We recently got married in March 2013 in Zermatt, Switzerland.
When we decided we wanted to get married we looked online and found there was very little help or advice online about how to get married in switzerland, any pretty much nothing for Zermatt. There were lots of people selling wedding planning services etc, but they cost a lot and we wanted to do it ourselves.
We imagine that if you are looking at this, you are thinking of or planning to get married in Zermatt. We had such a wonderful wedding in Zermatt, we can’t understand why anyone wouldn’t want to get married here. So to make it easier we’ve created a guide of who we used and useful contact details etc.
This info is correct as of March 2013 and we are British so things may be different dependent of your nationality. This is only our experience and is by no means the only way or providing an advice service. saying that if we can help or give you any tips we’d be more than happy to
The Legal Bit
If you are both British foreign nationals This is page on the Swiss consulate website you need to look at: http://www.eda.admin.ch/eda/en/home/reps/eur/vgbr/rkclon/civaff/ukcscs/ukcsmp.html#ContentPar_0005
And this is what it says:
Between two Foreign Nationals
The following procedure applies in connection with a marriage to be celebrated in Switzerland between two foreign nationals without residence in Switzerland.
The authorities of the canton in which a foreign bride and bridegroom intend to get married have discretion as to whether to authorise a marriage between two foreigners without residence in Switzerland. The authorities might require a document providing proof of the capacity to marry and/or proof of the recognition of the marriage by the parties’ home country.
The following general information may be helpful regarding the procedure for marriage in Switzerland.
Capacity to marry:
1) the couple must be over 18
2) neither must be already married
3) persons subject to guardianship orders must obtain the consent of their legal representative
4) the law prohibits marriage between (half-)brothers or (half-)sisters, between a person and his or her parent (natural or adoptive) or grandparents
The future bridegroom and bride have to submit an application for preparation of marriage at the Registry Office in the place where it is intended that the marriage shall take place.
An engaged couple living abroad can file the application with the Swiss Representation of their place of residence. Besides the application form, the future bridegroom and bride have to sign a special declaration concerning the conditions for the marriage; they declare that they meet the requirements for the marriage, and that the documents presented are up to date, complete and true. This declaration has to be signed personally either at the competent Swiss Representation or before the Registrar in Switzerland. By signing the documents the bride and bridegroom confirm that they understand their contents. They also confirm that they are aware of the penal consequences in case of false declarations under Articles 65 and 69 3 of the Civil Status Ordinance. Translations of the documents to be signed can be viewed online on the website of the Swiss Federal Office of Justice.
The following documents have to be presented with the application for preparation of marriage:
- a full-size birth certificate of each party issued not more than six months before the application for marriage is made;
- original passports, including residence permit if applicable;
- for British nationals: a certificate of no impediment to marriage issued by the local Superintendent Registrar. The document must bear the Apostille of the Foreign & Commonwealth Office, Legalization Office (visit: http://www.fco.gov.uk -> Legalisation). For other nationals: if a certificate of no impediment cannot be provided, please submit a statutory declaration concerning marital status, nationality and domicile, signed in the presence of a notary public or a solicitor. This document must also bear the Apostille of the Foreign & Commonwealth Office;
- an official copy of the decree absolute or a death certificate for the deceased spouse if one or both of the parties is divorced or widowed;
- a Deed Poll of change of name (with Apostille) if applicable;
- full-size birth certificate of children which the couple have had together including their original passports as well as a document confirming their address;
- additional documents may be required. Please contact the Civil Registry Office in Switzerland.
Photocopies of the above-mentioned documents cannot be accepted. The original documents of civil status will not be returned.
If the application for the marriage is filed with a Swiss Representation, all documents are forwarded by that office to the competent authorities in Switzerland. If all requirements for the marriage are met, the Registry Office issues the authorisation for the marriage.
The marriage can take place at the latest three months after the authorisation is issued.
Should any documents of civil status have been issued outside the United Kingdom, please contact the Regional Consular Centre prior to submitting the documents in order to confirm the correct papers to be provided. Documents of civil status issued in a different country must be legalized by the competent Swiss Embassy or Consulate. In some cases, the legalization will be subject to a fee and can take several weeks.
It is strongly recommended that applications for marriage preparation are submitted to the Regional Consular Centre at least three months before the marriage is to take place. If some of the documents of civil status have been issued outside the UK, please note that these will first need to be translated/legalized by the competent Swiss Embassy or Consulate and that the process can take several weeks.
The marriage is performed publicly by the Civil Registrar in the town hall in the presence of two adult witnesses. A religious marriage ceremony is optional and may take place only after the civil marriage. Please note that the Regional Consular Centre is unable to give information on religious marriages.
If the application for marriage is filed with the Regional Consular Centre, a fee of approx. £200.00 has to be paid in cash. The fee can only be paid in cash.
The fees and charges of the Civil Registrar and the cantonal authorities for the preparation of the marriage and the marriage ceremony may vary and can be quite high.
Foreign nationals are advised to consult their Embassy or Consulate in Switzerland after the ceremony if they wish the marriage to be registered in their home country.
Applications for marriage preparation must be submitted during the opening hours of the Regional Consular Centre, from Monday to Friday between 09.00am-12.00noon.
Please note that all documents of civil status (birth, marriage, divorce, death, certificate of no impediment/statutory declaration) must be newly issued. Documents older than 6 months will not be accepted.
To get a copy of your Birth Certificate you need to contact the General registry office (GRO) http://www.gro.gov.uk/gro/content/ at the time of writing it is £9.25/document.
To get you Certificate of No Impediment (CNI) you need to go to your local registry office and get your bands read etc. You then receive your CNI which then needs to be sent to the FCO to be certified. At the time of writing it is £30 per document.
Local Registry office -Visp
Now this was a challenge. Trying to find the contact details for the VISP marriage service proved to be much harder than we expected. firstly its the longest email address I ever seen secondly the contact number we had was correct but there was never anybody to speak to. You won’t have that problem however because here is the email address and contact number for the VISP town hall marriage coordinator.
St. Martiniplatz 1
Tel. +41(0)27/607 12 60
The lady that deals with all marriages is called Elfriede Burgener. She gave a lovely ceremony and her english is fantastic, but there may be the odd word lost in translation to English.
To get married in Zermatt the following is required:
The declaration form (Form 35-2007) need to be signed at a Swiss Embassy or Consulate in the Country / State where the couple lives. Please contact the nearest Swiss Embassy or Consulate with all the required documents.The documents are required 2 – 3 months prior to your wedding in Switzerland.The final confirmation of the wedding date will be given after we received all the required documents and the wedding license from Sion. All the wedding preparations you take before you have our final confirmation are at your own risk!The wedding license established by the Registry and Alien Office of the Canton of Valais will be valid for 3 months.The total fee for a wedding ceremony in Zermatt will be around CHF 560.–. The final amount has to be paid in cash before the wedding in our office.For the ceremony two witnesses (over 18 years of age) are needed.
Again this was at Feb 2013.
We visited the Swiss embassy in London, we were informed we didn’t need to make an appointment and just dropped in. Swiss efficiency was in full effect and the process was really simple. We filled out the declaration form (Form 35-2007), provided by the swiss embassy, and provided the CNI, birth certificates, fee and took a copy of our passports. They are the sent off to Sion and then after about 3-4 weeks we were notified by the VISP registry office that all documents were correct and processed.
Zermatt Town Hall
From what I am aware you have to have a civil marriage ceremony to get married in Switzerland. You can then have religious ceremony afterwards. That is certainly the case with foreign nationals anyway.
The Ceremony room is not big and can seat 30 people. However if the Zermatt community need that room, you may need to use the smaller room which seats 10 people. You will need to speak to Elfriede to confirm the availability of the room.
We had 30 people attend our wedding so it was small enough to go to a restaurant. We wanted to be up the Mountain for it and chose my favourite mountain restaurant ZumSee. We chose this as it was easy enough for people to walk to & back from, it was close to Hennu Stall for some Apres wedding fun and finally the food is incredible. We did look at custom catering at a private chalet in Winkelmatten and at Hotel Cervo also. They both were working out to more expensive options than our budget and we wanted to be higher up.
We used eflowers in Zermatt, they were fantastic, proactive and reasonably priced. They are also the only florist in town http://www.e-flower.ch/en/eflower/
They did however do some really cool things for us. They put a go-pro camera in the bouquet, and didn’t think we were crazy (unfortunately the cold weather meant the camera froze and didn’t work). The other thing the did was some custom button holes.
They were so friendly and relaxed I couldn’t recommend them more highly.
Horse & Cart
We couldn’t resist having a horse and cart for the wedding, an electric taxi just wouldn’t cut it.
For the horse & cart we used you need to speak to Isabelle
contact details are: Isabelle.firstname.lastname@example.org
You’ll pay from 15 – 90 min. fr. 400.- (without waiting time)
Hair & Make – up
Viki and the bridesmaids did their own hair and makeup ( after lots of practice at home). However, there were a number of hair dressers who would offer this service. Also Zermatt is not lacking wellbeing/spa locations. A number of these would happily do make up.
This is a document that will be added to when extra bits come to light. if you are interested in where we stayed and how we got all our guests there please check out the rest of this site, which has details of hotels in Zermatt & Tasch, as well as the Ski Total Chalets we stayed in.