There are only 5 ways recognized under the Kenyan law for a person to tie the knot with the love of their life. They are the following:


This type of marriage is celebrated by two people who are Christians in a public place of worship and officiated by a church minister according to the traditions of that faith.

The church minister must be a licensed marriage officer registered by Registrar of Marriages. Christian marriages are monogamous.

A notice of the marriage must be announced in the church and any objection to the marriage brought to the person in charge of the place of worship.

The marriage ceremony should be postponed in case of an objection to the marriage and the person in charge of the church should hear and determine the objection. If it is ruled in favor of the couple intending to get married, one may move to court within 14 days to object the marriage celebration.  

Once a Christian marriage is successfully celebrated, the church Minister should;

  1. Issue a signed marriage certificate to the married couple
  2. Deliver a copy of the marriage certificate to the Registrar of Marriages to register the marriage
  3. Keep a copy of the marriage certificate.



  1. This type of marriage is officiated by the Registrar of Marriages or a person appointed by the Registrar to officiate the marriage. It is usually conducted in the office of the Registrar of Marriage or the office of the Deputy County Commissioner at a cost of Ksh.9,700 and Ksh.16,700 if the wedding is conducted at a garden. Civil marriages are monogamous.  The parties intending to get married are required to give notice of their intention to get married to the Registrar of Marriages at least 21 days before the marriage ceremony. This notice shall be published at the place of celebration of the marriage and any objections to the marriage are delivered to the Registrar or owner of the place of celebration for determination. One may move to the court if not satisfied with the Registrar’s decision to celebrate the marriage within 14 days after he or she makes the determination. A person who makes a malicious objection can be imprisoned for up to 5 years or fined 1 million shillings.Once the marriage is celebrated, the Registrar issues the newlyweds with a signed marriage certificate and registers their marriage. 


This type of marriage is celebrated by the couple intending to get married in accordance with the customs of the community of one or both of the parties to the marriage. It is a polygamous marriage.

The payment of dowry is usually sufficient to prove the existence of a customary marriage as it is a requirement in most communities.

The couple marrying through customary marriage must notify the Registrar of Marriages of the customary marriage within 3 months after completion of all the customary rituals and formalities that give them the status of marriage.    

The notification to the Registrar shall consist of:  

  1. The customary law applied in the marriage
  2. A written declaration that the necessary customary requirements to prove marriage have been fulfilled.

The marriage shall then be registered by the Registrar.



This is a marriage between 2 people who profess the Hindu faith and is officiated by a person authorized by the Registrar in accordance with the Hindu religious rituals.

The licensed person officiating the marriage ceremony shall record the details of the marriage and deliver them to the Registrar of Marriages for registration.



This marriage is celebrated by people who profess the Islamic faith and it is officiated by a Kadhi, Sheikh or Imam who is authorized by the Registrar of Marriages and it is celebrated in accordance with Islamic law.

Islamic marriages are polygamous and marriage between cousins is not prohibited in Islamic marriages.    

Once the marriage is celebrated, the sheikh, imam or kadhi will issue the newlyweds with a marriage certificate and deliver a copy to the Registrar of Marriages for registration.


Christian, Civil and Hindu marriages are monogamous while customary and Islamic marriages are polygamous in nature.


Come- we- stay marriages are recognized under the Kenyan law as presumed marriages although not listed among the 5 legal marriages. Come-we-stay marriages must fulfill the following in order to be recognized:


  1. The couple must have cohabited or lived together
  2. The cohabitation must be long and uninterrupted
  3. The couple must have carried themselves as man and wife to their friends and family


Author Since:  August 5, 2018