Whether you want to elope, have a beautiful beach wedding, or get married in a church, you need a marriage license. The image of going to the courthouse with the man of your dreams to get married is a little less romantic when you’re told you have to wait three days for the license, and being unsure of licensing requirements in advance is one sure way to ruin your big day. When planning a wedding, make sure you know about the licensing requirements particularly if your destination wedding will be held in a different country.
There are so many reasons why you might want to get married abroad. Maybe you or your fiancé are from a different country and would like to return home for the wedding. Maybe you have extensive friends and family abroad. Maybe you’ve just always dreamed of a perfect wedding on the beach or some other exotic location. Wherever you decide to get married, make sure to leave plenty of time for getting your marriage license. This is one of the most important components of your wedding – after all, you can’t get married without it.
When you are planning your wedding, find out what the country’s requirements are. Your wedding planner may help you take care of this. In other cases, a call to the country or a quick internet search might help.
In some countries, you have to be in the country for days to weeks before the wedding to accommodate for residency laws. Other countries need to see documentation before they will allow a marriage ceremony to be performed. Passports, birth certificates, divorce papers or death certificates as well as immunization records, an embassy consent letter, and background checks are all part of the necessary paperwork for many countries.
Keep in mind that planning a wedding in another country is going to require a lot of organization, and ensuring that you aware of that particular country’s requirements is essential. Be sure to leave yourself plenty of time to collect the documentation. You may need to send away for your birth certificate or get a copy of your immunization records from your doctor before your application can be completed.
If you are purchasing a destination wedding package, it is a great idea to ask if the license is included in the price or if they can assist you with any questions you have with the particular country in which you are going to be married. The advantage of this is that since they do weddings regularly in the area, they will know the proper procedures required to obtain a marriage license and ensure that everything is legal and binding.
When You Arrive Stateside
The United States recognizes any marriage performed in a foreign country as long as it complied with the rules for that country. In other words, if your marriage was done legally in Spain, it is valid in the United States.
Most people have an image of what they want their weddings to be like. If yours includes getting married in a beautiful gauzy gown on white sand with impossibly blue water as a backdrop, you can make it happen. Just don’t forget about the marriage license – it’s worse than losing the rings!