Tuesday, 15 October 2013

Getting married in Turkey - what we had to do

The really lovely thing about getting married in Turkey is that you can have your wedding anywhere - on the beach, in a tiny rural village, at a restaurant, anywhere you choose, or you can of course have the ceremony at the Registry Office in town. The choice is absolutely yours.

Photo credit: James Dorrington
As we got married in Turkey ourselves earlier this year, I thought it may be useful for other people thinking of doing the same to know the current procedure, so here is a run down of what we needed to do.

Our wish was to be married in our village and to take the vows and have the reception at a restaurant, so in our case we had to approach Uzumlu Belediye (our village council) to arrange the wedding.

In the UK, there are restrictions on where you can and can't be married, in Turkey however, it can be wherever you decide. Also back in England, the dates have to be booked months if not years in advance to ensure that you can be married at the place you prefer on the day and time that you choose. In Turkey they think you are crazy if you try to organise it early, because here they tend to send out the invitations a few days before the wedding, and you can just turn up at the registry office and ask to be married there and then, providing you have all the correct paperwork. You may just have to wait your turn!

Because it was important to us to marry in the village where we live, we approached the Registrar in Fethiye months before the wedding, he told us to come back three weeks before the wedding with the paperwork. In any case when we did go back he sent us to our local council, so that had been a waste of time.

For a foreigner to be married in Turkey there is particular paperwork that you need to obtain, and in our area - Fethiye, it means travelling to the British Consulate in Antalya - twice. In other parts of Turkey you will need to establish which Consulate you need to go to. If you are living in the UK and planning a Turkish wedding you can obtain the 'Certificate of non-Impediment' in the UK and bring it with you.

View Larger Map

So for the benefit of anyone who is thinking of doing the same , this is the current procedure. You are required to make an appointment at the British Consulate before you go and you need to take the following original documents:

Birth Certificate - this must be a full copy which includes your mother's and father's names. They do not accept the smaller version.


If you have been married before you must also take your Decree Absolute. Plural in our case as we have both been married twice before.

If you have any name change from your birth name other than due to marriage you also need to have your deed poll.

On arrival you are given five different forms to fill in, all of which include your current address, and on some pages this was required twice. As we have the longest possible address these took forever to complete. While you are completing the forms the staff will be checking all of your other documents and taking photocopies of each one.

The cost of the application was 195 tl each and the process took about 40 minutes to complete. The Banns are then posted on the British Consulate notice board for three weeks.

On or after the 22nd day you return to the British Consulate (again making an appointment beforehand) to collect your certificates and pay  another 185 tl each. It is best to take all of your official documents back with you as we saw a different staff member on our second visit and she couldn't find where her colleague had put their original copies and needed to see them again. It's a long way from this area, to have to go back for something!

Having acquired your certificate of non-impediment, these then need to be taken to the Turkish Governor in Antalya in our case, to be stamped and signed. The governor's office is in the city centre and the office is closed for lunch between 12.00 and 13.00 each day. There is no charge for this, and you can just turn up inside working hours, no appointment necessary.

View Larger Map

Once you have your certificate of non-impediment stamped, you then take this to the person who will be conducting the ceremony. In our case Uzumlu Belediye. They will also require 5 passport type photographs. Bear in mind that a copy of the photograph is put in your wedding book, so you may like to have your hair done and wear make up and a decent top at least. I wish we had known that first. We had to rush off and get some taken, I had an old T-shirt with my bra straps showing and a bad hair day and David had a  Sid James 'Carry On' T-shirt on! Once they have completed another form you then take this to the doctor who needs to sign this paperwork, before returning it to the office arranging your marriage.

On the wedding day, you will need to have two witnesses with you. Their nationality does not matter, but they should not be related to you and they will need to have their passports with them as the passport numbers are placed on the certificate.

The ceremony is very brief, involving only that both parties and the two witnesses state their names and that they know of no impediments to the marriage, and all four of you then sign the paperwork at the end of the ceremony. The ceremony will be conducted in Turkish and if you do not speak Turkish you will need to arrange for an interpreter to be present to translate for you. You can reply in English, in which case the translator will translate back, but as the only things you have to say are your name and 'yes' - 'evet' this is not really a problem.

Within a matter of minutes you will have become man and wife, you will receive your marriage book and the celebrations can begin.

After the wedding we did have to visit the Registry Office in Fethiye to obtain an apostille certificate of our marriage. If you have residency in Turkey you should then notify the authorities within 15 days of your name change.

As for the wedding day arrangements, the only thing I bought in the UK was my dress. I bought it in a fleeting visit home from EBay, didn't really like it, but thought it had potential and had it significantly changed here in Turkey. Everything else was organised here without difficulty.

We found it easy but quite time consuming organising the wedding ourselves, but we never found the need for a wedding planner and enjoyed the challenge. Some businesses we would definitely use again, some we would not but here are the details of the people who provided excellence as far as we are concerned.

Photo credit: James Dorrington
Invitations - Işık Ofset. We were really happy with the quality, choice and price of the printer we found. They had hundreds of samples to look at. We had the invitations printed in English on one side and Turkish on the other for the benefit of our Turkish and English speaking friends. They were surprisingly reasonable. Situated in the precinct in Fethiye their address is Otopark Caddesi, Demirci İşhanı No 17, Fethiye  Tel: (0252) 614 78 43 email - isikofset@windowslive.com

Brides dress and accessories - Fethiye Brides. Run by an English lady Stephanie Blythe who is wonderful and very open to listening to exactly what you need and helping you find it. Although she only altered my dress, she does have a range of stunning bridal gowns for sale and rental, shoes, veils, tiaras, jewellery and handbags. They also stock evening wear, bridesmaids dresses and flower girl dresses and now they also offer bespoke made to measure men's wear. Most of their dresses are made to measure and the shoes, tiaras and jewellery are all hand made. I had hair combs and jewellery made to my specification and they were lovely. The shop is in Günlükbaşı, Fethiye. The address is 953 Sokak, Günlükbaşı 48300 Fethiye Tel: (0252) 613 61 95 The facebook link is https://www.facebook.com/GelinlikButik

Photo credit: James Dorrington
Cake - Without a doubt the best cake maker around - ever!! Sam (Granny's Orange) made us exactly what we wanted. We chose two different types of cup cake on a tier stand with a top cake too. They were absolutely mind blowingly beautiful and utterly delicious. Sam is very used to catering for individual requirements and is more than able to make exactly what you want. Book her early though because she is understandably a very busy sought after cook. Of course she also makes fantastic cakes for any other special occasion - birthdays, anniversaries etc. She can be contacted on her face book page where you can also see many pictures of her beautiful cakes https://www.facebook.com/grannys.orange?fref=ts

Photo credit: James Dorrington
Entertainment - One thing we definitely both wanted was Turkish entertainment and we had a Turkish band, traditional Turkish folk dancers, a belly dancer and two fire-dancers. They were all wonderful and really encouraged us all to join in with some hilarious results! I can recommended them all they were brilliant. We arranged this through Ahmet who runs a dance school in Fethiye. He can be contacted on 0 533 423 66 77 and can also provide other types of entertainment if you prefer.

Photo credit: James Dorrington
Flowers - I will not recommend the company we purchased our flowers from, because although they were lovely and just as we had booked, they demanded a considerable amount of extra money over the price we had agreed, and got very nasty about it. We opted for imitation flowers and that had two advantages. One that the shop can make them at their convenience ahead of time so the price should be more negotiable and two because real flowers may not stand up to the heat here very well.

We were also very grateful to our friend James Dorrington for remaining teetotal on our wedding day to take the fantastic wedding pictures for us after we were let down by our photographer the week before the wedding. Obviously James is not normally around to take pictures in Turkey, but anyone wanting a photographer in the Bristol, Bath area of the UK can contact him on his face book page:- https://www.facebook.com/DorringtonEvents

We held our wedding at the Camlik Restaurant in Uzumlu and we can't thank Ertan Cetinkaya enough for the wonderful job he did of making the day so special for us. Unfortunately this restaurant is no longer open as Ertan has moved on to manage the Park Alya restaurant just up the road. We were his first wedding and he had nearly as many sleepless nights as I did, but it all went well on the day.

We had great fun planning and organising our wedding day. The Turkish people are wonderful at 'making it happen' so whatever your requirements they will help you achieve the day of your dreams. Almost anything is possible here. So if you are planning on a Turkish wedding, you will not be disappointed.


  1. Hello,

    Excellent post. This post is very useful for all users. This is the very well published content. We’re certain to take a note of the item and are available back to go through more of your very helpful details. Thanks to sharing the useful information.


    1. Thank you Harry. We're glad you found it useful.