wedding dress!
The church is capacious that very suitable for the bride to wear a long Chapel gown or short ball gowns with layers. That will make the bride look gorgeous…
However, the hall in marriage registry are usually very small with narrow passage…
Even if you wear a long chapel gown or a ball gowns with so many layers…
That will only makes you look heavy.
Instead of choosing those complicated wedding gowns…
Choose the simple one, like the A-line column wedding dress. It makes you look gorgeous even in a small hall!
10. Pay Attention to Time of the Ceremony
The whole marriage ceremony in marriage registry will usually takes 15 minutes.
You and your partner do not have much time to greet every guests…
Therefore, you should better have your bridesmaids or groomsman to help serve the guests.
If you want to chat with your guests, wait until the ceremony is done and have a happy chat outside the registry.
11. March in & March Out
After the ceremony is done, have your guests leave first to wait for you and your partner march out.
Imagine if you and your partner leave before the guests…and you two standing alone outside the hall waiting the guests come out…
Is it very embarrassing that seems no one is giving you blessing after you just get married?
12. Group Photo
If you celebrate your marriage in a capacious church, there are usually a rundown and a person to make sure the photo-taking section goes smoothly;
However, in the marriage registry… The place is small that will always make the photo-taking section goes badly.
Therefore, you should better have one of your groomsman to help you to arrange the photo-taking…(e.g. the order)
Besides, remember to take group photo first(with all guests)!
Because many guests will just leave after they have took the photo with you as they usually don’t care about the group photo…
If you don’t want to have any regrets…Take photo with every guests in a group first!
Follow the Procedure Arrange Everything Carefully
If you don’t want to have any mistakes or imperfections in your Once-a-life-time Big Day…
Remember just to follow the procedure to apply for the registration and plan every little details carefully!
For more information details about marriage registration in Hong Kong Marriage Registry, you can check this out — Immigration Department-Marriage Registration .