Definition: A civil marriage is one where the marriage ceremony has a
government or civil official perform the ceremony.
A civil marriage is a wedding that takes place without any religious
affiliation and meets the legal requirements of the locale.
Some countries require that a couple have their first marriage ceremony be a
civil ceremony in a public location and that the ceremony is open to the public.
The couples can then be married in a church and have a religious ceremony
performed by a member of the clergy.
Countries with mandatory civil marriage
In most European countries there is a civil ceremony requirement. Following the civil marriage ceremony, couples are free to marry in a religious ceremony. Such ceremonies, however, only serve to provide a religious recognition of the marriage, since the state's recognition has already been given. In some of these countries (e.g. Belgium, the Netherlands and Turkey) most couples marry without any religious ceremony at all. Full, formal weddings, complete with wedding gowns and the presence of family and friends, are usually conducted in special ceremonial rooms in the town hall.
Countries with no civil marriage
There is no civil marriage in many Middle Eastern countries like Egypt, Syria, Jordan, UAE, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Libya, Mauritania, as well as in Indonesia, Iran and Israel, among others; all marriages are conducted by religious authorities, and are registered by civil authorities only after having been registered by authorities of officially approved religions (Egypt, Israel and Lebanon all recognize Christianity, Islam and Judaism; in many Arab countries, a majority of citizens are Muslim), or, having been registered abroad. This yields particular problems for those who are refused divorce by their spouses, or couples in religious traditions that forbid divorce altogether. Malaysia allows civil marriage for non-Muslims only, while in Kuwait,...