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court weddings in ghana

Court Weddings In Ghana -All You Need To Know

Amongst the three types of weddings- religious, traditional, and court weddings in Ghana, court weddings are the most affordable mostly because they don’t require all the glitz and glamour like the others.

Of course, they still require some non-negotiables like a wedding dress or gown based on the bride’s preference, and for some wedding guests, it is not mostly unexaggerated hence a budget of 2,000 Ghana Cedis and above can work perfectly fine depending on how the couple chooses to celebrate their wedding.

What is a Court Wedding?

Court weddings are marriage ceremonies performed at the marriage registry, courthouse, or any place authorized but not necessarily a place of worship. One is at liberty to call a court wedding a civil marriage ceremony or a legal wedding as they are synonymous.

Fortunately, several registries are allowed to perform such ceremonies- the A.E.M.A Marriage Registry located on Kanda Road near the 37 Military Hospital, The Registrar General’s Department also along Kinbu Road in Accra close to the Ghana News Agency, the Registry Office, Accra or Tema Community 1 at the Tema Municipal Assembly. Most municipal assemblies can also serve as a place to have a court wedding.

Now that we have explored some venue options for your civil wedding, let’s delve into the process and requirements needed for consummating a court marriage.

The Process and Requirements of Getting Married in Court in Ghana 

1. Meet All Requirements

First and foremost the couple has to meet all requirements. According to the Registrar General Department, these requirements are; 

  • Each partner must be 18 years old and above as that is the legal age in Ghana. Individuals under this age require parental consent to marry.
  • Partners must be of sound mind.
  • An applicant may obtain the prescribed Declaration Form and complete it with the assistance of the Marriage Registrar.
  • They must be single, or not in any existing marriage except in the case where the partners are customarily married as husband and wife. To confirm this, Both parties are required to provide an affidavit stating their marital status.
  • Copies of Divorce or death Certificates of a Party/Parties who have been married in the past should be submitted during the filing/registration of the marriage and should be in English.
  • At least one of the couples has been a resident of the district where the marriage is to take place for a minimum of twenty-one days before giving notice.
  • Two witnesses are required to be present during the ceremony. These witnesses must be at least 21 years old and possess valid identification.
  • If the couple are not Ghanaians, they are to produce residence permits or must stay in the country for more than 15 working days.
  • Photocopies and originals of valid identification (e.g., passports, national IDs), are to be submitted.   

 2. File a Notice

Now, if a couple is set with all the requirements they can go ahead and file a notice of marriage 21 days prior to signing the marriage certificate. To do this the couple simply visit the local district court or marriage registry to fill out an application for marriage. This application typically requires personal information, such as names, ages, occupations, and addresses.

 3. Publishing of the Names of the Parties

After filing the notice of marriage,  the names of the couple are published on the Assembly’s’ notice board to inform the general public of the intended marriage. This allows time for any objections to be raised, although objections are relatively rare.

  4. Solemnization

Once the notice period has passed without any objections, the couple can schedule a date for the marriage ceremony. During the ceremony, an appointed officer conducts the legal marriage proceedings, which include the exchange of vows and signing of the marriage register.

It is important to note that the marriage certificate has to be signed within 3 months. If not, the couple will be required to refile as the certificate would have expired.

  5. After the ceremony, a marriage certificate is issued to the couple. This document serves as legal proof of the marriage and is often required for various administrative purposes, such as changing marital status on official documents.

READ ALSO:  The Ultimate Guide to Owing a Home after Marriage

What’s the Cost Involved?

Fees differ across registries, but if your registry is within the Ga East Municipal Assembly, you can expect the cost for a customary marriage between Ghanaian residents to be 80 Ghana cedis, whereas an ordinance marriage would be 120 Ghana cedis.

If both parties are non-residents in Ghana, the cost of the Customary marriage is 200 Ghana cedis while the Ordinance is 250 Ghana cedis. 

As of March 2024, to celebrate the marriage, usage of the assembly’s hall is 100 Ghana cedis.  A certified original copy of the marriage certificate is priced at 75 Ghana cedis.  

READ ALSO:  Some of the Best Honeymoon Destinations in Ghana 

Some Pros of Court Marriage in Ghana

  1. Legal Recognition: Court marriages are legally binding and provide official recognition of your marital status under Ghanaian law.
  2. Simple and cost-effective: Court weddings are less complex to arrange compared to traditional weddings. It is also more budget-friendly compared to elaborate traditional ceremonies.

3. Flexibility: You have more flexibility in scheduling and location, which can be advantageous for couples with busy lives. Court weddings are easier to customize in terms of curating personal marriage vows.

Some Cons of Court Marriage in Ghana

  • Viewed as unromantic: Some women view court weddings as unromantic as most of them have fantasized about having grand and elaborate weddings all their lives. Hence, they opt for these types of weddings if they can afford it.
  • It takes time: It takes a couple of weeks to file your notice, and have it published on the notice board, before the actual solemnization happens, unlike the traditional and religious marriage that can happen in a day or a few hours based on the financial capacity and how grand the couple wants it to be. All the same, traditional marriages will still have to have a court wedding to be legally recognized by the state.

How Long Does the Wedding Take?

The main ceremony could last for about 20 minutes; sometimes, the duration of court marriage in Ghana may depend on several factors, including the court’s workload and the availability of the couple and witnesses. Generally, the process, from applying the actual ceremony, can take a few weeks to a couple of months. 

READ ALSO: Get Online Wedding Invitations 

Final Take

Court weddings in Ghana provide a convenient and legally binding way for couples to celebrate their love and commitment without having to break the bank. While they may lack the elaborate cultural and religious elements of traditional ceremonies, they hold legal value and offer a streamlined process that appeals to many couples. Would you like to have only a court wedding or would you add the traditional and white wedding to yours? The choice is and always should be yours.  

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