It brings us immense joy to see so many couples from around the world choosing to have their destination wedding in the Caribbean and Mexico. Not only are the venue options absolutely incredible, but the glorious weather, exceptional customer service and (ofcourse) the beaches are perfection! Who could truly resist?
In today’s experiential environment, couples world-wide have also started to book small luxury hotels with an intimate setting and uniquely designed services for their destination wedding, and the Caribbean and Mexico offers so many of these options that we can’t help but feel inspired and ofcourse excited!
From diving into Stingray City in the Cayman Islands and snorkelling by The Pitons in St. Lucia, to exploring the Hidden Beach in Mexico and dining in an overwater bungalow in Jamaica, we have it all.
So if you’re in the midst of planning your dream getaway, and are ready to hop on a plane and tie the knot in paradise, then here are a few things to think about:
PHOTO: Tina Joiner Photography
1. LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION
PHOTO: Sara Richardson Photography
Choosing your dream location is not as easy as it may seem at first. There are many factors to consider and you would want to try to select a spot that truly makes you and your significant other happy.
We know that most articles would say to try to choose a destination that’s easy to get to, that may be cost effective and that overall makes it easier for your guests. But the truth is that this day is your special day, and if having something more intimate and personal is what you have always envisioned, then go for it!
There are so many stunning small luxury hotels and boutique resorts that would be amazing for you and your guests, and we are seriously living for the unique experience(s) that they provide.
2. HIRING A WEDDING PLANNER
PHOTO: Lavender Bouquet Photography
Well you know that this is a given for us.
We cannot stress the importance of hiring a destination wedding planner and travel agent also enough to our clients. If you think of it, planning a local wedding is a process in itself, but could you imagine how much more challenging it would be to plan a destination wedding without the assistance of a seasoned wedding planner who either lives on the island or is well versed in the country’s culture and legalities?
Do not try to go this alone love, trust us. We know it may seem possible and even easy for some at first, but it’s SOOO much better and to be quite honest safer to hire a professional who can organize all the details for you, liaise with all the other wedding professionals to ensure quality and efficiency, and also ensure that you have the destination wedding that you have always imagined without you ever noticing any possible hiccups.
3. VISIT IN ADVANCE
PHOTO: Fer Juaristi Photography
Think of it as a mini vacation for you and your fiancé! In some cases, couples choose a particular location either because they’ve been to the country before and fell in LOVE, or they may have heard about it (and then went crazy researching it) and fell in love! It’s amazing either way, and we know how much you want to visit again before the big day.
So, if you have a few vacation days left and can make the time, head on down and finalize all the details with your planner, so that you’re aware of everything and will only need to think about having crazy fun on the day.
4. THE LEGAL REQUIREMENTS
PHOTO: Photo by Julieta
Review the marriage requirements for your destination. For example, in Puerto Rico you do not need to be a resident, but there are several documents that you must have (eg. Medical documentation).
For UK residents interested in getting married in Mexico, you must have necessary documentation e.g. Original birth certificates certified and translated by an approved translator, passports, tourist visa for entry into Mexico. Every document must be translated into Spanish, notarized by your local Mexican Consulate and notarized at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in London.
If you’d like to tie the knot in Jamaica, “you must be in the country for 24 hours before the ceremony can be performed. No blood tests are required. The couple should get in touch with a destination wedding planner approximately two weeks before the wedding day with the following information: Birth certificates for both parties, photo ID, Occupations of both bride & groom, certified final divorce papers or death certificate of deceased spouse if either party was married before, the relevant fees. Once the ceremony is performed, the marriage officer will present the bride with the signed marriage license” U.S. Embassy in Jamaica.
Getting married in St. Barts is definitely something to consider, though the process is a bit different. Since St. Barts follows French law, there is a one-month residency period requirement that must be upheld by one party. Religious ceremonies are permitted, but are not legally binding, so most couples opt to get married legally in their home country, and then head to St. Barts for the ceremony and reception. You must take certain papers with you also to St. Barts, such as your Passports, a letter signed and dated by the couple requesting a marriage application, full Birth Certificates issued no more than six months before the ceremony, certificates of single status, residency card, etc.
Cayman Islands is gaining amazing traction in the destination wedding space due to the utter beauty (ofcourse) and also the ease of the requirements. You can actually get married in the Cayman Islands the very same day you arrive. How fabulous is that?! “Here is a list of everything that you will be required to have:
- Passport of Birth Certificate & Photo ID
- Proof of Marital Status
- Immigration Department Cards for Non-Cruise Passengers
- International Embarkation/ Disembarkation Cards for Cruise Passengers
- Two Witnesses at the ceremony
- A non-residents marriage license
- A letter from the authorized marriage officer who is to officiate
Applications for non-resident marriage licenses and a list of licensed Marriage Officers can be obtained from the Passport and Corporate Services Office” Visit Cayman Islands.
So as you can see, it varies a bit for each country in the Caribbean and Mexico, so please take this into consideration when choosing a location and ensure that your destination wedding planner is well aware and versed in the necessary steps.
5. THE TIME OF YEAR/ WEATHER CONCERNS
PHOTO: Lyndah Wells Photography
In general, the weather in the Caribbean and Mexico is AMAZING year-round. But we do experience a bit of rain at certain times of the year (rainy/ hurricane season) which starts in June in some locations and ends in October/ November.
During that period, you can definitely still have a beautiful destination wedding or elopement, but you may need to opt for an indoor setting instead of outdoor, just in case. If you’d really like a beach wedding, then take the time into consideration and plan accordingly. If you are thinking of having a large destination wedding (120+ guests) then definitely look at the low/ down travel periods to make it easier for you and your guests.
Do you have any additional tips to share with destination brides-to-be? Or are you planning your own destination wedding in the Caribbean or Mexico? We’d love to know! Share your thoughts with us in the comments below 😉