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Do you have your heart set on saying "I do" in a palazzo in Venice, a château in Paris, or a beach in Mexico? We don't blame you! Exotic destination weddings are unforgettable events and a major bridal trend.
Before you call that little French bakery for the perfect wedding cake or put down a deposit on a Caribbean island resort, though, you should first check the wedding legalities of the country in which you wish to be married. Each country has a different set of requirements. Some ask for residency requirements of a certain duration. Others require a specific number of witnesses. And if you're marrying in another country, don't forget to look into your legal and religious requirements at home as well. Check your passport, medical requirements, and the documentation you need to being home to ensure your marriage's validity in the United States.
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There are plenty of resources available to help you. One surefire way to get answers is to call the country's consulate or tourist office located in the United States or find the appropriate page on their website. The office will provide specific instructions over the phone, by email, or by fax. In some countries, such as Mexico, the requirements vary slightly from town to town, so once you've gotten the basic information from the tourist office, you will need to call the registrar's office in the town where you are getting married. And get all the information in writing so you have all the facts.
Wedding consultants who specialize in destination weddings and travel agents who do wedding planning can also provide information on the documentation required and any restrictions.