Is a Destination Wedding Ceremony Legal?

Posted January 28, 2015

Is a Destination Wedding Ceremony Legal?


When planning a Destination Wedding you have to decide if you want a legal/civil, religious or symbolic wedding.

Here are the differences:

Only a civil ceremony is legally recognized. A religious ceremony has no legal bearing and does not replace in any way the binding legal civil marriage. A renewal of vows or religious ceremony is a symbolic ceremony. It is performed by a non-denominational minister. (Please note that Catholic ceremonies cannot be performed outside the church). The bride and groom will receive a symbolic marriage which is not legal.

When we speak with our brides and grooms we always ask them which ceremony they will be choosing for their upcoming Destination Wedding.
There are a few requirements to consider when you are deciding between a legal and non-legal wedding so we thought we should give you some information on what you need to do in order to have a legal wedding in your chosen destination.

Mexican Legal Wedding requirements (Civil Ceremony)
  • Valid passport
  • Tourist Cards (blue sheets that you receive at the airport)
  • Apostle certified birth certificates for Bride & Groom
    • If applicable, final Record of Divorce
    • If applicable, Death Certificate
  • Health certificate and blood test provided by a Mexican Official (additional cost)
  • Bride & Groom must arrive four business days prior to the ceremony (Saturdays, Sundays and public holidays do not count).
  • Name, addresses, nationalities, ages, occupation, relationships, copy of a tourist card and a valid identification of the 4 witnesses.
  Dominican Republic Legal Wedding requirements (Civil Ceremony)
  • Birth Certificate of Bride and Groom or certified copy of Birth certificate. If parents’ names are not shown on the certificates, please indicate them separately.
  • Notarized Declaration of Single status for the Bride and Groom. If previously married, submit two copies of the Divorce Decree or Death Certificate. There is a mandatory waiting period for women, 10 months before they are legally allowed to remarry.
  • A photocopy of Bride and Groom’s Passport
  • Photocopies of all Witnesses Passports. Cannot be family members. If necessary, resort will provide witnesses.
  • Bride & Groom must be in the country 3 business days prior to the wedding.
Please note: The Dominican Republic is now a member of the La Hague Convention, please have your official documents apostatized by your Secretary of State Office.

Jamaican Legal Wedding requirements (Civil Ceremony)
In order to get legally married by a Marriage officer recognized by the Jamaican Government, the following documents are required to be sent via courier to the Wedding Coordinator at least four weeks prior to the couple’s arrival to the hotel: 
  • Notarized copies of the Bride & Groom birth certificate
  • Notarized copies of Bride & Groom official ID ( Passports)
  • Notarized copies of Divorce decrees or death certificates (if applicable)
Cuban Legal Wedding requirements (Civil Ceremony)
Documents required by The Holiday Place 12 weeks prior to departure:
Proof of Identity: A copy of Birth Certificate and copy of the passport which is valid for at least 6 months  upon your return.
Divorced: A copy of the original Decree Absolute stamped with the seal of the court where it was issued.
Widow(er): A Copy of the marriage certificate and death certificate of husband or wife is required.
Name Change: A copy of Deed Poll under which change has been done.
Adoption: A copy of the adoption certificate is required.

*Important Note: All documents stated above except passport and birth certificate must be translated into Spanish first and legalized at the Foreign & Commonwealth Office and then the Cuban Consulate.
All original documents must be presented at the resort.  
Bride & Groom must be in the country 3 business days prior to the wedding.