Essentials Of A Valid Christian Marriage


Marriage between two people is a legally and socially sanctioned union. Marriage establishes regulations, rights, and obligations not only between the people who have come into this union but also between their offspring’s and their in-law’s relatives. In India marriage is considered to be one of the most auspicious union between two individuals of every religion. Marriage is not only valid through the prescribed ceremonies but the people who get married should also get their marriage registered. If a marriage is registered with the government then they can get benefit from all legal rights.

In India, the laws related to regularizing and solemnizing of Christian marriage are laid down in The Indian Christian Marriage Act of 1872. This act is a British era act which is still being used.  The marriage is performed by a Minister or a Priest who solemnizes the marriage abiding by all the ceremonies and he later registers the marriage in the respective government office.

This article will discuss about the essentials for valid marriage, necessary documents, and procedure for solemnizing a Christian marriage.


A marriage to be valid according to the act, the people getting married should be Christian. Section 4 of the act clearly states that the people marrying under this act should follow Christianity as their religion or one of the party marrying should follow the same. It is also mentioned that if any one of the parties who doesn’t follow Christianity and that persons religion forbid such marriages on the ground of prohibited degrees of marriage, then the marriage would be considered void and redundant under this act.

Section 60 of the act also states some other essentials which should be strictly followed in order for the marriage to be valid. According to the section, the groom should not be younger than 21 years of age and the bride should be 18 or above in age during the time of marriage. At the time of marriage, neither parties should have any living spouse. Lastly, the marriage should be held in front of someone who has the authority to grant marriage certificate and at least two witnesses.


Section 5 of the act talks about the people who have the authority to solemnize a Christian marriage. If anyone aside from them can’t solemnize a valid Christian marriage.

  • Any individual who has received episcopal ordination and is authorized to solemnize a marriage by following the rules, rites, ceremonies, and customs of the Church he is Minister of,
  • Any clergyman who belongs to the Church of Scotland and is authorized to solemnize a marriage by following the rules, rites, ceremonies, and customs of the Church of Scotland,
  • An individual who is a Minister of Religion who is authorized to solemnize marriage with license as per the act,
  • Any individual who is licensed to under this act to grant certificate of marriage between Christian marriage. This point is explained in section 9 of the act.


The following documents should be presented with the parties at the time of registration of their marriage as per the act:

  • A completed and precise application form with two passport-sized pictures of both the parties.
  • The Certificate of Marriage which is granted by the Minister or the Priest who solemnized the wedding.
  • Two pictures were taken at the time of the wedding following the rituals and the invitation card of the wedding.
  • Age proof and proof of resident of both the parties of the marriage.
  • An affidavit certifying both the parties of the marriage’s mental condition and mental status.[1]


The act specifically states where a Christian marriage should take place and at what time the marriage should take place. Section 10 states that the marriage should strictly take place between the timeframe of six in the morning and seven in the evening. Whereas section 11 of the act lays down that the marriage should take place in a Church or Chapel. There can be a change in these provisions by giving them special consideration or grants.


There are various conditions mentioned under the act which a registrar must follow to perform a Christian marriage. For a valid marriage, the registrar must fulfill all the provisions.

Section 12 of the act talks about the notice of intended marriage. The parties should submit a written application to the marriage registrar in the same vicinity as the parties. If there is no registrar in the same vicinity of both the parties then they should submit their application with the registrar of their area, respectively. The written application is recorded in the office and put up in the notification area of the office for public viewing.

After the submission of the notice, both the parties to be married should come in front of the registrar before the marriage. They should pledge in front of the registrar that there would be no obstacles, natural inclinations, or other legitimate impediments to the intended marriage and that the resident of the parties of marriage in area under the marriage registrar’s jurisdiction.

In case the party to the marriage is a minor then the consent should be given by that party’s father, the guardian of the minor or if no person is there to give consent then the mother of the minor.

Once the pledge is taken before the registrar then he would issue a certificate of notice. Registrar must wait for four days and after that he can issue the certificate of notice. The time and place where the wedding would take place would be mentioned in the certificate. The marriage should take place within two months of issuance of the certificate. If the marriage cannot be taken place within that two months, then they would have to apply for the certificate once more.


The Christian Marriage Act is an old act which was bought in power before the independence of our country. Most of the sections are made by the Britishers back then. Though the act is still valid it has been amended a few times. The provisions for divorce are not mentioned in this act. The provisions for divorce for every religion is mentioned in The Indian Divorce Act.


This article is authored by Anjali Krishnan, Second-Year, BBA. LL.B student at JEMTEC School of Law

Also Read – Grounds For Nullity Of Marriage In India

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