(Closed) Legal Marriage before Destination Ceremony?

posted 5 years ago in Destination Weddings
  • poll: Did you get legally married locally before your destination ceremony?
    Yes : (20 votes)
    61 %
    No : (13 votes)
    39 %
  • Post # 3
    435 posts
    Helper bee
    • Wedding: November 2013

    We will have been married legally for one full year before our Destination Wedding, though, only our families know. 


    It saved a lot of money, a lot of headache and a lot of visa issues. 

    I think how annoying it will be depends on where you will get married. I’ve heard Mexico is pretty annoying with blood tests and such. 

    Post # 4
    5242 posts
    Bee Keeper
    • Wedding: April 2013

    @MargaritaVille:  We are legally getting married in our hometown in a religious ceremony before the destination wedding. It is easier to have a marriage license here in my opinion. If we got one from our destination it would be in spanish and would have to be translated anyways and I heard it can also take a very long time for you to receive it.

    Post # 6
    435 posts
    Helper bee
    • Wedding: November 2013

    @MargaritaVille:  Oops, sorry! Either way, I say, if you like the idea, go for it! It doesn’t matter what your reasons are, it just matters what will make you and your fiance more comfortable!

    Post # 7
    3340 posts
    Sugar bee
    • Wedding: April 2013 - Rhode Island

    Be careful doing a legal ceremony before the Destination Wedding.  If your name changes, you’ll need to update your passport or they won’t let you fly.  And passports are one of those things that can take a long time to receive.

    Post # 8
    839 posts
    Busy bee
    • Wedding: September 2014

    You don’t have to legally change your name immediately after you are married, which would avoid the passport issue (I know OP is having her Destination Wedding in the states, but this might help other OPs). A marriage license doesn’t legally change your name itself, so you can get married in your home state, use your current passport, then legally change your name when you get back.

    Post # 9
    2874 posts
    Sugar bee
    • Wedding: March 2013

    @MargaritaVille:  im not getting legally married before, but frankly thats only because i already live in mexico so it wont save me any hassle (ie i still need all the paperwork, medical tests etc). in fact, having it at the wedding means the blood tests etc can be done in the hotel so its kind of easier!

    Post # 10
    255 posts
    Helper bee
    • Wedding: January 2014

    We are having a civil ceremony 6 months prior to our “wedding” with just our mothers in attendence. It saves a lot of money and time. 

    If you do plan on being married for real abroad know the following:

    1. You will have to have the certificate translated if it is in another language then your native tounge at your expense.

    2. You will have to have it filled with your government at your expense.

    3. In Mexico at least, you have to pay for a Judge to reside over a religious ceremony. If however, it’s a symbolic ceremony (ie you’re married already) you can use an officiant. 1/3 of the price.

    4.) You will have to arrive in country AT LEAST 3 business days prior to the marriage. This allows time for proper documentation to be reviewed. In some cases you will have to apply months in advance for licenses. And in any case where translation is required, you will be financially responsible.

    5.) You will have to undergo blood testing (In Mexico) and they will not marry any individuals which are found to be carrying an STD of any kind.

    6.) Some countries require pre-marital meetings between the bride, groom and state (councilling) prior to allowing you to wed.

    There are other reasons, but as you can see, there’s good reason to say “I do” on home turf prior to the ceremony by the seaside (or whereever your dream destination is)

    Post # 11
    8439 posts
    Bumble Beekeeper

    We did not get married legally prior to our Destination Wedding. Would it have saved us money and hassle sure but the point of getting married in a Destination Wedding for me was to get married in a different country. I still have not changed my surname over a year later because the paperwork and cost to do so are a pain the butt here and probably never will be bothered.

    Besides which I wouldn’t have wanted friends and family to spend all that money to travel to a non-wedding. Just doesn’t sit right with me.

    Post # 12
    1508 posts
    Bumble bee
    • Wedding: June 2013

    We are getting legally married about a month before our Destination Wedding in Mexico. As far as we’re concerned it was too much hassle to legally do it in Mexico with the blood tests and the wait to get paper work back home plus having to pay for it to be translated etc. etc.

    My Maid/Matron of Honor is also our travel agent and she suggested we do it at least a month prior so that we’ll have our marriage cert. often resorts will give you upgrades etc if you’re on your honeymoon!

    Post # 13
    651 posts
    Busy bee
    • Wedding: May 2012

    We got legally married (in Europe) about 6 months before our actual wedding date (in Asia).The legal part though was like 20 minutes and only my parents and his parents attended. Didn’t wear anything special, didn’t do anything special because we wanted to feel like our actual wedding date was the real one.

    We chose for this ebcause to get legally married on the island was a pain. Plus, the government office was ugly and you’re at the mercy of the government official of the day. As it was over 90 degrees (and humid) during the day, I didn’t feel like trudging around in my lace dress, sweating like a pig all across the island:D Plus, we’d have to arrange transportation etc. for our guests so we’re happy we opted to do the legal part here!


    Post # 14
    1784 posts
    Buzzing bee
    • Wedding: September 2013

    I’d like to get legally married at our destination wedding, but I’m not sure if it’ll be possible or not.  Japanese law says you have to be legally married before you can have a ceremony.  Since he’s Japanese, I don’t know if that’ll will apply to us if we get married in Hawaii, or if it’s U.S. law for both of us.

    Post # 15
    197 posts
    Blushing bee
    • Wedding: May 2012

    We chose to get married in Jamaica and did not have a ceremony ahead of time.  Jamaica only has a 24 hour residency requirement as well – pretty short in comparison to other countries.  The wedding team at the resort that we stayed at took care of all of the legal details.   It cost us an extra $250 for the minister to perform the ceremony in Jamaica.  I have read about other brides who needed to get married ahead of time for this reason or another but that was the not the case for us.  In my opinion our Destination Wedding was the best idea ever – all we really had to do was plan a bit, send in a few documents and show up…..If you decide to get married ahead of your Destination Wedding and are thinking of changing your name, make sure you give yourself time to do so.  

    Post # 16
    595 posts
    Busy bee
    • Wedding: October 2012

    We did not get married locally before we left.  We did only get married in FL.  We chose FL because it was easy to get leglly married there.  We looked into getting married in DR and a few other places, but the requirements ere too tough in most places.  One of our biggest “must haves” was to get legally married at our destination.

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