International Beach Weddings

Since you have arrived at this wedding site, I already know that you are looking for a non-traditional, exciting wedding – a Beach Wedding in a tropical locale. This is the total package. Your wedding can be just as glamorous and beautiful as any traditional wedding at home, your honeymoon travel has already been accomplished, and your invited guests get to enjoy a vacation after you both say “I do.”

While you probably can just put on some clean cut-offs and flip-flops, hire a minister and have a simple, quick wedding on the beach almost anywhere, that might not be what you want to do with this very special day in your life.

As with any ceremonies, there is always a list of critical details that need to be organized.

In order to limit the stress factor found in most weddings after months of details and hassles that need to be overcome, it might be a good time to hire a wedding planner to make your life easier. Most hotels in popular beach wedding destinations have experienced planners available to help you with your special ceremony.

Sure, a planner costs money, but think about the details you will have to handle from your home at a destination hundreds or thousands of miles away. How will you find reputable local vendors or providers of outdoor wedding services, like renting and setting up tents, portable toilets or equipment to prepare special food or a buffet table?

Even if you could find them yourself, would you be able to afford the cost of constant long-distance phone calls to check details? How would needing to get up in the middle of the night to make phone calls during their business hours stress you? Sleep is not optional. You need it if you want to stay calm, on top of details and look beautiful during the ceremony.

Another good reason for hiring a wedding planner is her ability to handle all the peripheral arrangements that are not so complicated in your hometown.

Some of those details might be greeting your guests at the airport and arranging travel to the hotel you’ve booked, booking babysitters if needed and providing gift bags with sun screen, maps and schedules for your wedding guests.

Your wedding planner might be the reason you have a spectacular wedding that will be remembered for years.

First Things First – International Marriage Licenses

Regardless of your home address or nationality, when you are planning a beach wedding in a tropical locale outside your own country, you will need to pay attention to the requirements for getting married in foreign countries.

Here are the requirements for several very popular international destinations for beach weddings:

Caribbean Islands:

For Jamaica and Turks/Caicos only:
copies of:

  • The bride and groom’s state-issued birth certificates
  • Copy of any divorce decree final judgment, if applicable
  • Copy of spouse’s marriage and death certificate, if applicable
  • Copy of legal adoption papers or legal name change, if applicable
  • Affidavit of spinsterhood or bachelorhood
  • Copy of legal translation of all documents to English, with original documents in original language, if applicable
  • Driver’s license with birth certificate

The Bahamas:

Apply for the marriage certificate at the Registrar General in Nassau, New Providence.

You will need:

 Photo ID – passport or driver’s license

  • Sworn declaration that you are not married.
    • If you are a U.S. citizen, you can get this at the US Consul at the American Embassy in Nassau
    • Non-U.S. citizens can provide a simple notarized declaration
  • There is a residency requirement in The Bahamas. One of you must provide evidence of 24 hours residency in The Bahamas. Your proof needs the date of your arrival clearly visible
  • Waiting period is 24 hours
  • If you are divorced, you have to show the original final decree or a certified copy
  • If you are widowed, you will need the death certificate of your deceased spouse
  • $40 in cash
  • If you are under the age of 18, you will need parental consent
  • No proxy marriages allowed
  • Non-resident Catholics, wanting to marry in the Catholic Church, must provide proof of a completed six-week pre-marital course at home

For more information about marriage licenses in The Bahamas, contact:

The Assistant Registrar General of The Bahamas

P.O. Box F-42602

Freeport, Grand Bahamas, Bahamas

Telephone: (242) 352-4934/7

Fax: (242) 352-4060

Antigua & Barbuda

  • No waiting period
  • License Fee: $240, includes marriage license, marriage officer fees and registration fee
  • Valid, legal identification (passport, driver’s license or state-issued identification with birth certificate)
  • Proof of divorce (deed poll or name certificate where necessary)
  • If your spouse died, original death certificate or certified copies
  • Two witnesses present at the ceremony
  • If you are under 18, you will need written authorization from your parents
  • All original documents must be hand-carried to the islands.

To marry on either island, you are required to pay all the three fees mentioned above at the Ministry of Legal Affairs in the Government complex on Parliament drive. The office is open Mon – Thur, 8:30 am to 4:30 pm.

On any tropical island the requirements can change quickly. If you are staying at a resort hotel, they will have knowledgeable staff to help you.


If you are not a resident of Mexico, you will need a Tourist Card/Visa and a valid passport. If you are flying in, the airlines will provide you with a tourist card, but you will have to get one in Mexico if you drive. If either of you are under 18, bring parental consent.

Some of the 31 states in Mexico require a certified copy of both of your birth certificates translated into Spanish and confirmed by your own country. If you are bringing originals, have copies to give to the authorities because you will not get them back.

Mexico has a waiting period of two to three days, depending on which state you are in. It would be a good idea to allow an extra day or two to get the paperwork all arranged. There’s no residency requirement, but if you are a foreigner planning on marrying a Mexican citizen, you will need authorization from the National Institute for Migration (Instituto Macianal de Migración)

If you are divorced, you will have to wait a year before applying for a Mexican marriage license and will have to provide a certified copy of your divorce decree. If your spouse is deceased, you will need a certified copy of the death certificate.


You will both need to get a Mexican blood test for RPR and HIV and Chest X-rays. Most recommendations suggest getting these tests done in Mexico at least two days before your wedding. The cost of the tests is $125 per person, but that can change at any time.

** Note:A marriage in Mexico is legal only if it is a civil ceremony performed at a local Civil Register Office (Oficina del Registro Civil). If you want a religious ceremony, it will have to be performed later.


Additionally, you will need two to four witnesses over the age of 18, with identification. Some Mexican states require that at least two of your witnesses be from your home country.

The marriage fee in Mexico is $200 US. Weddings will not be performed on Sundays.

The state of Coahuuila and Mexico City have civil union laws that give same-sex couples many of the same rights of heterosexual couples.

 More information: Mexican Tourism Board Phone: 800-446-3942 or 212-755-7261

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Wedding Budget Checklist

Wedding Budget Checklist

Here’s how you organize your wedding budget checklist:

At the top of the page, title your columns, from the left:

  • Expenses This is the column where you list your future expenses so you can keep track of your money.
  • The fees for your Ceremony, like for the minister or other officiate, marriage license,  musician, site fees and cost of any other enhancement you want
  •  Reception costs, including reservation and usage fee for the hall or other room, food, liquor, wedding cake, favors, decorations, rentals, catering services, etc.

   Other categories include:

  • Clothing … Your dress, bridesmaids dresses, shoes, tuxedos for the groom and his attendants, etc.
  • Wedding Rings … including engraving fees, if applicable
  • Flowers … Bouquets for the bride and the bridesmaids, flowers for the chapel or other wedding site, corsages for the mothers of the bride and groom, boutonnieres, basket of flowers for the flower girl and centerpieces for the reception tables
  • Music … DJ or band for the reception, sound system rental, if needed. The fee for the ceremony musician is included in the ceremony expenses.
  • Photographer … payment for the photographer time and photos, including official album and any taken at the reception. The same applies if you have a videographer for the ceremony and reception. Additional copies of photos will be extra. Don’t forget disposable cameras for candid shots at the reception. You will want your photographer to be in control during the ceremony and for formal shots, and not be distracted by well-meaning and eager guests.  Your shots WILL be ruined, as you and your Groom may very well be looking at someone else with a camera in their face besides the photographer who is there to capture your memories, and know exactly what to do.
  • Car Rental to and from the reception and the wedding for both you and your guests, tips for parking attendants.
  • Invitations … this category includes thank you notes, your guest book, response cards included inside your invitations and any calligraphy you want.
  • Gifts for your bridesmaids, groomsmen and your parents. Gift baskets for your out-of-town guests have become common and most might expect one as a token of your appreciation that they traveled to join your celebration. (*** Note: See suggestions for contents below)
  • Budget % The 2nd column will have the percentage of the total available finances for each category in your checklist. Your reception percentage should be between 45% – 50% of your total budget. Food, drinks and caterers cost a lot of money.
  • Estimate 3rd column…This is your best guess as to what each category will cost your budget. Multiply your % by your total budget amount to get the dollar amount you can spend and stay within your budget.
  • ActualWhat you actually spent for each category. This is the last column on your checklist.

A lrge part of what we offer for our couples, are packages that will essentially save you money as you are making your wedding plans.  You can enjoy planning the clothes and your party, and let us put your wedding ceremony and setup together for your ceremony and photos.

Let us know what questions you have, and how we can help you as you plan your Beach Wedding in Ocean City.  We look forward to talking with you.

Until then – Pastor Mary



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Engagement Party Checklist

Engagement Party Checklist

After you tell your parents and close family that you two are going to get married, your first plan has to be your engagement announcement. You could do it several ways, like in the local newspaper, an email, a wedding blog or with snail mail announcements.

Those ways of announcing your intention are all common and you might want to have a more warm and personal way to make your announcement.  Consider an engagement party with family and friends to kick off the countdown to your wedding day and reception. It would be the first celebration of your coming wedding.

Here’s your first checklist:

#1…Decide how you are going to announce your engagement to your friends and family. Of course, you will tell your parents in person, if possible, but there are other popular ways to make the grand announcement to a wider audience:

  • Think about publishing a free wedding blog that keeps everyone up to date on all activities leading up to your wedding day. You can post photos of the two of you, including activities you both share and those you enjoy individually.

Frequent posts on your blog by both you and your family and friends will keep the excitement about your wedding building. If both you and your fiancé participate, those far away will begin to know both of you and feel like they are a part of your big day.

Another freebie that might interest you is a wedding web page that will keep everyone up to date on your activities. You can find more than enough choices with a Google search, but here are two to start with:
#1… I met the representatives form Offbeat Bride at a huge wedding conference in Nevada this past fall.  LOVE THEM !  Check their site out :
I met this group of reps too – thye really ock !   LOVE what they offer.

#2…Less public announcement methods for your engagement include a surprise party or at a family gathering. Of course, you would have to keep your engagement a secret if you want the surprise announcement to be a surprise. Most who know about it might be so happy about your secret that they will share it with everyone.

Think about that for a moment. Can’t you just hear phones ringing all over town and this message being relayed: “Sara and Bill are engaged. Don’t tell anyone because they are going to announce it at a surprise party.” Some secrets just cannot be kept!

Your not-so-secret announcement party can be held anywhere, like at a restaurant, during a barbecue in the park or at the beach, even your own backyard. Make sure you have chilled bottles of champagne ready and someone designated to take photos of the festivities.

#3…When the champagne starts flowing, your guests will expect toasts from both of you and the happy guests. More than likely your guests will start the toasting to both of you without any prodding from you. Let any who want to toast the two of you do it. Their happiness for your decision to marry will be full of joy and enthusiasm.

Before the party breaks up, be sure to toast both sets of parents, if they are present, and the hosts of your party. A toast to all your guests will thank them for attending and signal the end of the festivities.

#4…Thank you notes to all your guests expressing your appreciation for their participation in your happy news are good manners on your part. If you have a good photo of your party, include it in the envelope, if you want.

So – have fun, enjoy – relax and have fun with your guests and family and friends.  They are here to celebrate YOU and your day.  So enjoy it.
I look forward to talking with you anytime you have questions.

Until next time, Pastor Mary

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Wedding Budget

Your Wedding Budget

Once you start planning your wedding, regardless of how far into the future it is, you are likely to be overwhelmed with the amount of details you have to compare, schedule and decide upon. What originally seemed like a simple wedding that could be tossed together could bury you under a pile of stress.

If you try do the entire planning from memory, you will forget more than you remember and be headed for disaster.

A simple way out of that projection is to develop and use a wedding budget checklist religiously that will include, names & addresses of a dozen vendors, the lead time they require, the details of everything you ordered and the price. And that’s just the start of the detail nightmare.

Let’s look at a budget checklist that will keep you on track and truly enjoying the planning of your wedding, starting with your wedding budget. It is pointless to start looking for your wedding dress, planning the menu for your future reception and scheduling your honeymoon until you find out how much money you have for the event and how it needs to be spent.

#1…List your total amount of money you have available for your wedding. If your fiancé is helping, add it to your total. If your parents are paying for your wedding, add any money you can add to the total.

You can do this on a spreadsheet that can be kept up-to-date on your computer, or a simple, handwritten list. How you keep your wedding budget checklist is not the focus; what you list on it is.

As you are doing all of this financial planning, keep in mind that when you select a wedding service at the beach to provide your wedding setup, including Minister, Photographer and some sort of scene-perfect setups and chairs as needed – that your budget will benefit tremendously.  Packages are less costly than shopping around to try to find everything you need, then find a friend or your fiance and his friends to set everything up.  After all, it’s his day too – and he should enjoy the pre-wedding time as well as you.

All-inclusive packages are an economical wedding budget friendly way ot have the perfect Beach Wedding !

Now, enjoy planning !!  We look forward to seeing you in Ocean City.

Until then,  Pastor Mary

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Wedding Gift Baskets

***   Wedding Gift Basket Contents   ***

Traditional wedding gift baskets commonly contain gourmet treats, like chocolates, gourmet food and wine. New age options can include scented soaps, bath and body oils, candles. The more practical bride might make a kitchen basket, with herbs, salsa mixes, packets of fancy teas and a small set of recipes.

Many brides like to save some money or use their creativity to make their own gifts for their unique wedding gift baskets. You can make themed baskets with appropriate contents in a related container. Your theme can be almost anything. Some popular themes are coffee or tea, garden, candle and potpourri and movie night basket… or Beachy?

Cellophane or shrink wrap can be found in craft stores or party shops. You can usually find the covering to match your wedding colors, but, if not, choose clear, silver sparkle or a color that complements your wedding colors.

Here at Ocean City Weddings, we think that a really fun gift can be made for your Wedding Gift Basket, by using a Sand Pail filled with Sand Dollar cookies, water bottles with labels announcing your wedding date, time and location –  Beach Themed Wine Glass Markers, Dolle’s Caramel Corn, Taffy or fudge from Candy Kitchen… any of the above is fun and says Welcome to Ocean City for my wedding.  Call ahead and ask any of your preferred or suggested businesses if you can pick up your order when you arrive in OC.

Your products will be fresh and ready for guests.  And your attendants and family can help to make quick work of filling the bags.

Enjoy planning your beach wedding !

Until next time,  Pastor Mary

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Average Wedding Cost in 2012

 An Average Wedding Cost $28,400 in 2012

by | March 12, 2013 at 12:38 PM |


And people wonder why youngsters are getting married later?

By Jessica Chou, Editor

Brides-to-be might want to whip out their calculators; Wedding publication The Knot has released a survey of average wedding costs, and the numbers are pretty staggering. On the bright side, none of these are in the millions range.

According to their survey of 17,500 couples, has found that in 2012, the average wedding cost $28,427, not including the honeymoon.

Of course, the highest amount spent in a year wasn’t even in 2012; it was back in 2008, where couples spent $29,334 on their wedding and related events.

Naturally, the most expensive city to host a wedding in 2012 was New York City, with the average wedding cost being $76,687, more than $40,000 higher than the national average. Alaska had the lowest average wedding budget ($15,504); it’s such a shame that it isn’t a standard destination wedding spot.

In terms of specifics, The Knot has yet to release their full survey, but last year’s survey found that an average wedding cake was $540, rehearsal dinners cost $1,127, and catering per head was $61. Considering that the average number of guests at a wedding was 141, that means an average wedding spent more than $8,600 on food. Couples collectively spent more across the board in 2012, so we imagine plenty of the increase can be attributed to extra shrimp cocktails.

YET ONE MORE WONDERFUL REASON ……. to celebrate your ceremony / celebration and honeymoon vacation in Ocean City, Maryland !
We look forward to helping you as you plan your Ocean City Wedding this 2013.
So you and those who are helping with your budget can relax a bit, knowing that you will be getting so much more for the dollars spent for your wedding and celebration.

Send any questions I can help with, to

Until then ~  Pastor Mary

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Photography Checklist

Photography Checklist

Even if you’ve been planning your wedding for many months, the day will fly by faster than you would believe. Your wedding photos will become a special memory of your wedding and you need to ensure that your photographer captures the real essence of your special day.

It helps the photographer if you make a list of the photos that are important to you.  They won’t know if your grandparents are there or a favorite aunt flew 3,000 miles to be there with you. Giving the photographer a hint as to the most important one for you, will go a long way to make your photo sessions go smoothly.

Keep in mind that when you order a complete wedding package from most wedding services, they usually will have only the photos from the ceremony included in your package price, to remain budget-conscious for you.  However, ask about additional time if you want them to arrive with you to take photos ahead of the ceremony – or to attend any party you may be having afterwards, to celebrate.  And you probably will do better with their pricing than hiring an outside photographer who doesn’t normally work with your wedding service.

Before The Ceremony:

Some generic mood shots are always nice to set the tone of your big day.

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Preparing For Your Beach Wedding Ceremony

2013 Beach Wedding Ceremony

Here at Ocean City Weddings, we have been very busy talking and emailing with couples who are planning their Beach Wedding Ceremony and getting married during the 2013 Wedding Season.
As our spring, summer and fall brides are planning just what they want for their ceremony at the beach, they likely are starting to feel the pressure of preparing for the big day.
After all, summer will be here before we know it!
If you’re a Spring, Summer or Fall Bride in Ocean City –  here are a few must-have products we’re thinking you are going to love for your 2013 wedding ….…

1.  Sandals or Barefoot ?
Whether you’re wearing them for your Beach Wedding Ceremony or just for the reception, cute sandals are perfect for a summer wedding, especially water-front weddings like we have in Ocean City and Assateague National Seashore.
Many Brides choose to go barefoot – however, you can still be sure that enhancing your pedicure can be easily accomplished with Barefoot Sandals.  They look great on toes dipped in sand and water, and absolutely perfect for your Beach Wedding Ceremony.

2. Leave-In Hair Conditioners
Summer weddings wreak havoc on your hair, so you will want to be prepared. What does your hair do in the salt air and ocean breezes? How will you plan ahead for your beach hair care? You may want to use a leave-in hair treatment to keep your “do” under control for your beach wedding ceremony.

3.  Primer for Your Makeup
Your Beach Wedding Ceremony and the Summer heat can do a number on your makeup.  If you’re a summer bride, you’re going to need a makeup primer. Try Smash Box Cosmetics. They have quite the selection, beginning with Makeup Primer, when deciding on your Beach Makeup.  Not only do they send you free samples with every order, but the shipping is free also. Primers create a smooth surface by filling in pores and unwanted lines. And as importantly, they also keep excess oil from coming right through your cosmetics, and giving you a shiny face for your photos.

4. Are Ocean Breezes Enough?
99% of the time, the breezes will waft in off of the ocean and keep you and your guests comfortable as they wait for and enjoy your Beach Wedding Ceremony.  Although even with a breeze, the sun can become hot after a while out on the sand.  Keep your guests in mind when planning your summer nuptials and offer wedding fans like the ones you can purchase at a great price from Koyal Wholesale!

5. Who Doesn’t Like Parasols
Ocean City Weddings provides some gorgeously colored wedding parasols, for some fun photography with our photographers after your ceremony.  However, you may also want to consider purchasing them for your attendants, and some of the more heat-vulnerable guests.   Check out the wedding parasols from Luna Bazaar.

Keep in mind all of the fun things that make your wedding planning a pleasure – as you decide which wedding package suits you best at Ocean City Weddings.

Until Next Time ~ Pastor Mary

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Beach Wedding Dresses

Affordable Beach Wedding Dresses

Often I am asked what Brides wear for their Beach Weddings.  Well – all kinds of things, really.  Most all Brides will wear a dress.  However, that’s where the differences begin.

Each Bride has their own idea of what they love, and what they want for their Beach Wedding Dress.  Specific styles, or colors or lengths – all of these things come into play when shopping for Beach Wedding Dresses.

I did a little looking online myself, so I could recommend some locations myself.  And I was absolutely thrilled with what I found.  Here are three of my favorite websites.

Love! Love! LOVE these INEXPENSIVE Beach Wedding Dresses !!!

An Awesome Selection of Affordable Beach Wedding Dresses

Beach Wedding Dresses Under $450

Have fun shopping !!

And be sure to let me know which dress you have chosen for your wedding with us here in Ocean City, MD.   Which Beach Wedding Package will you select?

Until Next Time ~

Pastor Mary

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Wedding Planning Priorities

Wedding Planning Priorities

It’s your first Beach Wedding Ceremony – where do you begin?

Talking with each other to see what your Wedding Planning Priorities are for your wedding day is an excellent way to start. Each of you will have an idea of what is important to you, and you will want to be thinking the same way as you pull your plans together.

So let’s get you started working together on your wedding day.   We suggest that you each write down what your top 5 Top Wedding Planning Priorities are for each of you .

1. Start With Your Top 5 Wedding Planning Priorities

Each of you create independent lists of your top 5 priorities for your wedding day. Then compare them.  Most likely they will end up being very similar – good food, great party and the ability to invite as many or as few guests as you want. These lists will be helpful because it allows each of you to know what your partner’s priorities are.  It’s great, because each of you will feel like you are working together and being heard for what you want on “your” day.

2. Work Together to Select The Perfect Wedding Date

Selecting your wedding date is absolutely a wedding planning priority.  And it can be either very fun or very stressful.  Plan on keeping it fun!  It’s so much better when you are on the same page with the date and pick one that fits both of your schedules.
If you are having family and friends there with you – consider letting them know FAR in advance, so they also can plan for their schedules.  Keep in mind that the most important family and friends will need to travel, so the wedding planning priorities that you are working with, also affect your guests.

3. Will You BOTH Have to Be Involved In Every Decision?

I was fortunate that my husband wanted me to make Continue reading

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