You may or may not have heard the term before, but Civil marriages are the latest trend in the Uganda wedding industry. So today, let’s do a deep dive to understand what they are, what you need to know about conducting civil marriages and the advantages involved.

Wikipedia defines a Civil marriage as a marriage performed, recorded, and recognized by a government official. It must be conducted in gazetted places that have specifically been issued special licenses to hold these ceremonies. These places may be government offices or any other permitted place as per the laws of the land.

According to the Uganda Registration Services Bureau (URSB) website, Civil marriages are one of the recognised types of marriages in Uganda and celebration of civil marriages is governed by the Marriage Act, Cap 251. They are monogamous in nature and are celebrated in the office of the Registrar General for Kampala residents and in the offices of the Chief Administrative Officers for all the other districts in the presence of at least 2 witnesses. Any person who is single, widowed or divorced, aged 18 years and above and is not party to a subsisting marriage is eligible to contract a civil marriage.

Civil marriages offer a number of advantages as discussed below: –

Civil marriages are the most recognised form of marriage in many countries across the world. Since civil marriages are conducted by state authorized personnel and occur in government licensed premises, most government authorities recognise them as the most legal form of marriage.

Civil marriages in Uganda are the best fit for inter religious marriages. Couples of different faiths willing to get married to one another have this as their best option as they would have their cake and eat it too. Get married to the love of your life as you keep your religion.

Civil marriages allow you to choose a marriage partner without undue parental influence. Unlike customary marriages where your parents must consent to the
marriage, no such consent is required in civil marriages. As long as you are both above the age of 18, you are free to choose each other and get married.

Civil marriages in Uganda are less bureaucratic than religious marriages. Requirements such as proof of baptism, confirmation cards, compulsory blood tests etc., that are the norm with religious marriages are unnecessary with civil marriages.

Civil marriages in Uganda are quicker to arrange than religious marriages. Civil marriages can occur any time after the mandatory 21 days whereas religious marriages may take longer due to requirements such as couples’ counselling, banns of marriage etc.

Civil marriages guarantee instant registration with government. It is a legal requirement that all marriages in Uganda must be registered with the government.

For religious marriages, this can happen anywhere from days to weeks to months depending on when the religious institution submits documents for registration. On the other hand, one receives a government issued certificate on the day of the Civil wedding.

Last but not least, Civil marriages give you the unique opportunity to get married at your dream location. Whether it is at the beach, mountains, forest etc., as long as the venue has been granted a special gazette, you can have the ceremony and reception in one place. This saves time and allows you to customize the venue to your unique tastes.

So there you have it. Thinking of tying the knot anytime soon? Consider having a civil marriage.
Till next time!


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