It is not just a piece of paper. A marriage registration certificate is the sole proof that legally binds a couple together. It is the ticket to a married couple’s entry to any foreign country without hassles; it is the deterrent to any inter-caste squabble; it is what validates a wedding. Bigindianwedding.com explains how you may register your marriage in India.

What is the procedure?
In India, there are two acts under which a marriage between two adults can be registered. If a girl is 18 years or more and if a boy is 21 years or more, they can register their marriage either under the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955 or under the Special Marriage Act, 1954.

The Hindu Marriage Act, 1955
The Hindu Marriage Act, 1955 is applicable when both the man and woman follow Hinduism as their religion.  The steps for registering a marriage under The Hindu Marriage Act, 1955 are:

(i) Apply to the Registrar under whose jurisdiction the marriage is to take place.

(ii) One can also apply to the Registrar in whose jurisdiction either the man/woman has been residing for at least six months immediately prior to the date of marriage.

(iii) Both the man and woman are to appear before the Registrar with their respective witnesses (parents, guardians or friends) within one month from the date of the wedding.

(iv) While deciding the place of registration, find out which takes the least time to issue the certificate and decide accordingly.

(v) There is no fixed time as to when one may get the marriage certificate. It could take anything between a few hours to 1-2 weeks.

The Special Marriage Act, 1954
The Special Marriage Act, 1954 is applicable when both or either man/woman follow any other religion other than Hinduism. The steps for registering a marriage under The Special Marriage Act, 1954 are:

(i) The couple is to give a notice to the Marriage Officer. The officer is chosen under whose jurisdiction either the man/woman has stayed for at least one month prior to the wedding date.

(ii) The notice is to be put up in a prominent position in the office.

(iii) 
If either the man/woman resides in the area of another Marriage Officer, a copy of the notice is to be sent for a similar display and publication.

(iv) The display of the notices is to ensure that there is no objection whatsoever to the sanctification of the marriage.

(v) If no objections are received within one month of the display of the notice, the marriage may be solemnized.

(vi) If any objection/s arises, the Marriage Officer is to investigate the matter and announce his decision on whether the marriage can be solemnized or not.

(vii) The registration will take place after the solemnization of the marriage.

(viii) There is no fixed time as to when one may get the marriage certificate. It could take anything between a few hours to 1-2 weeks.