Kenya Wedding

kenya flag

Welcome to our guide to getting married in Kenya. Before you go into depth about the specifics for your wedding in Kenya we have an article that we suggest you read first.

Kenya offers visitors a land which is breathtakingly diverse. The country has always been very popular with honeymooners but more couples are now choosing to get married there too. And who can blame them with locations ranging from the classic beach wedding, balloon weddings, wild bush weddings to traditional African weddings.

UK residents wishing to marry in Kenya can have either a Civil Ceremony or a Religious Ceremony.

Civil Ceremony

Civil Ceremonies can be held at the local Register Office or any other venue provided it has a Special License. If you are considering holding your Civil Ceremony in a venue other than a Register Office you should enquire before hand to ensure they have a Special Licence to avoid disappointment. You are required to have two witnesses present throughout the ceremony.

Religious Ceremony

There are a number of different types of Religious Ceremony, which are recognised under Kenyan law, including Christian, Islamic, Hindu and Traditional African weddings. However although Hindu, Islamic and African weddings are valid the Registrar does not usually record them. A Marriage Certificate would be issued at the end of the ceremony in the case of a Hindu or Islamic marriage ceremony, and affidavits sworn in the case of African customary marriage.

If you are particular interested in having either a Hindu, Islamic or African wedding you should contact the Registrar of Marriages for further information with regards how the marriage might be registered in Kenya.

If you wish to have a Church Ceremony then you should contact the church where you wish to get married in Kenya to enquire about the necessary religious paperwork. You should also contact you local minister for guidance.

All non-Africans wishing to get married in church must do so under Cap 150, The Marriage Act, as the African Christian Marriage and Divorce, Cap151 which most churches use (in Kenya) is not applicable to non-Africans.

Therefore if non-Africans subsequently marry under the Marriage Act Cap 151, their marriage will be null and void. Church Ceremonies also require the presence of two witnesses throughout the ceremony.

A couple would normally be asked to give Notice of their intention to marry under the Marriage Act, Cap 150 at both the church where they intend to marry and the Office of the Registrar of Marriages. The Notice period is for 21 days after which time they would be issued with a Registrar's Certificate, however this is not feasible for most UK citizens who intend to fly out to Kenya a few days before their wedding day. If this is the case you will have to apply for a Special License so the minister can perform the ceremony.

Whether you are having a Civil Ceremony or a Religious ceremony you will require a Special License from the Registrar of Marriage to have your wedding under the Marriage Act, Cap 150.

Residency Stay

Under normal circumstances a couple wishing to marry in Kenya are required to complete the Notice of Intention to Marry Form along with paying a fee during which time they would remain resident in Kenya for 21-days. After 21-days the couple would then be asked to complete the affidavit under S11 of the Marriage Act, which would then be commissioned by the Registrar. The couple can then complete a Marriage Certificate Form and on paying the required fee book a date for there wedding. The marriage is then required to take place within 3-months from the date of giving the 21-day notice. However if this is not possible couples should contact the Registrar of Marriages in advance in order to apply for a Special Licence. If the Special License is granted then couples may need only arrive in Kenya 4 working days in advance of their wedding day in order to finalise the paperwork.

Special License

A Special License can be granted to couples that are:

  • Unable to give 21-days Notice to the Registrar of Marriage and who wish to marry in a register office.
  • Unable to give 21-days Notice to the Registrar of Marriage and who wish to marry in a venue other than a register office.

Couples will need to bring their basic documents with them on application. For further information regarding the obtaining of a Special License please contact the Registrar of Marriages.

Marriage Certificate

Whether you have a Civil Ceremony or Religious Ceremony ensure you are issued with a certified copy of your Marriage Certificate. You should contact the Registrar of Marriages in advance with regards to ensuring your marriage is registered in Kenya.

h2>Basic Documentation

The Basic documentation required for getting married in Kenya is as follows:

  • Original birth certificate along with a copy.
  • A valid 10-year passport and with a copy.
  • A valid Kenyan tourist permit obtained either from the Kenyan High Commission or on your arrival.
  • An affidavit declaring single status authorised by a notary or solicitor declaring eligibility for marriage. A handwritten declaration will not be accepted.
  • If divorced you will need to present a Decree of Absolute having been stamped by the courts.
  • If widowed a spouses death certificate along with a copy and previous marriage certificate will need to be presented.
  • If you have changed your name by Deed Poll or you were adapted, proof of this needs to be presented having been authenticated by a notary or solicitor.

If either of you are under 21 years of age you will need written consent from your parents or guardians, in the form of an affidavit authorised by a notary or a solicitor

For further information contact:

Registrar General

Sheria House
2nd Floor, Room 208
P.O. Box 30031
Tel: (+254) 020-227461

British High Commission, Nairobi

Upper Hill Road
PO Box 30465-00100 GPO
Tel: (+254) 020 2844000

Kenyan High Commission

45 Portland Place
London, W1B 1AS
Tel:0207 636 2371/5

Official Tourist Board of Kenya




Whilst every effort to ensure that the above information is correct, it may be subject to change at any time. Please always check with the official authorities before proceeding. If you notice some outdated information please let us know.