How to Get Married in Shanghai

How to Get Married in Shanghai
By Andrea Scarlatelli ,

Congratulations! You have made that big step and are preparing to commit yourself to the one you love for life. While weddings can be a stressful time for anyone, you will be happy to know that the actual process of becoming legally hitched is really quite straightforward here in Shanghai (it’s the wedding party after you tie the knot that can get crazy!). Read on for the basics on how to get married in Shanghai, covering everything from invitations to wedding rings to the legal process itself.

Strictly legal

First things first – find out your home country’s specific procedures for marriage. Each one is different, so your best bet is to visit your consulate’s website and copy down the checklist that most of them provide. In general, the checklist consists of things like making sure you are not already married, that you are of the legal age to marry, etc.

After you have gotten that out of the way, book an appointment at your home consulate to receive an affidavit of marriageability. For Americans, this visit will cost 10 RMB and it is here that you must request that the marriage document be given in both Chinese and English (there is someone at the consulate who can provide this official translation for you).

Remember to bring the following items with you to the consulate (but remember, each country’s list of requirement differs so make sure to do your own research first):

1) Your passport (or ID)
2) Your Chinese betrothed’s hukou and national ID card
3) Notarized divorce creed or death certificate in the case of any previous marriages

Now the real fun begins – applying for your marriage certificate! In Shanghai, you will need three formal pictures of you two as a couple to submit to the Marriage Registration Office. And no, those “self-portraits” you guys took on your iPhone is not going to cut it. These need to be photo studio quality, so either consider getting them professionally done or have a friend who is good at this sort of thing help you out.

Once you have your three formal photos in hand, you are ready to visit the Marriage Registration Office. Keep in mind, however, that you have to marry in the town in which your Chinese partner’s hukou was issued.

Remember to bring the following items with you to the Marriage Registration Office:

1) Affidavit of marriageability
2) Your passport (or ID)
3) Your Chinese betrothed’s hukou and national ID card
4) Three formal pictures of you two as a couple

Once you arrive with the proper materials, it should take no time at all to sign your names in forever matrimony. The best part is that it is a same day process, so you will be walking into the office engaged and out of the office married!

Shanghai Foreign-Related Marriage Registration Office View In Map
Add:  3F, Building E, Shanghai Guangda Exhibition Center, Xuhui District, Shanghai
地址:上海市徐汇区漕宝路82号光大会展中心E座3楼, 上海涉外婚姻登记处
Tel:021 6432 5087
Opening hours: 09:00-11:30, Tue; 09:00-16:00, Mon, Wed, Thurs, Fri, Sat
Getting there: take subway line 1 to Caobao Lu station

Read this article on how to get married in China for more details.


Now the fun of party planning can begin! It is so easy nowadays to design your own reception invitation cards online, but if you want to be able to eye the goods in person, check out Paperie Shanghai. They are a fun, sweet little boutique that sells refreshingly high quality card stock with every sort of print you can imagine. Chances are you will come back to them for your thank you notes as well!

Paperie ShanghaiView In Map
Add: Rm 1A, 91 Fuxing Xi Lu, near Yongfu Lu, Shanghai
地址:上海市复兴西路91号1A室, 近永福路
Opening hours: Mon-Fri, 9:00-17:00
Getting there: subway line 1 for Changshu Lu station

Here comes the bride…

For lavish designs and rich materials, Miki Bridal stocks a great selection of wedding dresses (they also happen to sell and rent tuxedos, cocktail dresses, and evening gowns). The staff are knowledgeable and can help you narrow down your choices if you are having a difficult time choosing – and really, what bride doesn’t? If spending the equivalent of a house mortgage payment for a dress makes you feel slightly ill, try the People’s Square Wedding Dress Market. Yes, it’s located in the People’s Square metro station and yes, you’ll have to weed through shops selling fake iPods and cheesy T-shirts – but there are deals to be had on some beautiful wedding dresses as well.

Miki BridalView In Map
Add: Room 101, Building 6, 1288 Xikang Lu, near Shanxi Bei Lu/Changshou Lu
地址:上海市西康路1288弄6号101室, 近陕西北路
Tel: 021134 8211 0486 or 135 0160 8903
Opening hours: Sun-Mon & Wed-Sat, 12:00-20:00

People’s Square Wedding Dress MarketView In Map
Add: People's Square Subway Station
Opening hours: 10:00-21:30

…and the groom

Lest the men feel overlooked as the bride and her wedding gown get all the attention, may I recommend W.W. Chan & Sons Tailors, a Hong Kong import that takes its suits very, very seriously. Whether you choose an interlining made of horsehair or a Bemberg silk lining in fuchsia, everyone will be impressed by the breathtaking detail that goes into every single element of these suits. Those men who want that kind of look but don’t care so much about the fastidious quality should stop by everyone’s favorite on-the-cheap suit making spot – the South Bund Fabric Market. Every fabric, design, and color you can imagine (and some you probably wish you hadn’t) is available for your perusal. Just remember to bargain, bargain, bargain!

W.W. Chan & Sons TailorsView In Map
Add: A-02, 129 Maoming Nan Lu, near Huaihai Zhong Lu, Shanghai
地址:上海市茂名南路129号甲02, 近淮海中路
Tel: 021 5404 1469
Opening hours: 10:00-22:00

South Bund Fabric MarketView In Map
Add: 399 Lujiabang Lu, near Nancang Jie, Shanghai
地址:上海市陆家浜路399号, 近南仓街
Tel: 021 6377 2236
Opening hours: 09:00-18:30

With this ring…

Wedding rings are highly personal mementos, meant to symbolize you and your partner’s everlasting bind. Unfortunately, in Shanghai this symbol means that you will be forced to pay double (sometimes triple) the amount you would pay in a jewelry store in most other parts of the world. The upside is that we have some of the best high end options in the world, including Bulgari and Tiffany & Co. Buying from legitimate name brand stores can ease one’s mind when wondering about possible fakes. It can be brutal on the wallet, though.

BulgariView In Map
Add: 1/F, 1266 Nanjing Xi Lu, near Shanxi Bei Lu, Shanghau
地址:上海市南京西路1266号恒隆广场106铺, 近陕西北路
Tel: 021 6288 2892
Opening hours: Daily, 10:00-22:00

Tiffany & CoView In Map
Add: Shop 116, Jing'an City Plaza, 1618 Nanjing Xi Lu, near Huashan Lu, Shanghai
地址:上海市南京西路1618号久光百货116铺, 近华山路, 地铁2号线静安寺站
Tel: 021 6288 2748
Opening hours: 10:00-22:00

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Keywords: How to Get Married in Shanghai


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