Same sex weddings and civil partnerships abroad

Same sex weddings and civil partnerships abroad

From vibrant cities with a rich heritage to luscious vineyards and tropical beaches, explore the options for a same-sex ceremonies abroad

Every year, we help couples who are organising their dream wedding abroad by facilitating great value international payments. Over the years, we’ve learned a lot about how to organise the big day abroad. We take a look at some of the considerations when organising a same sex or civil partnership wedding or ceremony abroad. 

Where is same sex marriage legal?

Unfortunately, same-sex marriage isn’t yet legal everywhere, but there are plenty of places that do welcome same sex couples. The list of countries is growing all the time; a recent court ruling in the Cayman Islands mean that British Overseas Territories may soon be required to recognise same-sex marriage which will add to the growing list. There are plenty of resources online which provide an up to date list of where same sex marriage is legal and overseas wedding and civil partnership ceremonies can be performed abroad. The Gay Wedding Guide maintains a current map of where same sex marriage is recognised and can provide a useful starting point. From there you can tailor your choice based on your preference – a stylish city wedding, a sparkling ceremony in Las Vegas or a luxurious beach wedding with your closest friends and family. 

What is the difference between a civil partnership and a same sex marriage?

The differences between the two are quite subtle in many cases, but they are significant. In many countries, civil partners have the same rights as married couples – issues such as parental responsibility, next of kin rights and inheritance tax rules are the same. The ceremonies differ, but after the paperwork is completed, there are many ways to make the day your own with personal touches and unique details.

Are civil partnerships recognised abroad?

Marriage is recognised all over the world but civil partnerships are not and the rules vary from country to country. This has implications not only for where you choose to organise your wedding but also if you plan to travel, work or move to another country. It is possible to ‘convert’ a civil partnership to a marriage in the UK, but you will want to check the rules if you plan to marry abroad. An alternative may be to carry out the administration at home and organise a non-binding – but equally romantic – blessing ceremony overseas.

What are most popular places for a same sex wedding abroad?

The breath-taking scenery of South Africa makes for a beautiful setting for a wedding, and you can enjoy the fruits of the many vineyards when you’re celebrating. However, when it comes to a spectacular backdrop, the northern lights in Iceland are hard to beat – just make sure you plan your wedding outfit so you can wrap up warm. City same-sex weddings in the US are popular, from New York, home of Stonewall, to Las Vegas. The vibrancy of Brazil is another place for a memorable day, and there are many places in Europe that offer civil partnerships and same sex weddings abroad. It helps to be aware of the rules – same-sex ceremonies in France are legal, for example, but the same residency requirements apply. In Spain, however, there are no such requirements and a lot of choice, from beautiful Basque country to the Gaudi-inspired Catalan city of Barcelona. For an idyllic tropical wedding, the white sand and beautiful lagoons of the islands French Polynesia, including Tahiti and Bora Bora, are hard to beat

Planning your LGBTQIA+ wedding abroad

When it comes to planning any wedding, the details matter. If you want to focus on the romance, a same sex ceremony in the UK followed by a blessing in a beautiful location abroad such as Mauritius, Thailand or Cyprus could be an option. If you choose to tie the knot overseas, there is no legal requirement to register your foreign marriage or civil partnership with the General Register Office (GRO) as long as it is legal in the country where you chose to carry out the ceremony. However, if your certificate is in a foreign language you will need an official translation. When it comes to paying for your perfect day, our team can help with great value international payments that help you make the most of your wedding budget. You can make payments over the phone, online and via our handy mobile app so you can secure that perfect venue wherever you are and get back to what really matters – your wonderful new life together. 

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