Marriage laws around the world

Your wedding day is supposed to be one of the happiest days of your life. Whether you’re the groom waiting at the alter or the bride walking down the aisle, it’s a moment you’re going to remember for the rest of your life.

According to research, the average UK wedding in 2017 cost £15,000, even though 61% of couples made their own favours. Twenty-seven per cent of us chose a church or religious building to hold the ceremony, while one in five decided to get married in a hotel.

Rather surprisingly, although it is perceived to be cheap to get married in a different country, only five per cent of the British public opted to get married abroad. This could be due to some locations requiring a minimum stay of residency before you tie the knot. In Italy, for example, you should arrive in the country between four and seven days before the service, depending on where in the country your big day is taking place.

While wedding laws in our country are pretty straight forward, that isn’t the case everywhere. Here, with Lake District Country Hotels, which offers a range of packages for weddings at the Lake District, we look at the weird, the wonderful and the quirky marriage laws that are in place around the world.

Marrying afterlife

In France, you can legally marry a dead person. While this may sound morbid, it’s actually a law that if you intended to marry the person before their death, then you can still go ahead with the ceremony if they pass away. There must be members of the deceased person’s family present at the posthumous marriage for it to be approved by law, though.

Your wife can legally kill you

Okay, so this sounds dramatic, but if you cheat on your wife in Hong Kong, she is legally allowed to kill you! The only requirement is that she does so with her bare hands. Brutal!

Forget-my-birthday-not

Don’t forget your wife’s birthday if you’re in Samoa! While you just end up in the dog house if you miss your partner’s birthday in most countries, it’s actually illegal to do so in Samoa, so the chocolates and grovelling simply won’t cut it.

No minimum age

In 2015, Saudi Arabia failed to push through a law making it illegal to marry under the age of 15. Unfortunately, the fact that anyone can get married at any age has led to issues in the country, including an eight-year-old girl failing to be granted a divorce from her abusive husband who was more than 50 years her senior.

Kidnap to marry

In most situations, either the bride or groom has successfully ‘wooed’ their partner and both fall in love. This isn’t always the case for couples in the Roma communities across the globe. According to a centuries-old tradition, if a man can ‘successfully’ kidnap a girl and keep her by their side for three days, then she will become his wife.

Inform the world

Some of us like the quiet life and choose to have a discreet wedding. However, in Monaco, your business is everyone else’s too when it comes to being wed. You must inform the community of your marriage by sticking a note on the door of the Town Hall for 10 days!

Of course, states throughout America have their own wacky wedding rules. Here is a pick of the craziest:

Kill to marry

Yes, you read that correctly. On Cape Cod, the town of Truro voted for every single man to kill six blackbirds or three crows before they are allowed to get married. This law apparently dates back to 1771, when the area had an issue with birds eating crops.

Marrying into your own family

In Utah, marrying your first cousin is allowed — as long as they’re over 55. If both partners are over 55 and can’t reproduce, then it’s legally accepted for the pair to tie the knot.

No drunks allowed

Unlike in Las Vegas, Mississippi will not grant you a marriage license if the registrar believes either the bride or groom are intoxicated — so don’t hit the bottle too early! The circuit court clerk may also reject your license if they believe you to be ‘insane’ or an ‘imbecile’.

Marrying without the bride and groom

Normally, they’re the most important part of a wedding party. However, in Montana, the bride and groom don’t have to be in attendance on their big day. The ‘double proxy’ wedding law, intended to allow members of the Armed Forces to wed, enables both the bride and groom to authorise someone to stand in their place during the ceremony.

All or nothing

While you don’t enter into marriage thinking of divorce, often separations lead to messy law suits into who gets what. Well, if you’re a woman, head to Alabama. There, unless you enter into a pre-nuptial agreement, the woman gets to keep all the possessions you acquired prior to the marriage. Unfortunately, the same allowance isn’t made if you’re a man.

So, there you have it; a weird and wonderful rundown of the dos and don’ts when you say ‘I do’ across the globe. Wherever you plan to tie the knot, we hope it’s the best day of your life and you both live happily ever after together.

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