Estonia considering expanding marriage officiant rights to private sector

A couple getting married. Photo is illustrative
A couple getting married. Photo is illustrative Source: Mana Kaasik

In order to enable people to get married when and where they want, the Ministry of the Interior is weighing the possibility of expanding the right to officiate marriages to the private sector.

Analysis has only just begun of whether and how the rules surrounding the officiation of marriages can be changed, but Mari Käbi, an adviser at the Ministry of the Interior's Population Facts Department, believes that the need exists to expand the existing circle of service providers.

"We want the people getting married to have the wedding day they want," Käbi said. "If they want to get married on a specific date or in a very specific place, for example, it isn't always possible for the local government, notary or clergy who currently officiate marriages to accommodate those wishes."

Which is why the ministry is now commissioning an analysis examining the practices of at least three countries similar to Estonia and which will suggest what ideas Estonia could adopt.

"What the marriage officiation process would look like in general, what changes this would involve for those getting married, what changes this would involve for officials," the ministry adviser said, listing off questions that still need answers.

The analysis is also hoped to show how to ensure long-term interest, i.e. a stable market, for the private sector as well as what costs companies and the state alike would have to take into consideration.

Nonetheless, the Estonian ministry believes that if, for example, the master of ceremonies (pulmaisa in Estonian), who is already involved in the wedding ceremony, could be the one to officiate the marriage, that would ultimately reduce the burden on both officials and wedding couples alike.


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Editor: Aili Vahtla

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