Your Guide to Getting Married in Malaysia

Written by    Last updated: April 2, 2012

Cool balmy tropical winds. Baby blue skies splashed with pink and rust orange. Close friends beaming like the sun slipping down from its perch in the sky… Travel writer Shoba Pillai takes us through some of the things to look forward to when planning a destination wedding in Malaysia, and explains how to have a legal marriage in multi-ethnic, multi-cultural Southeast Asia.

Photo by Grant Corban

Couples who choose Malaysia as the destination for their wedding have a variety of landscapes to choose from – the sea or the highlands, the rainforest, or the city limits. Another plus factor of getting married in Malaysia is the cordial nature of the locals, who will always aim to assist as much as possible during your stay so that your wedding party and guests will have a memorable experience to cherish for the rest of their lives.

It is important to note the types of weddings available to couples flying in for their special day.

Malaysia Law

As a Muslim country, the laws that govern the land when it comes to marriage are divided into two aspects – syariah law and civil law.

Laws in Malaysia dictate that if one of the parties involved belongs to the Muslim faith, the other party has to embrace Islam before the union can take place. Couples who belong to any other faith besides Islam need to register their union with the District Registration Department, and have the option of following traditional religious ceremonies of their choice.

To get a marriage license in Malaysia, couples need to submit the following documents:

  • Original copies of Birth Certificates and Passports
  • 4 x passport photographs
  • If one party is a divorcee, proof of Decree Absolute is required
  • If one party is a widow/widower, copy of Death Certificate is required

Both parties need a statutory declaration stating their marital status from the British High Commission in Malaysia or from a local registrar in the UK (must not exceed 3 months validity from date of actual marriage).

Couples need to be in the country from a week to three weeks before the wedding takes place. A successful “Fast Track” Special License could be applied for at the Chief Minister’s Department in the relevant state. If they grant the license, the marriage needs to take place a month from the issue of the license.

The only rule for the day of the registration is that the couple need to have two witnesses over the age of 18 present at the time of solemnization. Their witnesses also need to have their passports with them at the time of signing. After that, it’s business as planned, wherever the wedding ceremony is to take place!

These days registrars in Malaysia are open to having the civil ceremony take place in locations besides the registration office.

Non-Muslim traditional religious marriage ceremonies are not legally recognised under the Registration of Marriages Ordinance 1952 and the Law Reform (Marriages and Divorce) Act 1976, unless the couple register their marriage with the Registration Department first.

UK Residents

UK residents need a letter of support from the local British High Commission stating they (the Commission) have no reason to oppose the union. The letter, which also comes with a disclaimer saying that the office is devoid of authority to issue such statements or “certificates of no impediment” with reference to a local marriage, is accepted by the Malaysian civil authorities.

The Commission needs the following documents to issue the letter:

  • Divorce Certificates (if you have been previously married)
  • Statutory Declaration made at the local High Court or at the office of a notary public
  • British passport
  • Your partner’s passport
  • The relevant consular fee (for 2012, the cost is £65 or RM 319)

Once this has been passed to the couple, they have to get the letter legalised at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in the country’s administrative capital, Putrajaya (contact: +603-8887 4159).

The registrar may also need a supporting letter from their local UK registration office confirming that either party has ever been married.

To those couples looking forward to a tropical wedding abroad, Selamat Datang ke Malaysia!

Shoba Pillai is part of a trio who’ve been bitten by the travel bug. Check out for more articles on Malaysia.

We have lots of great weddings abroad advice on Confetti!

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Getting married in Malaysia

Written by    Last updated: June 6, 2006

Tie the knot on a beautiful beach ‐‐ or in a ceremony led by tribal chieftains in the Borneo jungle…

Why get married in Malaysia?

The Malaysian island of Penang offers two destinations in one, combining the beautiful beach of Batu Ferringhi with the charming historic city of Georgetown with its stilt houses, night markets and colonial architecture.

Penang, so‐called Pearl of the Orient, lies on the northwestern coast of Peninsular Malaysia. The state includes an island of some 285 square km and a narrow mainland strip of 760 square km, known as Seberang Perai (Province Wellesley). They are linked by the Penang Bridge and a 24‐hour ferry service.

What kind of wedding ceremony can I have in Malaysia?

Wedding ceremonies possible in Malaysia (Penang) are limited only by budget, choice of location and your imagination. Though registered ceremonies are supposed to take place in the registration office, many registrars will allow your ceremony to be conducted elsewhere, especially on the beach or in your hotel grounds. Where this is not allowed, you can complete formalities in the register office and follow up with a traditional ethnic‐style ceremony at your hotel, which can be organised by your tour operator or your hotel.

In such a richly multi‐cultural society, you can really choose a wedding ceremony with a difference ‐‐ marrying according to traditional Malay custom, with a Chinese tea drinking ceremony, or under Hindu rituals. Even a conventional Christian service is likely to have a unique Malaysian flavour.

For the more daring, there’s the option of being married according to tribal rituals in the Borneo jungle, perhaps with a Chieftain in his finery conducting the ceremony followed by a truly wild party.

However, it is not possible to be married according to Islamic custom because of the religion’s stricter rules regarding non‐believers.

Is it wedding weather?

  Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Max temp (°F)* 90 91 92 91 90 90 90 89 88 89 88 89
Sunshine hours* 8 8 8 7 6 7 7 6 5 5 6 7
Rainfall (inches)* 1 3 6 7 11 8 7 12 16 17 12 6
*Average daily max temp (°F)
*Average daily sunshine hours
*Average monthly rainfall (inches)

What’s the flight time?

13.5 hours

What’s the time difference?

GMT +8

Do I need a visa to enter the country?


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