The right to perform marriage ceremonies
Religious communities can apply to Kammarkollegiet for the right to perform marriage ceremonies that are legally valid according to Swedish law.
In order for a marriage ceremony within a religious community to be valid according to Swedish law, the community must have been granted this right from Kammarkollegiet. The person officiating at the marriage ceremony must also be authorized by Kammarkollegiet to perform such ceremonies.
If the application process shows that the community fulfils the requirements laid down in Swedish law, Kammarkollegiet grants the community the right to perform legally valid marriage ceremonies. The religious community can then apply for certain members of the community to be authorized to officiate at these ceremonies. Once Kammarkollegiet has authorized these officiants, they can perform legally valid marriage ceremonies according to Swedish law.
An application for the right to perform marriage ceremonies that are valid according to Swedish law must contain the following:
- The application must be signed by a person authorized to sign on behalf of the religious community or a representative (power of attorney required).
- The complete name, address, telephone number, fax number and e-mail address of the community.
- The name, social security number, address, telephone number, fax number and e-mail address of each individual authorized to represent the community if Kammarkollegiet grants it the right to perform legally valid marriage ceremonies.
- Information regarding whether the community is already registered with Kammarkollegiet. If not, the application must contain an excerpt from the Swedish Tax Agency’s register of organizational numbers.
- The most recent version of the community’s statutes or charter.
- The marriage procedure in the community. This should describe the different elements of the ceremony, what questions the officiant asks the couple etc. If the officiant is required to do anything before and after the ceremony which is not included in this procedure, this should be described in a supplementary document.
- Information about what qualifications are required of an officiant, i.e. education and position within the community. This information should also include whether these individuals have received any training on the legislation concerning marriage ceremonies.
- Information about what training the community provides to those appointed to officiate at weddings as well as whether this training is or will be provide continuously.
- An estimate of the need for legally valid marriage ceremonies on the community, i.e. how many marriage ceremonies can be expected yearly.
- Information about whether any type of religious marriage ceremonies are currently taking place within the community, even though they are not legally valid. If so, account for how these are performed and if any documents are issued (i.e. "Certificate of marriage" etc.). How many of these ceremonies are performed each year? Will they continue to be performed if the community is granted the right to perform marriage ceremonies that are valid according to Swedish law? If so, how will the current ceremonies be distinguished from those that are legally valid? The community is also required to submit information about the minimum age of participants in religious marriage ceremonies, whether they both have to be present at the same time or if one of them may be represented through an agent, parent or custodian. The community must also account for how it ensures that both participants want to undergo the religious marriage ceremony.
- Information about the total number of members of the community aged 18 or above. If the community consists of more than one congregation, the number of members aged 18 years or above should be accounted for separately for these congregations.
- A description of the community’s history, organization and activities. This description should make it clear when the community was formed. If the community belongs to a larger organization within or outside Sweden, the structure of this organization should be presented clearly as well as what power it has in relation to the community in Sweden.
- Information about whether the community has been granted subsidies from the Swedish Commission for State Grants to Religious Communities (SST – Nämnden för statligt stöd till trossamfund).
- Two attested copies of the statutes, marriage procedure or other documents. If the statutes or the record of their adoption are not in Swedish, the community must provide two copies of a translation into Swedish. The translation must be made by an authorized translator, if one is available.
In order for a marriage ceremony to be valid according to Swedish law it must – among other things – be performed by an authorized officiant within the community. Kammarkollegiet can authorize an officiant after an application from the community this person belongs to, provided that the community has been granted the right to perform marriage ceremonies that are valid according to Swedish law. If the community wishes, it can submit an application for these individuals to be authorized together with its own application for the right to perform marriage ceremonies that are valid according to Swedish law. The application must then be supplemented with the name, title, social security number, address and telephone number of each of these individuals, along with information about what training they have received about the Marriage Code and other related measures.