Weddings in Croatia: Getting Married in a Catholic Church on Hvar
Tying the knot in a romantic location in the sun is a dream for many couples, and the island of Hvar is growing in popularity as a wedding destination.
With its stunning coastline, excellent weather, historical cities and increasing range of cheap flights, Croatia is growing more popular as a wedding destination for couples looking for the perfect setting. As Croatia's premier island, Hvar is experiencing a growth in weddings of foreign nationals, who are drawn by the history, views and party atmosphere of Hvar Town.
Getting married in a Catholic Church on Hvar is possible as a foreigner, but a level of planning is required. Here are the main things to consider:
Ensure that the laws of your own country in relation to a religious wedding are known: in particular, is a civil marriage ceremony before or after the church wedding required?
Inform your own Catholic parish priest of your wish to marry abroad, and say exactly where you want the ceremony to be. The priest will help you to collect together the necessary documentation.
You will need to go through the pre-marital counselling process. Your priest will conduct this himself, or guide you to Pre-Cana classes you can attend. Make sure you obtain the certificate that you have gone through the whole process, as you will need to include it in your wedding application.
If you want your wedding to be conducted in your native language or any other foreign language, you will be responsible for engaging a priest who can perform the ceremony in that language.
If you want to choose your priest, whether he is your own priest, a friend who is a priest, or a priest identified by an agency, he must bring with him positive proof that he is a bona fide priest.
You should tell the priest who is preparing you for marriage the name of the priest who will conduct your wedding ceremony, as the chosen priest must have permission from your Bishop to do so, and his name and the document certifying his permission must be included in your documentation.
The priest who helps you to gather together your necessary documents will certainly be aware that all the documents needed for a wedding must be sent to your Bishop. The Bishop’s officials are tasked with checking that your documents are valid, issuing wedding permits, resolving issues relating to hindrance or prevention of the nuptials (if these exist), and then sending the documents by registered post to the Bishop of Hvar (addressed to Mon. Slobodan Štambuk, BISKUPSKI ORDINARIJAT HVAR, Trg sv. Stjepana 26, 21450 HVAR). The Bishop of Hvar will check the documents and pass them on to the parish priest for registration in the parish records.
If your marriage documents are in the language of your country, we ask you to translate at least the most important of them into Croatian. As official forms vary, and different rules apply to their use in different places, please ask your priest what you have to do with the documents you send to Croatia (where you have to sign them, which sections you have to fill in after the marriage, who you have to send the notice of marriage to, and so on). Then you should meet the parish priest on Hvar a few days in advance of your wedding, and inform him of what he has to do in this administrative sphere. You will have to provide an interpreter if you and the parish priest do not have a common language.
The Catholic Rite of Marriage can be celebrated in two ways: one with a full Mass, or the other with the Liturgy of the Word only (please ask the priest who is preparing you about this). If one of the couple is not Catholic, the latter is recommended. In either case, the religious rites cannot be formulated arbitrarily, but have to unfold according to the liturgical rules of the Church. Within the model you choose, everything will be done by agreement with the Hvar parish priest and any other priest who will be in attendance at your wedding, in accordance with the established rites.
The bride, her female attendants and guests must wear appropriate clothing. Revealing dresses and mini-skirts are not allowed. If anyone wishes to wear clothing which is open and revealing, they must cover themselves with a shawl or wrap during the religious ceremony.
If you have any particular requests as to music, please advise the priest in good time who will make arrangements with the organist. You are of course free also to engage your own singers and musicians, at your expense. Obviously your choice of music has to be appropriate for church.
It is advisable for you to arrive in Hvar at least a day or two before the wedding, so that you can visit the parish priest to make final arrangements.
If the ceremony is to be photographed or filmed by one or more photographers who are not familiar with the church, please ask them to see the parish priest half an hour before the ceremony at the very latest, to agree on appropriate positions, and how they can move about during the service. They must be clear that they should move around as little as possible, and at no time should they intrude in the space between the altar and the seats for the bride and groom.
Agreement must also be reached with the parish priest on where you can place flower arrangements, if you choose to have them.
Voted by readers of Conde Nast as one of the world's ten most beautiful islands, Hvar is an ideal romantic destination for the perfect wedding and honeymoon.