There’s no denying that court weddings had come to stay in Nigeria despite our traditional and religious ways of doing things of which wedding is an important part.
Various reasons exist for why you would want to have a traditional wedding. We are not going to talk here on why to and why not to have a court wedding which is also known as the registry.
I believe you coming to this page, minds have been made, you have decided you want a court wedding and as such, my own work here to show to you, the step by step guide on how to get married in Nigeria through a court wedding.
Federal Marriage Registries in Nigeria
In Nigeria, there are only two Federal registries. One in Lagos and the other in Abuja. The one in Lagos covers the southern part of the country while the one in Abuja takes care of the northern part of the country.
Aside from these two, there are also numerous states and local government level registries scattered all over the country.
This is to ensure intending couples have access to them when they need to use them.
The steps discussed below highlights the steps required to do a court wedding in Nigeria.
Procedure for Court Wedding in Nigeria
Below are the procedures for court wedding in Nigeria:
1. Agreement Between the Intending Couples
This is the first step to a court wedding in Nigeria. Two consenting adult i.e a male and a female need to agree before any form of wedding would take place.
After they agree, they can now go to the court and make their intention known. While going to the court, they should take along with them two coloured passports sized photographs each.
On reaching the court, you will fill a form known as the notice form or a form A. Fill this form and submit. This form is usually posted on the notice board at the registry for 21 days.
The notice is also entered into a book known as the Marriage Notice Book which is open to people to inspect without a fee.
Once the 21 days elapse, you will be required to pay a fee after you had met the marriage criteria. These include:
- One of the couples resides in the district where the wedding will take place
- Each of the parties involved is at least 21 years and in a situation where this is not the case, a proof of consent in writing from the guardian must be submitted
- None of the intending couples is married by customary law to any person other than the person with whom such marriage is proposed to be contracted
- There’s no impediment of kindred or affinity or any other lawful hindrance to the marriage
After the above, you are expected to swear an affidavit before the registrar or a recognized minister of religion.
In the course of swearing an affidavit, the registrar would iterate the above requirements and explain the penalties involved.
If you violate any of the rules which the registrar would tell you, it could lead you to jail.
After agreeing to everything, the registrar signs a declaration to show that the couple understands the implications under the law and have met and satisfied all that has been required of them.
3. Issuing Of Certificate And Fixing Of Wedding Date
After the above, the minister issues the couple a certificate and grant his license known as the Form D.
Form D authorized the celebration of a marriage between the parties.
After this, a wedding date is chosen by the couples and this should be within 3 months.
On the wedding day, the couples alongside their families and friends come to the court for the wedding which usually does not last for more than 30 minutes.
In the course of proceeding, the registrar prints the marriage certificates in duplicate and with counterfoils as in the Form E. This is usually the official end of the wedding.
However, couples might decide to go for a church wedding if they are Christians or do other celebrations.
But as far as court wedding is concerned, without going to the church or mosque as the case may be, the wedding is a valid one.