First before you can determine who will officiate your ceremony,you must decide what kind it will be. Religious or civil. Whereas a religious ceremony is performed by an ordained religious priest or pastor, a civil ceremony is performed by a certified officiant from the Attorney General’s office or district office.The officiant’s fee is the fee paid to whoever performs your wedding ceremony. Some churches will ask for this fee directly and some may not ask. It is however customary to give him/her a gift of appreciation.
Also note that if your officiant is asked to travel, you will have to pay the travel expenses. This amount should depend on your relationship with the officiant and the amount of time s/he has spent with you prior to the ceremony. Some officiants may not accept a fee, depending on your relationship with him/her. If a fee is refused, send a donation to the officiant’s church.
Things to Consider
- Is the venue licensed? For legal marriage celebrations, the marriage should be celebrated in a licensed place and must be between 8:00am and 6:00pm, before two witnesses.
- If the parties wish to celebrate in a place other than a worship place or marriage registry, they should apply to the Attorney General for authorization under section 31 of Marriage Act.
- Some venues might have restrictions or guidelines regarding photography, videography, music, decorations, candles, and rice or rose petal tossing.a Proximity of the ceremony site to the reception site, and parking
Legal Procedure And Guidelines Laid Down By the Law
There are different types of marriage systems recognised under the laws of Kenya. It is of vital importance that couples intending to get married under any of these laws seek legal advice concerning the respective systems to avoid any mishaps that may ruin the big day. The law requires you to be 18 years and above to get legally married or to marry. A notice of your intention to get married must be given to the registrar’s office in the district where you live. At the registrar’s office, you will need to complete a notice with intention to marry form and pay Kshs.200 and the notice will run for 21 days. You should bring original and copies of the following:
• Birth certificate.
• Passport/ID of both the bride and the groom.
• Addresses and occupation of both the bride and the groom.
• Full names and occupation of the bride’s and the groom’s parents.
• Separate affidavits to state both parties are single and free to marry. In the event that either party are widowed, the death certificate of the departed spouse and a copy must be produced. In the event that either or both parties are divorced, a Divorce Decree Absolute must be produced.
• After 21 days, the couple completes the affidavit under S 11 of the marriage Act, gets it commissioned by a Commissioner for Oaths and completes a Marriage Certificate Form.
• The marriage must take place within 3 months from the date of giving the 21 day notice but not before the 21 days are over.
In the event that parties for a very good reason cannot give 21 days notice, the registrar of Marriages has the discretion to waive the notice but this is not a right and can be denied.
The Celebrant / Officiant
For legal marriage celebrations, only an accredited church minister should celebrate the marriage or a Registrar of marriages and either of the two must be licensed to celebrate the marriage.Otherwise, the marriage is considered null and void.
Where and When to Mary :
For legal marriage celebrations, the marriage should be celebrated in a licensed place; it must be between 8:00am and 6:00pm and before two witnesses. If the parties wish to celebrate in a place other than a worship place or marriage registry, they should apply to the Attorney General for authorization under section 31 of marriage act.
Legal Requirements for Religious Ceremonies
A church minister must have either a Registrar’s Certificate or a Special license from The Registrar of marriages to perform a wedding under Cap 150 of the Kenyan law. Notice is given both in church and in the office of the Registrar of Marriages. After a period of 21 days, a Registrar’s Certificate is issued by the office of the Registrar of Marriages which is taken to the Church minister who shall officiate the ceremony.
The notice is given at a fee of Kshs.200 and a Registrar’s Certificate at a fee of Ksh. 200.
A Special license is issued if the couple cannot give the required 3 weeks notice and the fee is Kshs. 5,050 if a church minister shall preside. If the ceremony shall take place in a venue other than a church or Registrar’s office e.g. a garden, hotel etc, a special license is needed to license the venue for a wedding even if notice is properly given.
By now, all church ministers should be aware that all non-Africans must get married under Cap 150 of the Marriage Act. This is because the African Christian marriage & Divorce Act, Cap 151, which most churches use, does apply to non-Africans. Therefore marriages of non-Africans married under this act are Null & Void.