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Georgia: Where Marriages Are as Easy as a Cup of Coffee

Combine your marriage with a pleasant honeymoon in this beautiful wine country, and say a toast to life's present, past, and future.

Snowy mountains and roads with few small buildings

by Alessandro Ramazzotti

28 de sept de 2023

Let’s take two words:

Georgia: a land of joyful toasts, kind people, sunny weather, and incredible landscapes.

Marriage: a lifelong commitment full of uncertainties, a heavy process of infinite bureaucracy, and a difficult engagement to disengage from.

How can these apparently opposite words combine? Well, let’s try…

A marriage in Georgia is as easy as a cup of coffee!

Different conceptions

My partner and I were both living in Georgia for one year. We met after six months in the country and spent the other six together. We love to travel, and after some short travels in the region – Turkey and Armenia – we decided to go further.

To make things easier (we initially planned to travel to Iran, where in some places you cannot book a room together unless you are married) and with an eye to the future, we decided to give it a try and get married.

I never imagined I would marry – and for sure not at such a young age! However, while traveling I discovered that the conception of marriage in different countries greatly differs: in Italy, marriage is usually considered a big deal and if you marry at a young age people would think you are making a mistake because things might somehow go wrong; in Georgia, and in the whole ex-USSR, early marriages are still considered the normality.

With this in mind, and with the thought that we were just doing that to ease our present-day life and not as a life-long commitment, one morning in October I went to the notary.

Let’s see how to do it step-by-step…

There are no restrictions as to who can marry who in Georgia – unless you are part of the LGBTQI+ community. People of every nationality and creed can just go to the Justice House (the so-called “Mushroom Building'' in Tbilisi) and be married within the next 24/48 hours.

First: If you are a foreigner, you will need to translate your passport at one of the many notarial offices of the city. Expect to pay about 30 GEL (12 USD), and to wait one hour. You can spend that time exploring the surroundings, eat a yummy khachapuri, or stop at one of the many cafes in the city. When you have translated your passport, you are already halfway through the process.

Next step: find the testimonies!
They don’t necessarily need to be Georgians, but if they are not, you will need to translate their passports too. When we were doing that, one of my Italian friends was visiting Tbilisi, and he was extremely excited – and shocked – at the idea of being my testimony. However, if you don’t have any Georgian acquaintances, or any friends visiting you, you can just try to ask someone in the streets or during a night out. People in Georgia are very kind and open, and it will not be hard to find someone willing to help you get married. They might even organize a big party for you…

Next step: go to the Mushroom Building! Sorry, the Justice House.
It is located in the city center, right next to Dedaena Park, and it’s always very busy. It closes at 6 PM, so if you want to avoid a soul-consuming wait and the risk of afterthoughts, go there early in the morning.

In our case, that’s exactly what made us give up: after a 4-hour long wait in a public administration building, with countless coffee breaks, and increasingly piercing hunger, we just thought it was too much. Spending a few nights in Iran in different rooms was not that big of a deal compared to this torture! And about the possibility of easing the Schengen visa process in the future… Well, we would manage anyway!

That’s it! You will be officially married within 24 – or maximum 48 – hours from the moment you submit your application at the Justice House.

In case of doubts about this procedure, consult the official government webpage.

Snowy ski station with small huts and chairs and umbrellas outside

A little old church hidden in the woods around Sighnaghi Photo By Alessandro Ramazzotti

Beautiful alternative

If you want to avoid incredibly long lines that could lead you – as they did in our case – to just give up and postpone the whole marriage process, a solution would be to go to the Justice House in a different city, and Sighnaghi is the most beautiful alternative among all.

Sighnaghi is a small town in the Kakheti region. Its Venetian-style architecture, and the lush green nature that surrounds it, make it a top destination in Georgia – combined with the fact that it is merely 2.5 hours away from Tbilisi.

It is also called the City of Love, both because of its extremely romantic atmosphere and because many people decide to exchange their vows there.

The Justice House is open 24/7! This is another reason that leads people to Sighnaghi to avoid the overcrowded Tbilisi.

After you get married in Sighnaghi, you can enjoy a typical Georgian supra (big ceremonial meal, usually accompanied by a chain of toasts) at one of the many restaurants in town. Given their experience with weddings, most of them – if contacted in advance – will be able to assist you in arranging a pompous event.

Moreover, you can combine the formalities of marriage with a Georgian honeymoon! Kakheti is the wine hub, and one of the most beautiful regions of Georgia – both very valuable aspects for a perfect honeymoon.

A hand holding a mug in front of a bus window looking out on a snowy slope

In the village of Shakriani, Kakheti Photo by Giga Goriashvili

Good kick-off and afterthoughts. What if…

To make your Georgian marriage more memorable, you can even rent traditional Georgian dresses to wear on the special day. Be sure that the event’s photos will enter into history and will be the topic of discussion among your friends for the next year and a half.

An additional recommendation is to sip a glass of saperavi at the viewpoint behind the National Museum and enjoy the breathtaking view of the Alazani Valley and the Caucasus villages on the blue mountain ridge.

Your life as a newlywed couple will start with a great kick-off!

And no worries, divorcing in Georgia is as easy and as fast as marrying!

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