Many expats find their sweethearts here in China and if you do (or did), it is important to know the basic procedure that certifies a marriage in China.
First, make an appointment for marriage in advance and fill out an application that can be collected at the office of municipal Civil Affairs Bureau where the hukou of your Chinese partner is registered in. Beware that offices may require marriage forms and applications to be completed and sent 21 days ahead of time. At the Civil Affairs Bureau, both sides must bring their birth certificates, single status certificate (names may vary depending on country), and divorce papers or death papers of the deceased spouse, if applicable. Together, the couple should provide three official photos of the couple together, generally taken by the Bureau, plus the application fee. In addition, your Chinese spouse should bring their hukou while you should bring your passport and Chinese-translated versions of your documents. When everything is set and completed, the bureau will give you your marriage certificate either on spot or ask you to come get it a few days later. In China, aside from filling and sending the applications, the process of becoming a newlywed pair can be easily done within less than an hour.
There are a few additional requirements to these procedures. The man has to be 22 years of age while the woman must be at least 20 but with parental consent, this rule can be waived. Both sides must be single and of the opposite gender (gay marriages are not permitted in China.)
Despite the tedious process of filling out forms and gathering the appropriate documents, benefits come with marriage, such as permitting foreigners who have Chinese spouse living in China to apply for a Family Visit Visa/Residence Permit with longer duration of stay. However, do keep in mind that a cross-cultural marriage does not automatically gain your Chinese spouse a visa of entry into your country while you cannot automatically gain a permanent visa of residence in China either.