Switzerland recognises marriages through the civil registry office. Both people must be at least 18 and each has the right to divorce.
Same-sex couples cannot get married in Switzerland. However, since 2007, they have been able to enter into a civil partnership. This grants them the same pension, inheritance and tax rights and obligations as married couples.
Couples without Swiss citizenship living in Switzerland must prove they are in the country legally to get permission to marry. The local registrar will review the necessary documents and application and confirm in writing whether the marriage can proceed.
The ceremony can take place as early as ten days after the permission is received and no later than three months from that date. A marriage or registered partnership that has been legally celebrated abroad will generally be recognised in Switzerland.
For a fact sheet on marriage in Switzerland, visit this government site.external link
Marriage formalities are carried out at the local level.
There are numerous wedding planning services that can be found on the internet to help foreigners arrange destination weddings in Switzerland.
2016 saw 41,437 couples tie the knot. Of these, 70% were marrying for the first time. The average age at first marriage is steadily increasing. In 1970, it was 26.5 for men and 24.1 for women; today it is 32 for men and 30 for women.
Since the mid-1980s there has been a rise in the number of marriages in which at least one of the spouses is foreign. In 2015, this concerned more than half (52%) of all marriages.
It doesn’t always work out, however, and last year 16,960 couples officially split up, with divorces occurring most frequently in the seventh year of marriage (5.6%) – the seven-year itch proving true in Switzerland. That said, an increasing number of couples (29.4%) are getting divorced who have been married for 20 years or longer.