First off, get acquainted with the formal South African Marriage Act. It outlines who can get married to whom, where and how a South African wedding should be carried out and by whom.
If one of you is South African, the other isn’t, you will need:
- copies of your South African ID, birth certificate or an affidavit BI-31
- copies of both of your passports (and copies of your witnesses’ passports too)
- clear copies of divorce decrees (if one of you was married before)
- clear copies of death certificates (if one of your former spouses has died)
The major difference here is that the partner who is not South African will need to fill in the ‘Declaration for the Purpose of Marriage’ also known as Form BI-31. This you will do in front of the marriage officer before the wedding ceremony.
If neither of you is South African, you will need:
- copies of your passports (and copies of your witnesses’ passports too)
- clear copies of divorce decrees
- clear copies of death certificates
Each of you will then fill in a ‘Declaration for the Purpose of Marriage’ or Form BI-31, in front of your marriage officer after you arrive in South Africa.
In either of the above cases, you can marry in any location provided you are married by a magistrate, special justice of the peace, comissioner or a minister of religion.
Once married, your marriage officer will give you an abridged marriage certificate, and he will register your marriage with the Department of Home Affairs (it will be stamped ‘Apostille’ by the High Court in Cape Town), and apply for an unabridged marriage certificate. This will take roughly eight weeks, and you can use it to register your marriage once you are back in your home country.
Happy Wedding Planning!