Marriage Requirements for Cartagena

Find out all the requirements to celebrate your Civil or Catholic wedding in Cartagena, Colombia. If you're a foreigner, this information is for you too.

Weddings » Planning

There is at least one wedding every weekend at the walled center in Cartagena, however, for most couples, the marriage is totally new and they don’t know the requirements to formalize it. In this post I will explain in detail the documents and requirements for the bride and groom to get married in Cartagena, this information applies also to any city in Colombia. It’s also important to mention that lately it’s very common for foreign couples to celebrate their wedding in Cartagena, so every time I’m planning a destination wedding they ask me: What are the requirements for a foreigner to get married in Cartagena? I’ll clarify this too.

Civil Weddings

Photo: Delgado Fotógrafos

Civil marriages in Colombia are performed by an official known as a notary. Among the preparations for a wedding in Cartagena, the couple must present the following documentation for the civil ceremony:


  • Authenticated copy of the citizenship card.
  • Authenticated copy of the Civil Registry of Birth issued in the last three months maximum.
  • Application signed by the couple stating their desire to get married.


  • Authenticated copy of the valid passport.
  • Visa in force or permission of the Administrative Department of Security DAS, if applicable.
  • Authenticated copy of the Civil Registry of Birth issued in the last three months maximum.
  • Application signed by the couple stating their desire to marry.
  • Certificate of singleness.

One of the thoughts I usually hear at work is that a civil ceremony is not so special and it’s very simple, this idea has changed a lot. The civil ceremony can be flexible and each couple can bring a little to make it exceptional, you can write a message or your marriage vows, and reading it in front of your love, family and friends turns to be magic. You can accompany the ceremony with your favorite background music, a stunning sunset in Cartagena or any charming place to give you that unique touch you're looking for your wedding day.

Catholic Weddings

Photo: Delgado Fotógrafos

The Catholic marriage anywhere in Colombia is only valid as long as it’s celebrated within a church. If you want to perform a Catholic ceremony on the beach, colonial houses or Cartagena walls, for example, you must resort to a civil ceremony. After the celebration of a Catholic wedding, the marriage must be registered at a notary and a marriage certificate is obtained.

To get married by the church in addition to the documentation mentioned above you must take into account the following:


  • Baptism certificate issued for a maximum of the last three months.
  • Permission of the church’s priest of origin, if you don’t belong to the church where the marriage is going to take place.
  • Confirmation certificate authenticated.
  • Updated Civil Registry with seal for marriage issued a maximum of the last three months.
  • A copy of the citizenship card of bride, groom, best man and maid of honor.
  • Two recent photos in passport size.
  • Certificate of before marriage course authenticated.

In addition, if you live in other country or outside the Archdiocese of Cartagena, you must process in your community church:

  • Marriage license. The priest of your church must send by certified mail the Marriage License, exclusively addressed to the church where the marriage will be celebrated.

Other aspects to take into account:

  • If the bride or groom has a previous marriage, he or she must present a true copy of the decision of divorce or annulment, if he or she is a widower, must present the civil registry of the previous marriage and death certificate of the deceased spouse.
  • Any special case must be consulted before in the church or notary to obtain customized advice, all documentation is necessary and the lack of any document wouldn’t allow realizing the Catholic ceremony.
  • When it comes to a wedding with non-Colombian bride and groom when returning to their origin country, it’s not required to register the marriage again, this procedure would apply in case of any request to obtain a residence visa when one of the two is a foreigner.

I hope this new entry of my blog has been truly useful if you are thinking about getting married in Cartagena, this information applies also to the rest of Colombia where there are also many wonderful wedding destinations. If you are now in the process of documents and you have any special doubts not answered at this post, leave a comment and I’ll gladly answer your question.


Leidis Leguia

Wedding & Event Planner


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