FAQs - everything you need to know about LGBT marriage in Denmark
Is the marriage valid worldwide?
Yes, as long as same-sex marriage is legal and recognised where you want to live. Wikipedia has a page http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Status_of_same-sex_marriage which is usually up to date. And some countries like Germany, which recognise civil partnerships, allow you to register your Danish marriage as a partnership. But there are a number of countries where it is not only not recognised but actually punishable so we try and make sure our couples know of any risks, and then try and be discrete if that helps in their particular situation.
If LGBT marriage is not legal where we live can we still get married with you?
Absolutely – same sex or LGBT marriage is legal and welcomed in Denmark wherever you are from. We have helped many LGBT couples marry even though they knew the wedding would not be recognised at home – they wanted to do it anyway because it was important to them personally, whatever the legal situation.
What about registering our marriage?
In general, as you would hope, those countries which have recognised same-sex marriages have been helpful with registering the marriage. One of our couples comments: “International legality is a very important question and an additional challenge for gay couples. I can only confirm that with us it worked quite well: in Switzerland the marriage has been registered as a civil partnership with an option to “upgrade” it to a marriage when the laws allow it; the US system was extremely welcoming and asked no big questions to register us as a married couple. The only problem was here in Korea, but we knew that was to be expected. The topic is still taboo here, but things are slowly changing as well and the recognition of foreign gay marriages is still an ongoing process”. We would be interested to hear of other couples’ experiences so we can pass on any good advice.
Why get married in Denmark?
Because the Danes are sensible people and see no reason why two consenting adults should have to fight a legal and bureaucratic battle to get married, whatever their orientation. In Denmark the documentation required is simple and straightforward, there is no requirement for the banns to be read, and the whole thing can happen quickly and easily with no hassle. We had one Polish/Spanish couple who gave up trying to get married elsewhere in Europe before trying us – we arranged their wedding in 3 days.
Are there any particular legal issues for LGBT couples marrying in Denmark?
In general the legal requirements and the legal status of a LGBT marriage in Denmark are exactly the same as for a straight marriage. The exception is where a couple, or one of the couple, has previously been in a civil-partnership – see below.
What about civil partnerships?
Oddly, even if the couple has been in a civil partnership with each other, the partnership has to be dissolved before they can then get married. We can give you more advice on this slightly surprising issue.
Is there any discrimination against LGBT couples in Denmark?
Maybe, but I have never, ever witnessed any. On the contrary, all our LGBT couples have commented on how friendly and welcoming they have found the people on our beautiful island.
Can I change my name in Denmark on my wedding day?
No; unless you are resident in Denmark, you will have to change your name once you return to your country of residence. This is due to a change in the Danish marriage law in 2006.
Can anyone get married in Denmark?
We have had couples from all over the world, including some who have had lost documents or other problems. So almost anyone can get married here. The only country which has a problem (and that’s with any marriage overseas, not Denmark in particular) is Laos. Other than that the only real exceptions are asylum-seekers and refugees, who cannot get married here.
Are the requirements the same everywhere in Denmark?
Surprisingly, no, not in practice. There are an infinite number of variations in people’s documents and circumstances, and the local authorities have to rely on common sense to interpret the requirements and regulations. We are fortunate that we have such a close working relationship with the authorities here on Aeroe, and that we can often work with them to find practical, sensible and legal solutions to some tricky problems. But we do not cut corners and are only interested in helping genuine couples to get married.
What is the ceremony like, and how long does it take?
You will stand in front of the registrar or mayor while he conducts the ceremony, which is surprisingly short. You are required to say yes, and you may exchange rings if you would like to. Thereafter you both sign the registry. After the witnesses and registrar have signed the ofinal paperwork you are married!
Why don’t you do weddings in the Registry office?
The registry office is a pleasant, modern office and many couples enjoy getting married there. We have organised weddings there for the last 8 years. But as it gets busier we have become less satisfied with it as a location for our couples, more and more of whom tell us they would prefer to pay a little extra for somewhere special and romantic. So we have exclusive use of the Wedding Room in the lovely Old Merchants’ Court overlooking the cobbled town square, which we offer now for all our weddings We also have some other really interesting possibilities, such as getting married on the beach, in the air (courtesy of the island’s own airline, Starling Air) or at sea (on the island’s own 3-masted schooner, Fylla).
Can we have a church wedding?
We would be delighted to organize a blessing in one of our 7 beautiful churches, but you cannot have the wedding itself there unless you are Scandinavian or a member of the Danish Church. STOP PRESS For the moment we are having a problem with this, for all weddings, not just LGBT. SO please ask us for an update.
When do we get the marriage certificate?
You will get one certificate straight away (as long as payment in full has been received); it comes already translated into English, German, Spanish, and French. We then send the second certificate to the Danish Foreign Ministry to get an “apostille” as part of our service to you. You should receive it by post a week or two later.
How long do we have to stay if we book through Danish Island Weddings?
You are required to stay one night on the island (although once you have seen Aeroe you may want to stay longer); you must arrive by 1500 the day before your wedding.
Can we pay with PayPal or credit cards?
Yes. We accept most major credit cards through PayPal, so you can pay online. You can also pay by bank transfer. The cheapest ánd best way for transfer or credit card is through TransferWise which we are now recommending to all our couples.
Can we pay in cash?
Yes, if you prefer, you can pay in cash, in euros or Danish kroner. We will be on hand on your wedding day, so you can pay when we meet you at the registry office, or we can meet before if you prefer. But please be aware that you must settle your bill before the ceremony or the Kommune will withhold your marriage certificate until everything is paid.
Can we use euros on Aeroe?
Yes; even though Denmark still has the Danish kroner, most places accept euro notes (although the exchange rate may not be very good). However any change is given in Danish kroner. Be aware that foreign credit cards are not that widely accepted in Denmark.
What is the exchange rate?
It is usually around 7.46 kroner to the euro. It does not usually vary much but please check online or in the newspaper for the latest rate. But please note we do all our pricing and invoicing in euros.
Do we need to bring witnesses?
No, it is not necessary as we provide witnesses as part of our service. But if you prefer to bring your own witnesses, that is of course fine.
Can I get married on a Schengen tourist visa?
Yes, but the visa issue is complex and we will be happy to discuss your particular circumstances.
Does getting married to an EU citizen give me automatic residency in Europe?
In general terms, yes it does, but be careful – this is a complicated issue. The 2004 EU Directive on freedom of movement established this principle, but the individual EU countries did not implement the Directive fully. In particular, most countries want to be sure that any marriage is genuine, that the couple will be living together as man and wife, and that they can support themselves financially. None of our couples (as far as we know) has had any serious problems with this so far.
How do I register the marriage afterwards?
It depends on the country in which you live, but usually you need to take your new wedding certificate to the local authorities where you live. Some countries (Italy for example) will want you to contact their embassy in Denmark before the marriage.