Rotterdam Wedding: How to Legally Wed in a Foreign City

As a wedding photographer in the Netherlands, I have been fortunate to witness countless beautiful love stories unfold against the stunning backdrop of Rotterdam. It’s not only the picturesque landscapes that make Rotterdam a popular destination for couples to say “I do,” but also the smooth and straightforward process of legally marrying in this vibrant city. For couples from abroad seeking to tie the knot in Rotterdam, this blog will serve as a comprehensive guide to navigate the legalities and create a magical wedding experience.

Residency Requirements

One of the most attractive aspects of marrying in Rotterdam as a foreigner is that there are no residency requirements. Unlike some countries that demand a minimum stay before granting marriage licenses, the Netherlands allows non-resident couples to get married without any waiting period.

Legal Age and Capacity

Before planning your dream wedding in Rotterdam, it’s essential to ensure that both partners meet the legal age requirement. The minimum age for marriage in the Netherlands is 18 years. Additionally, both parties must have the mental capacity to enter into a marriage contract willingly.

Gather the Required Documents

To legalize your marriage in Rotterdam, you’ll need to present certain documents to the municipality. These typically include:

Valid passports or national identity cards.

Birth certificates issued within the last six months.

Certificates of no impediment (a document stating that you are free to marry, issued by your home country’s authorities).

If applicable, divorce or death certificates of any previous spouse(s).

Legalizing and Translating Documents

Most foreign documents will need to be legalized with an apostille or an authentication certificate from your home country’s authorities. Additionally, any documents not in Dutch will require an official translation. Fortunately, many countries have embassies or consulates in the Netherlands that can assist with these processes.

Choose Your Wedding Venue

Rotterdam offers a plethora of enchanting venues for your special day, from historic castles to modern architectural marvels. Whether you prefer an intimate ceremony by the river or a grand celebration in a luxurious ballroom, the city has something to suit every couple’s taste and style.

Check out my favorite picks here!

Notify the Municipality

Approximately six to eight weeks before your wedding day, it is crucial to inform the municipality of your intention to marry. This notification can be done online through the official website of the municipality of Rotterdam or in person at the city’s Civil Affairs office.

The Wedding Day

On your wedding day, you will need at least two witnesses present during the ceremony. The wedding ceremony can be conducted in Dutch or, if needed, with the assistance of an interpreter. After exchanging vows and rings, the officiant will sign the marriage certificate, and you’ll be legally married in the Netherlands!


Once the ceremony is complete, you can request multiple copies of your marriage certificate from the municipality. These documents may be needed for legal processes in your home country or for visa purposes if you plan to reside in the Netherlands.

As a wedding photographer, my heart swells with joy witnessing love conquering borders and uniting souls in the magical city of Rotterdam. By following this guide, you can navigate the legalities with ease and focus on creating memories that will last a lifetime. So, to all the lovebirds out there dreaming of a destination wedding, Rotterdam welcomes you with open arms and a plethora of picture-perfect moments!

Other Options for Your Wedding

Symbolic Ceremony

A symbolic ceremony is a non-legally binding celebration of love and commitment between two individuals. Unlike a legal wedding, a symbolic ceremony does not require any legal documentation or government involvement. It is purely a symbolic gesture performed to mark the beginning of a couple’s journey together. Here are some key aspects of a symbolic ceremony:

Flexibility and Personalization

Since there are no legal requirements to adhere to, couples have the freedom to personalize every aspect of the ceremony. They can choose their own vows, incorporate cultural or religious traditions, and design the event to reflect their unique love story.

Location and Venue

Couples can hold a symbolic ceremony in any location they desire. Whether it’s on a beautiful beach, in a lush garden, or on a mountaintop, the options are limitless. This flexibility often leads to breathtaking and unforgettable backdrops for the ceremony.

Check out some of my favorite Airbnbs!

Guest List

A symbolic ceremony is typically more intimate, allowing couples to invite only their closest family and friends. It eliminates the pressure of inviting extended family or acquaintances that may be present in larger traditional weddings.

Minimal Legal Requirements

Since the ceremony is symbolic, there is no need to deal with complex legal procedures or documentation. This can be especially appealing to couples who wish to avoid the bureaucratic process or who come from different countries with complicated marriage laws.


Couples can have a symbolic ceremony at any time they choose, whether it’s on their actual wedding anniversary or a date that holds special significance for them.

Destination Elopement

A destination elopement takes the idea of a symbolic ceremony one step further, combining the intimacy of a small wedding with the adventure of traveling to a picturesque location. Here’s what makes a destination elopement unique:

Privacy and Intimacy

Elopements are known for their utmost privacy, allowing couples to share their vows in an intimate setting without the presence of a large audience. It creates a sense of closeness and exclusivity between the couple.

Adventure and Romance

Choosing a stunning destination for an elopement adds an element of adventure and romance to the entire experience. Many couples opt for breathtaking landscapes, charming destinations, or exotic locations to create a truly memorable elopement.

Emphasis on the Couple

Elopements are all about the couple’s love and commitment to each other. With fewer distractions and formalities, they can focus solely on their connection and the significance of the moment.

Easing the Planning Process

Destination elopements are often simpler to plan than traditional weddings. Many resorts and venues offer elopement packages that take care of all the arrangements, including the ceremony, flowers, photography, and sometimes even a celebratory dinner.

Opportunity for Adventure Photography

Elopements in beautiful destinations open up the chance to capture stunning and adventurous photos. Couples can have their special moments documented against breathtaking backdrops, creating cherished memories for a lifetime.

Both symbolic ceremonies and destination elopements offer couples the freedom to celebrate their love authentically and intimately. Whether you’re dreaming of a romantic beachside elopement or a symbolic ceremony in a hidden garden, these alternative wedding options can create an unforgettable experience, leaving you with memories to cherish for years to come.

Let’s connect to plan your Rotterdam Special Occasion!

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