Wedding in Cape Verde

Marriage is something that regardless of gender and religion, is a dream for many people, and the realization of that dream has its protocols in religion as in civil in any country and in Cape Verde is no different. Even though marriages are rare in Cape Verde, most Catholics. Those who intend to marry must declare it, personally or through an attorney (by the groom and attorney), at a registry office or Civil Registry delegation and requires the initiation of the marriage process. Only one of the Nuptials (fiancé, related words, married, contractor, godmother) can be represented by a proxy.

Those who can apply in Cape Verde are the bride and groom, interested-single citizens over 18 and who do not present any psychic anomaly or notorious dementia; Attorney. The wedding can be held at any civil registry office.


Doc. Required for / Nationals

  • Identification document for the newlyweds (identity card) and passport or other equivalent document for non-resident nationals;
  • Birth certificate for spouses;
  • copy of identification documents of two witnesses.

For foreigns

  • Identification documents for the spouses (identity cards) and passport or other equivalent document for non-resident nationals; 
  • passport or equivalent document;
  • Birth certificate for the newlyweds, valid for 6 months;
  • marital capacity certificate, valid for 6 months;


  • Certificates or documents written in a foreign language must be properly translated and their translation certified.
  • If the foreign spouse does not know the Portuguese language, and the official does not speak the language in which he/she expresses himself, an interpreter must be appointed.

Religious Wedding

In Cape Verde, the religious majority is Catholic Christian. Weddings are something rare, which when celebrated, are with pomp and circumstance .. celebrated with parties that last for days. Initially on islands such as Santiago, marriage was not spoken of as marriage, but as a union of ties, houses and partnership, of affinity and mutual help between the individuals involved, considered fundamental points in the traditional Cape Verdean family. It is not by chance that in the breasts of families there could be “brothers”, who are not of blood but were raised as such, with the same rights.

These are facts that make marriage extraordinary, making it a noble act. Privilege to celebrate the act of love, but before the ceremony, the boyfriends had to receive the approval of the bride’s parents generally, which could be a yes or a no, when the marriage was not accepted. the men expressed this with a very horrible act, kidnapping the brides (or they run away with them). When the defloration of the young woman had already been done, the man returned to warn the family about the abduction or alleged abduction and to see what happened, which often ended with the couple living maritally. It was a very macho act to do, but in some countries, it was very common not only here in Cape Verde.

But returning to the wedding, after the yes of the bride’s parents, they begin the preparations after the priest’s blessing in the church, it was the custom for the parents to give the blessing at home (men were given the blessing outside the house because he works, and the woman inside the house because she takes care of the family) and that the groom’s relatives were at the house to receive the bride when the church arrived. the parties there would continue all night and the days afterwards, with rockets, a lot of traditional food, like changing some animals, for the preparation of various dishes.

The «glass of water»

It is served at the home of the bride’s parents. In the middle of the party, she disappears, but behind that, she has an apparatus of formalities. People who wait in a half-hidden place to get away with the bride who belongs to her husband’s family. Together with the fugitive, they take their suitcase or “bundle” with their belongings. The mother, when she misses her daughter, mourns the loss of the family member. The party will continue at the house of the groom’s parents, who sees his family element grow with the arrival of the new daughter-in-law, treated as a daughter.

Catolica: Documents for Church Ceremony

  • Copy of the identity card (RG) of the bride and groom
  • Groom’s baptism certificate
  • Death certificate if one of the couples is a widow
  • Civil Procedure Protocol
  • Payment of fee at church. In addition to presenting the necessary documentation, the couple must take a course where the importance of religion and family will be presented. If one of the couples is not baptized, the baptism can be done on the day of the course. The couple must be single or widowed.
casamento 2

Catholicism does not approve of divorce, so divorced people cannot marry in the Catholic Church. The priest celebrates the ceremony, blessing the bride and groom and the entire process is witnessed by the godparents and guests who are watching the celebration. After the ceremony, the bride and groom receive the guests’ greetings with a party. The bride wears a white dress (the bolder ones choose other colours, no problem) and the groom a suit. At the end of the party, she throws the bouquet to the singles and the one who picks up, it is believed, will be the next bride.

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