How We Got Legally Hitched

Days since my last post: 12

When I first announced that I got engaged, somehow the first question that people would throw over was that if we had the date already. To get that out of the way for all would-be engaged couples, please remember that we would never "already have the date" because we had only just gotten engaged! Come on, really now?

You think we would have known the date ALREADY?

The second thing that popped up the most was what my already engaged friends had asked - how do we get married? I thought this was one to laugh about because somehow there was no Marriage 101 handbook on how to get about this, and so I thought of actually documenting a how-to on getting married when you're in Malaysia as a Malaysian! 
Let's get started.

First, please visit the irony.

The first step to getting married in Malaysia is to visit the nearest Jabatan Pendaftaran Negara or JPN around your area. It's probably set up in the same building as where you'd get your IC done but at a different department. The department is also fairly ironic, because they house the wedding and divorce offices in a single location. Most offices are open according to governmental timing which can range between 7.30 AM or 8 AM, and they close at 5 PM. Break times are 1 PM to 2 PM on regular days, except it's 12.45 PM to 2.45 PM on Fridays.

Tell them you're getting hitched!

Once you've gotten into the office, just grab a number to tell them that you're looking to get married and they'll hand you a form to fill in. Basic details are required, such as the couples names and such, and you'll also need 2 fairly mini photos to accompany your application. Just get them done at any photo shop and make sure you tell them it's for a wedding application because sizes vary. You'd normally have to come back another day to submit the form, so do take about 2 half days for this to be done. 

Pay RM 10, and wait your turn! 

Upon submitting the form, you'll be told to pay RM 10 as a processing fee. This confirms that your application has been submitted, and then you'll play the waiting game! It takes 21 days for the processing to complete and if you drop by the JPN anytime after, you'll get to see your forms on display publicly for anyone to protest against your application. Don't go thinking that crazy exes can do anything though, because you'll need a valid reason to actually protest against a couple. You'll be brought into the office to explain why you're protesting and if found invalid, you'll be fined an undefined amount. 

And now you wait to sign!

You'll have to go back to your local JPN to pick up a document pack after, and then you can just hold on to your horses for the day to come! The process regularly ends here if you're okay with signing at your local JPN - in our case was the one at Petaling Jaya. If you choose to however go to a different JPN for any purpose, do read on because that's what we did. Our JPN of choice was the official one at Putrajaya because we thought it was prettier than the one in PJ. To do so, you'll just have to bring the acknowledgement of your submission (The one that you paid RM 10 for) to the JPN of choice and tell them you're there to pick your date.

Go over to the JPN you want to hold the ceremony at.

You'll have to have a few dates in hand however, because your ideal selection may not be available at first pick. This was what I faced because my hopes to get married on the the 7th of October 2017 was dashed from a full application, and my next best bet was the 11th of November 2017! 

Finally, our dates!

When you've picked out your dates, you'll be issued an official letter to inform the staff on the date that you've already went through the official processes to get hitched and you'll be told to pay RM 20 on the actual day itself. This is the same if you're signing at your local JPN, and you'll have to go back to your local JPN to pick up a document pack after 21 days of the submission. Do remember to bring it on the day of your ceremony cause they've got everything you need to sign inside. And that's it! You just have to wait till it happens! 

When it happens, it's magical.

The general rule of thumb for the day is that the groom cannot be dressed in jeans and t-shirts and the bride would have to be modestly dressed. Try not to be overly revealing as it is a governmental office after all and they reserve the rights to reject your ceremony on the day if you're not dressed appropriately. Slippers are absolutely a no-no of course, and this extends to your guests of the day. You'll have to bring both the original and copies of your IC, as well as those of 2 witnesses who are both above the age of 21. 

TOO LONG AND YOU DIDN'T READ? 

For those who are looking for a more consolidated version of the above or if you're still confused, perhaps this would help:

If signing at your local JPN
  1. Go to your local JPN to obtain marriage forms 
  2. Submit your marriage forms at the local JPN 
  3. Obtain acknowledgement of submissions
  4. Pick up your document pack from the local JPN 
  5. Wait for your ceremonial date
  6. Go to the local JPN on your ceremonial date
  7. Sign the papers and live happily ever after 
If signing at a different JPN
  1. Go to your local JPN to obtain marriage forms 
  2. Submit your marriage forms at the local JPN
  3. Obtain acknowledgement of submissions 
  4. Go to your preferred JPN and submit your acknowledgement of submission
  5. Obtain a second acknowledgement of submission
  6. Select your ceremonial date on the spot
  7. Wait to pick up your document pack at the local JPN after 21 days
  8. Go to your preferred JPN on your ceremonial date 
  9. Sign the papers and live happily ever after
Obviously, we took the longer route to our ceremony but you only get married once in a life so why not go the extra mile anyway right? Do note that these steps only apply to non-Muslim Malaysians, and cannot be used even if only 1 party is not Malaysian. You'd have to both be Malaysians. These steps also only work for those who are looking to sign at the JPN offices, and other charges will apply for those looking to hold their registration outside the offices. Last I heard it was RM 500 on top of the initial processing fee of RM 10, and marriage certificates at RM 20.

But that's it, two families have now become one!

By the end of it all, just remember that it's your big day and it's important to just be happy about it. Two families will now become one, and it'll mark a big start for 2 different souls to go on a journey together. All the best for those who're getting married after this sort-of tutorial, and congratulations!

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