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Marrying abroad


Travel...Marrying Overseas

Are you thinking about getting married in another country? Well, many couples do these days. Why? There are many reasons for having the wedding in another country. For example, it cuts the cost of your wedding bill, it reduces the stress of devising a guest list that suits everyone, and it stops people complaining about the music you have chosen for your big day.

How many times have you been to a wedding where you hear someone complaining about the music. The young complain 'There is too much old people music.' and the old complain 'How do they expect us to dance to that rubbish.' So marrying overseas may be the option you have been looking at but just not seeing it.

If you should decide to marrying overseas, there are some points you need to take into consideration.

  • Most wedding certificates issued in another country are recognised in the UK, but each country has it's own set of requirements which you must meet. Please ensure you find this out before leaving or you may face being sent home without getting married.

  • In America, getting married is extremely straightforward. You only need to present your passport and fill in the forms to obtain a marriage certificate. Be aware that certain states require that you have a blood test done first.

  • A lot of countries require that you have been resident in that country for a fixed amount of time before you get married . Generally , this often only amounts to a few days.

  • It is good to find out how many other couples will be getting married in the same place on the day of your wedding.

  • It is important to choose a firm with a proven track record in specific wedding packages, and one that can guarantee you will not be part of a production line, being made to queue for your own wedding.

  • If you are brave enough and want to plan your own wedding overseas, it may be worth contacting t the Foreign and Commonwealth Office before you do anything else. There is a dedicated Foreign Marriage Enquiry Line, open from 10am to midday Monday to Friday (020 7008 0186). To ensure you have all the right documentation before you book your trip, call the embassy of the relevant country and they will be happy to help and advice you.

  • It is worth getting insurance to cover every possible eventuality. Such as cancellation due to extreme weather.

  • If you are brave enough and want to plan your own wedding overseas, it may be worth contacting t the Foreign and Commonwealth Office before you do anything else. There is a dedicated Foreign Marriage Enquiry Line, open from 10am to midday Monday to Friday (020 7008 0186). To ensure you have all the right documentation before you book your trip, call the embassy of the relevant country and they will be happy to help and advice you.

What document are you likely to need?

Almost all overseas wedding destinations require the following documents. These need to be the original and not photocopies.

  • A Birth certificate;

  • A Valid passport;

  • A Visa (required by some countries) – contact the relevant Embassy for further details;

  • If widowed, the death certificate of the previous spouse;

  • If divorced, the Decree Absolute;

  • If adopted, the adoption papers;

  • If you have changed your name by Deed Poll, legal proof;

  • Certificate of No Impediment (required by some countries). Your local Register Office will be able to advise you on this.

  • Parental consent (in the form of a statutory declaration stamped and signed by a solicitor) if under 18 (or 21 in some countries)

  • Affidavits/statutory declarations confirming the single status of both parties. Speak to a solicitor for further advice;
Can I register my marriage in the UK?

No. But under the Foreign Marriage Order 1970, British nationals who marry in a foreign country may arrange for their marriage certificate to be deposited at the General Register Office (Tel: 0151 471 4200) in the UK. This is not compulsory and does not affect the validity of the marriage. This facility is not available for marriages which have taken place in Commonwealth countries. You will need to contact them to initiate the process.

So you've decided to get married overseas. Here are a few pointers you need to consider.

  • If you are organising the weddings give yourself plenty of time to get things together.
  • Please make sure that your marriage is recognised in your country of residency.
  • Finally, make sure you have all the required vaccinations.
Best Wishes and Good Luck

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