top of page
  • Writer's pictureNicole Lawrence

The Top 7 Locations For a Legal & Stress-Free Destination Wedding

Updated: Dec 27, 2023


Joyful wedding party in a tropical location with the groom lifting the bride in his arms, surrounded by bridesmaids in purple dresses and groomsmen in beige suits, all smiling and posing for a celebratory photo, with palm trees in the background.

You're engaged, and you're thinking about a destination wedding. You actually want it to be a legal destination wedding.


But let's be honest—most couples don't exactly spend all of their free time researching legal requirements for making their marriage official in the places they want to get married, right?


Thankfully, there are 7 great destinations you can choose from that will give you a legal wedding ceremony without any extreme complications or hoops to jump through.


The Caribbean islands are the top wedding choice because couples can enjoy a warm, tropical climate year-round.


They can enjoy various outdoor activities, such as beach parties, sunset ceremonies, and water sports, to add an element of excitement and fun to the wedding festivities.


They provide the perfect wedding backdrop for a memorable experience for couples and their guests.


WHY CONSIDER THE CARIBBEAN?


Idyllic beach scene with crystal clear turquoise waters, white sandy shore, and tall palm trees swaying in the breeze under a bright blue sky, with a family enjoying a sunny day by the seaside.

On top of the fact that these 7 destinations are going to be helpful for an expedited legal wedding, here are a few more reasons to consider the Caribbean for your destination wedding,


Range Of Venues

Elegant beachfront wedding gazebo with white and navy blue drapery, ornate wooden table, and floral arrangements, overlooking a tropical beach with palm trees and the ocean in the background.

The Caribbean has diverse wedding venues matching couples' preferences and budgets. You can host your wedding in any of the luxurious resorts and private villas or choose the charming beachfront gazebos.


Many All-Inclusive Resort Options

Luxurious resort pool surrounded by tall palm trees under a clear blue sky, with guests enjoying the water, thatched umbrellas, and a poolside bar, embodying a tropical paradise atmosphere.
Photo by Pixabay from Pexels

The Caribbean offers numerous resort options that offer all-inclusive wedding packages. They include accommodation, meals, beverages, and wedding management services, and some even offer extra perks like spa treatments or day trips.


NOTE: if you want more information on all-inclusive resorts for destination weddings, read my article, "The Top 7 Reasons To Choose An All-Inclusive Resort For Your Destination Wedding."


Amazing Local Hospitality

Above all, the Caribbean is known for its incredible hospitality, vibrant culture, and friendly community. Couples can mingle with the locals and immerse themselves in the islands' unique traditions, music, and cuisine, creating a truly memorable and authentic wedding experience.


NOTE: If you aren't sure whether or not to have a legal destination wedding, you should read my article on The Difference Between Having a Legal vs. Symbolic Ceremony.


THE TOP 7 CARIBBEAN ISLANDS FOR A MORE STRESS-FREE AND EASY LEGAL DESTINATION WEDDING


The Islands of Bahamas

Aerial view of a breathtaking archipelago with a series of small, lush green islands surrounded by varying shades of blue water, creating a stunning mosaic of natural beauty in a tropical paradise.
Image from the Bahamas Tourism Office

The Bahamas is unmatched for its allure, making it an exceptional choice for a destination wedding. With its powdery white sand beaches, secluded uninhabited islands, and incredible scuba diving opportunities, the islands possess a charm that is difficult for any other destination to match. It is also one of the closest Caribbean territories to the United States, making it convenient for guests to join the wedding.

Best Time: December to April.

Legal Wedding Requirements:


Residency Period: 48 hours which excludes the day of arrival, holidays, and weekends. This means you must be in the Bahamas for two full business days before you can get legally married. Many couples will fly in on a Tuesday or Wednesday as they enjoy the resort, make final wedding prep with the onsite team on Thursday and Friday, and then have their legal ceremony on Saturday. Most of the Bahamian islands do not allow Sunday weddings.


Applying For a Marriage License


The following fee and documents will be required to apply for your marriage license in the Bahamas.


Marriage License And Administrative Fee: 310 USD


Documents Needed

  • Original birth certificate and passport.

  • The court issued concluding divorce rulings (if applicable).

  • Legal name changes or legal adoption papers (if applicable).

  • Death certificates with related marriage certificates.

Working with a state-side destination wedding consultant is a huge help when it comes to getting everything you need turned in ahead of time so that when you arrive, the process of getting married is smooth and pretty much effortless. I always ensure my destination wedding couples know what they need to submit and when they need to submit it so that their destination wedding will go off without a hitch.


Jamaica

Jamaica offers a thrilling island retreat in the Caribbean. Beyond its pristine beaches and swaying palm trees, this country has a deep-rooted history and a vibrant population. Jamaican magic's core is its soul-stirring reggae music, which permeates every corner of the land and creates a highly relaxed atmosphere. For an exceptional wedding experience, Montego Bay, Negril, and Ocho Rios are highly recommended.

Best Time: December to April.


Legal Wedding Requirements:


Residency Period: 48 hours. But unlike the Bahamas, your arrival day counts toward your residency requirement, so you can arrive on Friday and get married on Sunday.


Applying For a Marriage License


The following fee and documents will be required to apply for your marriage license in Jamaica.


Marriage License And Administrative Fee: 95 USD


Documents Needed

  • Validated original birth certificate and passport.

  • Court-issued concluding divorce ruling (if applicable).

  • Legal name changes documents (if applicable).

  • Death certificates with linked marriage certificates (if applicable).

  • Validated copy of photo ID or driver's license issued by the government.

Turks & Caicos

Aerial view of a serene, isolated sandy peninsula with sparse green vegetation, surrounded by the clear turquoise waters of a tropical ocean, with a lone boat near the shore.
Photo by Trace Hudson

The Turks & Caicos Islands present an upscale ambiance distinct from other Caribbean destinations. The place comprises 40 stunning islands, including 8 inhabited ones. The Turks & Caicos epitomizes beauty and elegance—features couples look for while planning a destination wedding. Among these islands lies a true gem called the Grace Bay beach, which ranks among the best in the world.

Best Time: December to April.

Legal Wedding Requirements:


Residency Period: 48 hours. Excludes the day of arrival, weekend, or holidays. So, in this case, you must be in Turks & Caicos for two full business days before you can get married legally. If you arrive on a Saturday or Sunday, your first residency day will start on Monday, which means you could get legally married as soon as Wednesday or later.


Applying For a Marriage License


The following fee and documents will be required to apply for your marriage license in Turks & Caicos.


Marriage License And Administrative Fee: 400 USD

Documents Needed

  • Original birth certificate

  • A valid passport or driver's license.

  • Court-issued concluding divorce rulings (if applicable).

  • Death certificates with corresponding marriage certificates.

  • 21 years is the legal age to get married.

  • Couples less than 21 years of age must have written consent from both parents.


St. Lucia

Scenic view of the iconic Pitons of Saint Lucia, with lush greenery on the slopes, the serene Caribbean Sea in the background, and vibrant pink bougainvillea flowers in the foreground.

Saint Lucia is gaining popularity among those seeking destination weddings and honeymoons in the Caribbean Islands. This enchanting place offers a perfect balance of luxury, serenity, and breathtaking backdrops ideal for couples looking for a stunningly beautiful and romantic wedding.


Best Time: December to April.

Legal Wedding Requirements:


Residency Period: 72 hours (must be business day). No Weddings on Sundays. You can pay to expedite this and get married in 48 hours (of course, you can show them the money, LOL), with one of those days being a business day.


Applying For a Marriage License

The following fee and documents will be required to apply for your marriage license in St. Lucia.


Marriage License And Administrative Fee: 270 USD

Marriage License And Administrative Fee with Expedited Services: 341 USD


Documents Needed:

  • Copies of birth certificate and passport.

  • Court-issued concluding divorce rulings (if applicable).

  • Legal name changes documents (if applicable).

  • State-issued death certificates with related marriage certificates.

Antigua
Panoramic view of a picturesque bay with crystal-clear turquoise waters, anchored sailboats, surrounded by lush tropical hills and a serene sky with fluffy clouds.

Antigua has 365 beaches! It may be challenging to visit all, but you must not miss the key ones. Antigua offers a variety of delightful locations for weddings, such as historic forts, natural parks, and upscale resorts. You can visit places of historical importance or choose a luxurious setting to spend time with your loved one. Numerous options are available to make your wedding memorable on this island.

Best Time: December to April


Legal Wedding Requirements:


Residency Period: 48 hours, must include one business day, which includes the day of arrival—no wedding on Sundays and holidays.


Applying For a Marriage License


The following fee and documents will be required to apply for your marriage license in Antigua.


Marriage License And Administrative Fee: 288 USD


Documents Needed:

  • Original birth certificate and passport.

  • Court-issued concluding divorce ruling (if applicable).

  • State-issued death certificates with related marriage certificates.

  • Legal name changes documents (if applicable).


Aruba

Sunset view at a tropical beach with the sun dipping below the horizon, casting a warm glow on the sky and sea, with gentle waves washing ashore and silhouettes of palm trees lining the beachfront.

Aruba is one of the most sought-after wedding spots in the Caribbean. It has stunning coastlines, intriguing heritage and customs, and delectable food. The beaches are breathtaking, and the weather is enjoyable. Couples can engage in various activities, making it ideal for those who enjoy adventure.


Best Time: Mid-December to April


Legal Wedding Requirements:


Residency Period: None. Civil Ceremonies occur in the City Hall Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday, with Saturdays available for an extra fee.

Applying For a Marriage License


The following fee and documents will be required to apply for your marriage license in Aruba.


Marriage License And Administrative Fees: USD 284

Documents Needed:

  • State-certified copies of birth certificates for bride and groom

  • Valid passport for Bride and Groom.

  • Witness (18 years up) with a valid passport.

  • Certificate of no impediment for bride and groom

  • Declaration of Intent Form

  • Single Status Form

  • Final Divorce Decree or Death Certificate with Apostille, if applicable

Barbados

Breathtaking view of a pristine white sandy beach with clear turquoise waters, lush palm trees, and a clear blue sky dotted with fluffy clouds, with cliffs in the distance and a couple walking along the shore.

Barbados is a lively and vibrant island representing the typical Caribbean charm. It offers a blend of natural beauty, upbeat music, rich cultural experiences, and a truly romantic atmosphere. You can enjoy your time on a boat, in a church, within a historic plantation house, amidst a stunning garden, overlooking dramatic sea cliffs, or with your feet in the sand. Those seeking a romantic adventure will leave the island with a lasting impression.

Best Time: December to April


Legal Wedding Requirements:


Residency Period: 48 hours, excluding weekends or holidays.

Applying For a Marriage License


The following fee and documents will be required to apply for your marriage license in Barbados.


Marriage License And Administrative Fee: 325 USD


Documents Needed

  • Original state-issued birth certificate and passport

  • Court-issued concluding divorce ruling (if applicable)

  • Legal name changes documents (if needed)

  • Death certificates with related marriage certificates

If you are looking for a legal destination wedding location, it is always best to do more research into what would be best for you. The list above is a great place to start; however, they may not be the best spots for you and your wedding group.


If you want to make sure you "nail" your destination wedding, you may want to schedule a free consultation with me so that I can get a better feel for everything you want in your destination wedding. Click Here to Schedule Your Free Consultation Now!


Commentaires


bottom of page