Das Standesamt is an office, usually located in the town hall, where births, marriages and deaths are registered.¬† The office also issues the relevant certificates for these occasions.
The civil part of the marriage ceremony takes place at the Standesamt itself, often in a room specially decorated and set aside for this purpose.
If either the wife or husband is not a German national, or if one of the parents are not German, then the application to marry or to register the name of a child can get very complicated.¬† The non-German half may be required to sign away their right to use their national laws, eg. in naming their child, in order to simplify the situation.
To hear a simple explanation and a short discussion in German, listen to the podcast:
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