Getting Married Abroad

It is possible for two British citizens to marry abroad in a civil ceremony in certain countries – mainly glamorous-sounding tropical places like Antigua, Barbados, Jamaica, Bahamas, St Lucia, Hawaii and the Seychelles.

The ceremony for wedding abroad usually takes place on a hotel beach or garden. It does not have to be in a registrar’s or magistrate’s office. It can be beach weddings or island weddings. A few tour operators specialize in arranging the necessary paperwork and all the trimmings for a wedding at one of the holiday hotels – bridesmaids, best man, the cake and a photographer.

Sometime before the trip you usually need to send the tour operator copies of your birth certificates (plus, where appropriate, proof of decree absolute for divorcees, a death certificate for widows and widowers, or proof if you have changed your name by deed poll), and if you are under twenty-one (or eighteen in the Seychelles), an affidavit stamped by the Notary Public that your parents have given their consent Most places require you to be the ‘resident’ for some days before the wedding.

How is this for a romantic getaway? One man arranged his tropical wedding this way but told his girlfriend only that they were going on holiday. He proposed on the plane. She said, ‘Yes, but I have not a thing to wear.’ Form his case, he produced a wedding dress her girlfriend had secretly bought. I shudder to think what sort of holiday they had have had if she had said no.

Naming the day: These weddings are so popular that some hotels have been churning them out at a conveyor-belt rate of four or five a day. Most hotels now limit weddings to one a day at the most. But there are still very popular.

If you want to book the whole shebang through a specialized tour operator and stay in a hotel that organized these weddings, you need to plan your trip months in advance because of the long waiting list.

Emirates