From family feuds to impossible costs, many couples are finding that weddings can be stressful and expensive, with all that pressure taking away from the magic of the day. Perhaps that’s why many couples look to get married abroad, a more affordable option which allows couples to embrace the romance and forget about all the worries that a big wedding at home can bring.
Not to mention, there can’t be a better way to start married life than in a stress-free, tropical location, which is why so many weddings take place in the Caribbean.
What are the legal requirements of getting married in the Caribbean?
Different islands have different legal requirements, with some asking for a certain amount of days’ residency to obtain the marriage license. There are also a range of legal fees beyond the ceremony; in the British Virgin Islands, you are required to buy $110.00 in BVI postage stamps and the cost of the marriage license depends on the location; $35.00 if performed in the office or $100.00 elsewhere. In Anguilla, the cost of the marriage license is $40.00, or $284.00 if residency has been less than 15 days. A wedding in St. Barth requires a little extra paperwork because French translations of English-language documents must be provided, and a certificate of good conduct and proof of single status is a legal requirement. You might also want to consider the paperwork if you wish to have a religious ceremony. For example, in St Kitts and Nevis, you’ll need a letter from your priest (of any denomination).
Best places in the Caribbean to get married
If you’re not a fan of paperwork, Barbados has fewer requirements. There is no waiting period or minimum length of stay; the only requirement is that you must apply for your marriage license in person. As a non-resident, the fee is BDS$150.00 cash, with an additional $25.00 stamp fee. The simpler process means that you can spend more time planning all the finishing touches to your laid back, tropical wedding including the flowers, music and cocktails for a romantic celebration on the beach.
One of the current hotspots for what some refer to as a luxury ‘destination “I do”’ include Punta Cana on the eastern side of the Dominican Republic, where there are a handful of exclusive resorts that cater for the luxury end of the wedding market amid an unrivalled setting and perfect hospitality. A personal wedding planner can help to organise anything from spa treatments to a round of golf or a day deep sea fishing. There is even the option to spend your first night as a married couple in a suite designed by Oscar de la Renta at Tortuga Bay, overlooking the Caribbean Sea.
Calculating the true cost of a Caribbean wedding
Expenses incurred for a wedding abroad are likely to have to be settled in another currency. This could require some planning on your part to ensure that exchange rate fluctuations don’t push the big day way over budget. Read our guide for more help on managing your overseas wedding budget.
If you’re looking to keep things simple and stress-free, your high street bank might seem the simplest option for settling overseas expenses, however a currency specialist may offer better value. On top of better exchange rates and low transfer fees, you’ll be able to speak to an expert who can provide guidance on the best way to settle your wedding expenses and prepare for exchange rate volatility. The savings you make could be just what you need to book that extra spa treatment or romantic finishing touch to one of the most important days of your life.