We chose to get married in Sweden, a place that we intend to one day live. We scoured the internet for help on the matter and couldn’t find anything that helped us as UK citizens. We really struggled with what we needed to do, but we managed to do it, so we thought we would write a guide for anyone who is wanting to do the same! There are a few things we would have done differently given the opportunity, so we thought we would help prevent you from making the same mistakes.

Firstly we would like to say that this information was correct as of February 2020 and is correct for citizens of the UK.

Research

As above, this information is correct as of now but laws and procedures can change. We spent hours researching and translating the required information as we could not find anyone from our country who had done this previously. Hopefully this helps someone, or at least points them in the right direction, but please make sure that the process you follow is up to date.

Arrange

After we had done our research, we booked our ceremony at City Hall on a date of our choosing, you can do that here. The stunning Oval Room that we used is only available on Saturdays. The venue will ask for 2 documents, a Marriage Certificate and a “Hindersprovning” or Certificate of no Impediments. These are acquired from the Swedish Tax Agency, or Skatteverket and are covered in a bit more detail later on. The venue will ask for these documents by a certain deadline or the ceremony will not go ahead.

Notify

In order to acquire the documents needed from the Swedish government, you must give Notice of Marriage at your local authority registry office. This will enable you to obtain a British Certificate of No Impediments (CNI). This is an official document that is displayed publicly for 28 days to give people the opportunity to object to your marriage. It is also a declaration that you are suitable to marry, i.e. you are both single, not related and are who you say you are. You need to arrange to attend your registry office together to give notice of marriage. Because this takes 28 days, we recommend you do this at your earliest opportunity, but bare in mind that a CNI can expire, be sure to check with the gov website and your local authority for the expiry duration of your forms.

Documents

Once you have received your CNI from your local authority, you are ready to apply for the Marriage Certificate and Hindersprovning from Skatteverket. The forms you need to fill in can be found here:

Bare in mind that these documents are only available in Swedish so be prepared to translate. We used the Google Translate app which can use the camera to translate words within a photo. Since you are not Swedish citizens, you should fill the Personnummer field with your date of birth, in the Swedish format, i.e. yyyyddmm. These documents need to be posted off. When they have been received, you will be assigned a case worker who should be in touch by email. You should also send photocopies of passports, birth certificates, CNI and we recommend you keep your own copies of the forms you have filled in.

Identity

Once the Skatteverket has received your application they will need to see your passport and Certificate of No Impediments in their original form. We recommend that you try and visit Sweden a short while before you intend to get married there, as they are supposed to send the Marriage Certificate and Hindersprovning to your venue by post which can take a little while. We were unaware of this until it was too late. We arranged to pick up our documents by hand on the same day as confirming our identity, and deliver it straight to City Hall before closing at noon! What a hectic morning that was!

Communicate

We were in regular contact with our desired venue, the Swedish government, and our local authority. We found that emails occasionally got lost or were left un-responded, and found that we got things answered a lot quicker and easier if we picked up the phone. Of course, there are charges involved in making calls abroad, but we figured it was worth it to ensure we done this correctly. We cannot stress enough how important it is to maintain regular contact, and even put a bit of pressure on where necessary.

Enjoy

When your venue have finally received your documents, you can turn up on the day and enjoy your wedding, and a long and happy marriage. We arranged a local photographer to capture our day and took our parents with us to share the special moment. We treated it like a traditional wedding at home, with flowers, a white (ivory) wedding dress, suits and rings and it was perfect. We requested the service and certificates be in English and we were married in less than 5 minutes. A short but very sweet service resulting in our marriage.

Seems easy?

No. It seems easy as this is the way it should be done. Don’t get me wrong, even the correct way is not easy, you may find it stressful and it may test your relationship, but the outcome is definitely worth it. We had no guidance so it definitely wasn’t easy for us and we did make a few mistakes.

When we decided to get married in Sweden, we done as much research as we possibly could, and thought we had everything sorted. We filled in the forms from the Skatteverket first, before anything else, and did not hear back from anyone for a long time. We sent emails to our venue and to the Skatteverket and were not getting anywhere. We decided to call up and find out what was happening, to be told that our case worker was on long term sick and that our case had not even been looked at yet. We were told that because we were not Swedish citizens that it was a resounding no and that we had filled in the incorrect forms. We were also told that we would require a CNI from our local authority, a minor detail that never came up in our research. Remember when I said that the CNI process takes 28 days? We found this out 5 weeks before our wedding was due to take place. Remember I said that you both need to attend the registry office to give notice of Marriage? Well getting an appointment to give notice was one thing, Kieran was working away when we found this out so he had to come home early to ensure that our documents would be ready on time. And on top of that, the deadline that City Hal had given us to receive the documents was now unachievable. Fortunately, City Hall extended the deadline for us and co-operated with us to ensure we could make this work. During that 28 days, we communicated regularly with City Hall and Skatteverket and were assured that it won’t be an issue, and we can collect our certificates on the day we arrive, and deliver them straight to the venue, provided we get there before noon.

It was so close to being too late, we picked up our CNI the same day we flew to Sweden, on the Thursday night. Bare in mind that we were due to marry on the Saturday, and our ceremony had not yet even been approved. Friday came, Skatteverket opened at 10am and City Hall closed at 12pm, meaning we had a 2 hour window to prove our identity, pick up our certificates, drive to city hall and deliver them. We picked up our hire car and arrived at Skatteverket for opening and were 4th in the queue. We shortly were called forward, to be told no we can’t issue certificates the same day. Luckily, because we had been in such regular contact with our case worker at Skatteverket, we asked the kiosk clerk to speak to her directly, and the issue was resolved and the certificates issued. We exited the building to find a bright yellow parking ticket on our rental vehicle, but never mind that, the race is on to get to city hall by noon, and it’s now 11am. Safe to say, we got there on time and we were certainly being watched over that day to make sure everything went well. And the rest is history. Let’s hope yours goes a little bit smoother! Lots of love, Mr and Mrs Dobson.

All images on this page are copyright to Stuudio Huusmann our wonderful wedding photographer (Malin)