Trip to Anywhere

Destination Weddings - What You Need to Know

Posted on 02/17/2021

So you want a destination wedding!

What’s next?

Imagine this: you and your fiancé standing on the soft, white sand beach exchanging vows, with all the shades of orange in the sunset background floating on crystal-clear waves. It sounds romantic, but are you prepared to go through the residency, medical, or paperwork requirements needed for a Caribbean wedding?

Generally, a marriage performed internationally is valid in the states as long as it is valid in the destination country; the only problem is that every country – sometimes even between cities – has its own requirements necessary before the ceremony can begin. These can include not only blood tests and medical examinations, but also residency requirements (residing in the country for a period of time prior to the ceremony), translated documents, proof of divorce – all of which can be anywhere from $150-500 (does not include flights/accommodations) – making it easy to become overwhelmed.

Luckily, you have us! We’re going to show you our top 3 destinations and what each requires before a marriage can be established.

Firstly, requirements vary and can change at any given time, so be sure to chat with one of our travel agents, the local tourist board, or the local wedding coordinator to verify. Most countries need 2-5 business days prior to the wedding to process all documents, so plan ahead. The last thing you want is to arrive for your magical day and discover it has been put off due to pending documents! Additionally, a good tip is to make copies of any documents needed and keep them in separate luggage, as well as any original documents in your carry-on for safekeeping.

Now let's take a look at our most-frequented wedding destinations: Jamaica, the Dominican Republic, and Mexico.



JAMAICA
Nationally speaking, Jamaica is the #1 country in the Caribbean US citizens travel to for their destination wedding – claiming nearly 1/3 of American destination weddings.

Moon Palace Jamaica - North Gazebo


Residency
– 24 hours prior to the ceremony

Documents:

  • Valid passports
  • Certified copy of birth certificates which include father’s name
  • Written authorization from parents if under 18
  • Official copy of divorce decree (if applicable)
  • Certified copy of death certificate (if applicable)

Medical – NO blood/medical tests required

Extra Tidbits – The bride and groom must apply for a marriage license at least 48 hours beforehand and submit applications to Jamaica’s Ministry of Justice. The resort you choose will need all documentation at least 10 business days prior. All documents not issued in English must be translated by an official translator and certified by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs from country of residence as well as the nearest Jamaican Mission or Consulate.

Processing Fee – The processing fee for a marriage application is approximately $50.00. The marriage license will be valid up to 3 months once received.

Contact:
Ministry of Justice Address:

Permanent Secretary
Ministry of Justice
NCB Towers
2 Kensington Crescent
Kingston 5
Jamaica

Jamaica Tourism Board – (876)-939-9200

http://www.visitjamaica.com/your-travel-guide/getting-married


Dominican Republic
While Jamaica is nationally ranked #1, here at Sunflower Travel our top destination is in the Dominican Republic, specifically Punta Cana. Within our agency, 2/3 of all destination weddings take place in this island paradise!

Hilton La Romana - Beach Gazebo


Residency – NO requirements

Documents:
Every document must be notarized and translated by a certified translator into Spanish, with both the original and translated copies authorized by the appropriate party

  • Birth certificates
  • Valid passports
  • Notarized, written authorization from parents if under 18
  • An authorized, statement from the Dominican Consulate proving each are single and eligible for marriage

Official copies of the following are required when applicable, and must be translated into Spanish by an official translator when issued at the Dominican Consulate:

  • Divorce decree
  • Death certificate

Medical – NO blood/medical tests required

Witnesses – 2 witnesses over the age of 18

Extra tidbits – All documents must be sent to the local City Clerk, preferably 6 months prior, and a judge must be requested at least 1 month prior in order to receive a license

Contact:
Dominican Republic Tourism Office – 1(416)-361-2126

www.santodomingo.usembassy.gov/marriage



Mexico
For the more budget-friendly travelers, Mexico is the place to get the most bang for your buck. Between the lush greens, blue waters, and fiesta atmosphere, it’s no wonder how this country continues to be one of our top destinations!

Hard Rock Resorts Weddings


Residency – 3 business days prior to ceremony

Documents:
Every document except the passport must be apostilled in country of residence. Birth certificates must be translated by a certified translator into Spanish.

  • Birth Certificates (Original and copy)
  • Valid Passports
  • Marriage request form
  • Divorce decree (if applicable – must have been divorced more than 1 year)
  • Death certificate (if applicable)
  • “Tourist” Card (issued at entry to Mexican territory)
  • Witnesses official IDs (original and copy)

Medical – Certificate proving no HIV/blood type (issued no more than 15 days prior to wedding)

Witnesses – 4 witnesses over the age of 18

Extra tidbits – Usually, your wedding coordinator will prepare a copy of the marriage license; you should receive this immediately following the ceremony. However, the translated, final license (the one recognized in the United States) will be mailed to you within 1.5-4 months post-wedding.

Contact:
Mexico Tourism Board – www.visitmexico.com

_________________________________________________________________

With all the requirements and variations between countries, we know a legal/civil ceremony can become overwhelming; and although residency requirements will still apply, a symbolic wedding could be the wedding of your dreams – without the extra hassle.

Call one of our Destination Wedding Experts today!

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