Getting Married in Kenya

July 23, 2012. Written by

Kenya is a land of open savannah plains, majestic mountains, lush forests and beautiful coastlines, so it’s no wonder that it is an increasingly popular wedding destination. Couples are choosing to combine their special day with a holiday of a lifetime, including the thrills of a luxury safari and time to relax on the pristine white sandy beaches of the Indian Ocean.

Pinewood in Kenya

Image courtesy of Porini

The guaranteed sunshine of the African climate (if you avoid the main rainy season between April and May) means that there is one less thing to worry about in the run up to your big day.

If you think that to get married in Kenya there will be a plethora of paperwork and official red tape then think again. A wedding ceremony is relatively simple to organise if you receive the correct support and advice of a tour operator or wedding planner.

Kenya offers a variety of wedding options – you can have a religious ceremony in a church, a civil ceremony in a Register Office or a civil ceremony, blessing or renewal of vows in a beautiful setting such as a luxury safari camp or an up-market beach hotel.

Religious Ceremonies

Christian, Islamic, Traditional African and Hindu ceremonies are all possible and recognised under Kenyan law. The Kenyan Registrar will hold records of Christian ceremonies, and Marriage Certificates are issued for Christian, Hindu and Islamic ceremonies. Affidavits are issued for traditional African ceremonies.

It is important to note that many Kenyan churches use the African Christian Marriage & Divorce Act which is not suitable for non-Africans who can only get married under the Marriage Act (Cap 150/1), so ensure that you check this with your chosen church when you contact them for all their relevant terms/conditions and paperwork.

Couples wanting an Islamic, Hindu or African ceremony should contact the Registrar of Marriages in the first instance to get further information on the terms and conditions.

Civil Ceremonies

If a religious ceremony is not for you, or if you’d prefer to wed in a special location, a civil ceremony can be arranged. In Kenya a civil ceremony can be held in a Register Office or at a venue that holds a special license for weddings (check this in advance).

Blessings / Renewal of Vows

Couples can organise to have a blessing ceremony to celebrate their union, or married couples may choose to renew their vows. These can take place in a choice of beautiful locations and with very little paperwork, though no official certificates are supplied.

Kenya Safari Wedding

Image courtesy of Porini

Special License

A couple would normally need to notify their church and the office of the Registrar General at least 21 days before the wedding date. However a special license can be issued from the Registrar of Marriages if this requirement cannot be met (i.e. if a couple are due to arrive in Kenya just a few days before the wedding). This enables the marriage to still be recognised under the Marriage Act.

A special license is also required for a civil ceremony at a venue other than a Register Office.

Before travel you will need to send certain documents (see below) to the Registrar of Marriages in order to apply for the special license. You will then need to arrive in Kenya at least four days in advance of your wedding in order to finalise all the paperwork.

Required Documents

The following documentation is required (and if not in English an official translation should be attached to the originals):

  • Valid passports / identity cards and visas
  • Birth Certificates
  • An affidavit from a solicitor or notary declaring that you are both single and eligible to marry
  • If under 21 years, written permission from parents / guardians (in the form of an affidavit)
  • If divorced, a Decree Absolute
  • If widowed, previous Marriage Certificate and spouse’s Death Certificate
  • If adopted, all adoption papers
  • If you have changed your name, all relevant paperwork
  • If you plan to marry in a church it is helpful to supply a supporting letter from your home priest / pastor

Porini Safari Camp

Image courtesy of Porini

Kenya Safari Weddings

Where better to celebrate your wedding than in a romantic and tranquil setting, within stunning scenery and surrounded by the sounds of the bush. It is no wonder that such a scene set the ambiance for Prince William to propose to Kate Middleton – this is where their fairytale began.

But you don’t have to be Royalty to get treated as such in Kenya. Service comes with a genuine smile from people that want your stay to be as perfect as you do.

To ensure a personal experience head for a private conservation area – these are Africa’s best kept secret. These exclusive game reserves are away from the crowds and have unsurpassed game-viewing with the opportunity to see all of Africa’s “Big Five” as well as many other important species.

For example, the multi award-winning Porini Safari Camps offer perfect settings for unique civil ceremonies, renewal of vows or blessings. The camps are each set on vast areas of pristine wilderness, away from other camps and lodges. Porini guests benefit from top-quality game drives in areas set aside exclusively for their enjoyment – these private drives get close to nature without other tourist vehicles spoiling the view.

Wedding ceremonies can be arranged at private, scenic viewpoints with stunning vistas across the game-filled landscape. Maasai traditional customs and blessings can be included to make a very special and spiritual experience.

A wedding package includes:

  • Full assistance with wedding planning
  • Private romantic dinner in the wilderness
  • Floral decoration
  • Wedding cake
  • Traditional Maasai singing ceremony
  • Traditional Maasai Elders blessings
  • A bottle of sparkling wine
  • A present for the bride and groom
  • Assistance with photography
  • Registrar (including all fees and Wedding Certificate)
  • Witnesses (if required)

With optional extras such as:

  • Photography / Video
  • Exclusive use of camp for wedding party

Kenya Beach Weddings

Many couples dream of an exotic wedding on an idyllic white beach – and Kenya’s beautiful coastline is perfect. A broad range of luxury and boutique hotels on the Kenya coast offer civil ceremonies or blessings / renewal of vows surrounded by colourful tropical gardens or overlooking the azure waters of the Indian Ocean. Ceremonies on the ocean can also be arranged – in a traditional dhow boat. To feel extra-special, it is worth looking for a hotel that guarantees only one wedding per day.

For example, Pinewood Village Beach Resort & Spa is set on the stunning Galu Beach and a typical wedding package includes:

  • Decorated setting / gazebo
  • Registrar (including all fees and Wedding Certificate)
  • Witnesses (if required)
  • Special reception meal
  • Simple bridal bouquet (and pin-hole for the groom)
  • Simple one-tier cake
  • Cocktails / sparkling wine
  • Dedicated wedding co-ordinator
  • Spa treatments for couple

With optional extras such as:

  • Photography / Video
  • Extra flowers
  • Larger cake
  • Choir
  • Maasai dancers

Whether you are planning a quiet, low-key ceremony with just the two of you or whether you have big plans for a large family celebration your tour operator or wedding planner can help you devise your dream wedding.

We have lots of great weddings abroad advice on Confetti!


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Getting married in Kenya

June 6, 2006. Written by

Have your wedding on a tropical beach, or in the excitement of a safari park…

Why get married in Kenya?

Combining a wedding on the beautiful Kenyan coast with the excitement of a honeymoon safari is one of the most memorable experiences you can have.

Kenya is split in half by the equator. The region north of the equator is hot and receives very little rain. The southern region falls into three zones: the coast is humid; the highlands are temperate; and the Lake Victoria region is tropical.

The coast has much to offer, with wonderful beaches and a variety of water sports. Inland are the peaks of Mount Kenya and Kilimanjaro, while the open savannah plains are home to Kenya’s magnificent wildlife.

What kind of wedding ceremony can I have in Kenya?

You can choose from a religious ceremony in a church, a civil ceremony in a Register Office or, much more exciting, a service on a tropical beach on in a safari park.

Bear in mind that you will need to contact the Registrar General for a special licence specifying your desired place. If you want a religious ceremony you should contact your church for arrangements and information regarding requirements.

Is it wedding weather?

  Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Max temp (°F)* 87 87 90 89 85 83 82 83 84 86 88 88
Sunshine hours* 8 9 9 8 6 8 7 8 8 9 9 9
Rainfall (inches)* 0 0 1 6 13 6 4 2 2 2 2 1
*Average daily max temp (°F)
*Average daily sunshine hours
*Average monthly rainfall (inches)

What’s the flight time?

10 hours

What’s the time difference?

GMT +3

Do I need a visa to enter the country?

All visitors require an entry visa. This can be obtained from the Kenyan High Commission in London (see  Where can I find further information? ) or on arrival in Kenya.

What’s the wedding paperwork?

  • Residency In normal circumstances, residency in Kenya is 21 days. If this is not possible, a Special Licence can be obtained beforehand by contacting the Registrar’s Office in Kenya. (For address, see Where can I find further information?). With this, no period of residency is necessary.
  • Proof of ID You will need to produce your original birth certificates and valid 10‐year passports.
  • Proof of status A statutory declaration must be obtained stating that you are both single and free to marry. This must be stamped and sealed and state the words "solicitor", "notary public" or "Commissioner of Oaths". Handwritten documents are not accepted.
  • Divorced If you are divorced you must produce your Decree Absolute with a court stamp.
  • Widowed If either of you is widowed you must provide the death certificate of your deceased spouse.
  • Age restrictions If you’re under 21, you’ll need to obtain parental consent in the form of a Statutory Declaration stamped and signed by a solicitor.
  • Name change If your name has been changed by Deed Poll you must provide legal proof stamped and signed by a solicitor. This also applies if you are a divorced woman and have reverted back to your maiden name.
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