02/09/2012 01:03 pm ET

Getting Married In Turkey

Some couples are content to tie the knot at the courthouse down the road. But for those who are more adventurous, a destination wedding -- and an international marriage -- are a must. The Huffington Post's guide to international marriages will tell you everything you need to know to get legally married in Turkey. Read on to ensure all of your paperwork is in order before booking your ticket. --Susan Ory Powers

Residency Requirement And Waiting Period

Marriage in Turkey requires no residency period, provided the couple has all necessary documentation. Women who have been previously married must wait 300 days after divorce or death of a previous spouse before they can remarry in Turkey. Even though residency is not mandatory, couples are advised to arrive in Turkey three or four days before the wedding to allow time for filling out bureaucratic paperwork.

Intent To Marry

The civil marriage ceremony may not be performed until 48 hours after the intent to marry documents have been submitted to the marriage bureau.

The Ceremony

Only civil marriages are legal in Turkey. Religious marriages are not recognized by the government, and they may only take place after the civil ceremony is performed by a marriage officer. Attorney Berk Cektir for Today's Zaman explains that an authorized marriage officer in a municipality is the mayor, and in villages, the local governor can perform the ceremonies. The wedding may take place at a location and time agreed to by the bride, groom and officer. Expect to pay the marriage officer a greater fee for marriages outside of regular hours and office sites. Two witnesses are required, and neither may be immediate family members.

The Marriage Certificate

After the marriage ceremony, the couple receives a marriage certificate and a marriage booklet. Newlyweds are advised to take the marriage certificate to their closest consulate and have it translated into English.

Legal Documentation

An Affidavit of Eligibility to Marry from the American Embassy in Turkey is required. Other documentation includes passports, birth certificates, ID cards (for military), a health certificate and five photographs each of the bride and groom.

Same-Sex Marriage

Turkey does not recognize same-sex marriage nor any other form of union between those of the same sex. Yet, in spite of Middle East intolerance of homosexuality, in a blog by the Roosevelt Institute Campus Network, Turkey was described as one of the "most tolerant" countries in the region.

Additional Information

Turkey Travel Planner advises Americans to "be prepared for a lot of running around." Just meeting the health exam requirements can mean going to three different locations. The American Embassy advises couples to hire a Turkish interpreter for the ceremony so they may respond to questions by the marriage officer. That interpreter will also be able to help the couple with requirements that go beyond the actual wedding.

The Turkey Constitution, Article 174, preserves the validity of Turkey's reform laws on marriage. The United States Embassy provides a step-by-step process for marrying in Turkey, and the Turkey Travel Planner offers many practical details.

Learn more about getting married abroad here.