For a few years now we've been observing an increasing number of foreigners deciding to get married in Poland. Reasons are many: beginning with the emigration of many young people after Poland's EU accession (especially girls bringing now their foreign fiancées home in order to get married here) up to the simple fact that currency exchange rates and local prices make it much cheaper to organise a wedding over here than anywhere in the English-speaking world. Wedding planning agencies take over most of the preparation hassle; still most couples feel unsafe at least when it comes to paperwork, registry offices, the church etc. Find below some basic information about necessary formal preparations to a wedding in Poland.
There are three types of wedding ceremonies in Poland:A. Civil Ceremony
in the registry office (USC)B. Religious Ceremony
(usually in a Roman Catholic church)C. Concordat Ceremony
- based on the concordat (a contract between Poland and the Vatican). Looks almost the same as a religious RC ceremony but combines it with the civil ceremony (no need to get married twice).
Option B requires the least paperwork. If you're both Roman Catholic, you should provide the Polish parish where you'll be married at a so-called license (licentia). You obtain it at your local parish and regulations regarding what it takes to receive it may vary from country to country. Usually you need to meet your priest (both partners present), answer some questions (regarding your free will to get married, your witnesses etc.), provide him some documents (certificate of baptism and confirmation, personal I.D.) and sometimes the certificate of a pre-marital course for couples (held by the church). Especially the latter varies depending on where you live, if you speak the same language and what requirements the locals must fulfil getting married.
If one of you is not Roman Catholic, consult your local priest. It's possible in the RC Church to marry a partner of a different confession or an atheist, but requirements regarding paperwork may vary depending on the situation. Usually, a permit from the appropriate bishop in Poland (depending on the wedding location) is necessary. It's a routine thing to get it, however sometimes it might mean you won't be allowed to celebrate the whole mass and have Communion.
Please note, that due to the concordat, no marriage may be pronounced in a RC church in Poland without civil consequences. That is, planning the above you either need to have married in a registry office in advance or a concordat wedding is inevitable. Any extraordinary situations need to be directed to the local bishop and require his intervention.
The civil preparations at the USC also depend on where you come from. British citizens need to provide a birth certificate, a valid ID, A Certificate of No Impediment to get married, translated by a sworn translator, and appear at the USC personally with their fiancé(e) and the translator to state their will of getting married. If all documents are correct, either a date is set up for the ceremony (option A) or a certificate for the church is issued that the couple can be married according to civil law. In case of a concordat wedding (option C) you then put your final signatures in the church and later on the priest directs the document to the local USC. Usually you'll need the sworn translator in the church once again. You will probably speak your vows at the altar in a language both of you understand (like English) but the USC documents need to be signed in Polish.
Generally, for most foreign citizens, it's easier (less paperwork, money and trips to Poland) to get married in a registry office abroad, where you live, and only hold the religious ceremony over here. Remember, if your civil marriage is registered in Poland all the documents you might need for various institutions at home (act of marriage) will have to be obtained in Poland.
In order to learn about specific regulations applicable for your citizenship, contact the diplomatic service of your country or your wedding planner in Poland."Raz w życiu" - Marriage Consultancy in Poland