Marriage registration is a compulsory one for a newly married couple in Sri Lanka even if they had married according to their culture or religion
People want to marry in Sri Lanka must register their wedding with the Government, even if they had made their marriages according to their own culture or religion. Entire Government departments and foreign Embassies will recognize the marriage certificate given by a certified marriage registrar only as a proof to accept that the couple had officially married. If a bride and groom were born in Sri Lanka, they can legally register their marriage by signing the documents in front of the marriage register in his/her office in any part of the country or in any of the Sri Lankan Consular offices abroad. The marriage registers' are nominated by the Srilanka Government.
To start with the wedding registration process, first you must submit a notice to the marriage registrar 14 days of notice before going for the official marriage registration ceremony. Marriage registration can be made in short notice, for this you must get a special permission from the district secretary and this can be done with the assistance of your area marriage registrar.
To submit the marriage notification at the marriage registrar's office either bride or groom must accompany two persons as witnesses to sign the documents in front of the marriage registrar.
They can decide on which date and which place that the registration ceremony is going to take place. On that day of occasion, it is better to send one vehicle to transport the marriage registrar and his/her official marriage registration ledger if the marriage is taking place other than their office. For example it can be a wedding hall, Bride's home, hotel or any of the banquet halls.
Officially the marriage registrar don't charge any money for conducting the legal marriage registration service although as a good gesture you can (either by the bride family or groom family) present them with small amount of money for their service. The marriage registrars are selected and appointed by the Sri Lanka Government.
Please take note that the new regulations allow your area marriage registrar only to perform the official marriage registration ceremony. Say if you want to bring a marriage registrar from the Wellawatte area to perform the marriage registration in Dehiwala area, then you must get the special permission from a Dehiwala marriage registrar by submitting the necessary form and signatures and must obtain the permission from the Dehiwala Register and has to hand over it to the Wellawatte marriage registrar to perform the marriage registration ceremony.
At the time of the marriage registration the marriage registrar can present any number of copies of the marriage certificates if you had informed them in advance during the notice submission date.
Normally on the day of the marriage registration bride party and the groom party must provide one witness each to sign the documents as witness for the marriage registration ceremony. At every stage the person's National Identity card and passport (Foreign bride or groom) are important and must be provided to the registrar for the official identification registry.
In Tamil weddings here marriage registration can take place before the traditional wedding ceremony or on the same day after the traditional wedding ceremony had taken place. After the marriage it is necessary to provide original marriage certificate whenever you want to change a girl's name in her passport and national identity card from her maiden name to husband's name.
Further more, the marriage certificate will allow getting spouse's Government pension, husband's properties and work as a witness in many other official claims. Extra copies can be obtained by paying a small amount of money to the District Revenue Offices all over the country.