Weddings Abroad

Weddings Abroad – Malta

Culturally rich and colourful, sun-drenched Malta is surrounded by the beautiful deep blue Mediterranean sea. This little island is a vibrant blend of historic and contemporary; a beautiful place where four thousand years of history blend harmoniously with the most modern architecture and culture. Sarah Young, one of Malta’s sought-after wedding planners shares essential information you need to know about getting married in Malta.

Weddings in Malta by Sarah Young Wedding Planner Ceremony Planning

Images courtesy of Sarah Young Wedding Planner

Malta is an island of contrasts – in the same day you could visit 3000 year old Neolithic Temples, or watch present-day movie stars filming on location. The island is small and beautiful, offering plenty of choice for a wedding that is traditional and formal, or relaxed and contemporary. Maltese weddings vary with the choice of sea-view venues, historic castles, palazzos, mediaeval and outdoor garden and beach venues available.

All weddings in Malta must follow a specific protocol and it’s advisable to hire a Maltese wedding planner to ensure you meet all the legal requirements.

The Marriage

Two types of marriage ceremony are possible on the island: a church wedding or a civil wedding. In either case the partners have to provide proof that they are single. Any previously married partner has to prove that the marriage was annulled, or that the partners were legally divorced.

Whether you intend to have a civil marriage or a Christian marriage you have to use the vows formula that specifies your intention to be married for life to this one partner.  The text for the ritual is preset and standard. Additional readings are allowed as long as they conform to the prerequisites that render the rite valid and the vows binding.

Religious Ceremonies

Religious marriages take place in one of the 356 churches on the island. For Maltese churchgoers the parish church is their second home and their living faith is reflected in the way they invest in their local church. Most churches on Malta are in the beautiful baroque style.

  • For a Catholic church wedding it is essential that the bride and groom (or at least one of the two) is a baptised Catholic. Catholics need to produce documentation showing that they are single and that they have been baptised and confirmed in the Catholic church. Six months prior to the wedding ceremony the local Bishop needs to have your formal request for permission to be married in his Diocese.
  • The celebrant must be a priest currently incardinated in the Diocese of Malta or Gozo. If a priest friend of the couple wishes to be present for the ceremony he may do so as long as he is ready to concelebrate alongside the Maltese priest who is the main celebrant.
  • Other Christians may choose to get married in the church of their own denomination. There are, on the island, an Anglican pro-cathedral and an Anglican Church as well as other Churches belonging to various Christian denominations.

Weddings in Malta by Sarah Young Wedding Planner White and Yellow Bouquet

Images courtesy of Sarah Young Wedding Planner

Civil Ceremonies

Civil ceremonies can take place in any venue which holds the necessary licence for marriages to be celebrated on the premises. The ceremony will be conducted in English by a lay registrar appointed by the Maltese authorities. Any changes made to the formula of vows have to be approved beforehand by the licensing authorities to ensure that the marriage contract is legally binding.

  • All persons need to ensure that the necessary documents have reached the Marriage Registry in Valletta not earlier than three months and not later than six weeks prior to the wedding.
  • Other legal requirements are that the bride and groom must be over eighteen years of age, must not be related by birth or adoption, must be both single and therefore able to contract a legally binding marriage with the current partner.
  • A marriage contracted in Malta by Irish and/or UK citizens is legally binding in Ireland and in the UK.


Please also note that all documents written in any language other than English must be duly translated into Standard English. Such translations need to be accompanied by documentation that substantiates the correctness of the translation and the correlation with the contents of the original text.

Documents needed by Irish and UK citizens

The following documents are required irrespective of whether a couple is getting married in church or opting for a civil marriage:

  • Marriage Application (Request for the Publication of Banns) made to the Marriage Registry in Valletta, Malta. This is submitted at least 6 weeks before the wedding date
  • Declaration of Oath, signed in front of a solicitor
  • Original Birth Certificates of the bride and the groom
  • A copy of the Passports of both the bride and the groom
  • Irish citizens need a Free Status Certificate issued by the Ministry of Foreign affairs in Dublin
  • British citizens need a 3rd party declaration filled in by a person who can under oath vouch that they are eligible to get married
  • Divorcees must submit a copy of the Divorce Decree. Please note that in Malta only civil marriages are allowed for divorcees
  • Widows and widowers are required to submit an authenticated copy of the Marriage Certificate and the spouse’s Death Certificate

A few days before the wedding the couple is required to meet the Marriage Registrar in Valetta. During this meeting the bride and groom will have to present their original passports for verification against the copy submitted at an earlier stage in the process.

Weddings in Malta by Sarah Young Wedding Planner White and Gold Elegance

Images courtesy of Sarah Young Wedding Planner

Additional documents required for a religious wedding

For couples having a church wedding, the following documentation is also required from their local Parish Priest:

  • Pre-Nuptial Investigation form
  • Oath of Freedom to marry for both partners
  • Baptism and Confirmation Certificates
  • Proof that the couple have received Pre-Marital Instructions
  • Permission to get married outside the diocese

Additional information is required by the Marriage Registrar in Valletta

  • The name of the church where the celebration is to be held
  • The date of the wedding
  • The name of the priest who will be conducting the ceremony
  • The official name that you intend to assume after the marriage.

It is highly advisable to hire a Maltese wedding planner who can see to all these details and let you enjoy a stress-free unforgettable wedding event.  An additional bonus is that the wedding planner knows the ropes and can procure fantastic bargains for you too!

Sarah Young, the Director of Y-Plan Events Co Ltd has 12 years experience in organising events in Malta and throughout Europe, with 9 years dedicated to weddings. She works with her own team of professionals, which guarantees the very best service any couple who hires a wedding planner would wish for.

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