Not sure how to tie the knot (legally) in paradise? Then, read on to discover the ceremony requirements for your destination wedding!
Legal Ceremony vs. Symbolic Ceremony?
First thing’s first. What exactly is the difference between a legal wedding ceremony and a symbolic wedding ceremony? Well, a legal ceremony is when you receive a marriage certificate from the destination you’re married in, and is recognized legally back home. A legal ceremony typically requires more paperwork, has additional fees, and occasional blood tests.
A symbolic ceremony has no legal binding, and makes up approximately 90% of destination weddings. Typically, the bride and groom will go to their local clergy or courthouse and become legally married before they leave. The best part? A symbolic ceremony and wedding can be performed just as a legal one would – so your guests will never know the difference.
Destination Ceremony Requirements
Mexico – As one of our most popular wedding destinations, the bride and groom will receive no legal bearing in this symbolic marriage. In fact, the only civil ceremony that is legally recognized in Mexico, must be performed by a judge. A blood test is required for this.
Dominican Republic – If you decide to wed here, keep in mind the only legal ceremonies are the one’s performed by the judge or Catholic priest. Be sure your paperwork is notarized and translated into Spanish, which will typically add an additional $1000-1500 to your wedding costs. Any vow renewals will also serve no legal bearing, as that is performed by a non-denominational minister.
Jamaica – Both civil and religious ceremonies performed by a minister are legally recognized in Jamaica. Vow renewals also bear no legal meaning, and the couple must be previously married.
Our Ceremony Recommendation
Typically, we recommend the bride and groom go to their local clergy or courthouse and become legally married before their destination wedding. But not to worry, a symbolic ceremony can be performed just as a legal one would – so your guests will never know the difference!
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Meet The Authors
We are passionate about destination weddings and love helping couples make their wedding dreams a reality. We are the destination wedding experts.