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:
For Jamaica and Turks/Caicos only:
Notarized 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
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.
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