Destination Weddings

HOW TO GET MARRIED IN... the Caribbean

The ultimate guide, courtesy of travel experts Mr & Mrs Smith

Is there a bride to be on earth who hasn't fantasized about a Caribbean wedding at some stage of her wedding planning? If so, Mr & Mrs Smith have yet to meet her. A beach ceremony set against a backdrop of milk-white sand, sapphire waters, tropical flowers and looming mountains is magically, timelessly romantic. In this, our third overseas wedding guide, we get to the nuts and bolts of marrying in these most dreamy of island destinations.

Marriage protocol differs considerably between Caribbean countries. So our guide tackles a few of the main points to consider in two of the most popular tropical destinations: Barbados and Turks & Caicos. Look out for our guides coming soon for Grenada, St Bart's and Mustique.

First things first: Where's the best place to start?
Contact the registrar's office where you plan to marry. They will give you all the necessary information about the requirements you must satisfy to obtain a marriage license. The exact details vary depending on which island you plan to marry on, so do this in plenty of time to get all the necessary paperwork sorted out.

What documents do I need?
The law varies from island to island, so get your wedding hotel to check for you if you haven't already contacted the local registry office. Our individual guides below provide more specific information, but at the very least, you will need:

Your passports—must be valid at the time of your visit.
Your birth certificates—bring originals and a couple of copies.

All documentation must be in English, with the necessary stamps and accreditation where relevant.

Anything else I need to think about?
• If you're under 18 (really? are you sure?), you'll need written consent from your parents.

• If your intended was previously married, or either of you has been widowed, you'll also need original or certified copies of the decree absolute or original or certified copy of the deceased spouse’s death certificate and marriage certificate.

• If either of you has changed your name in the past, a deed poll proved by an affidavit is required.

• Your marriage must also be solemnized or celebrated in the presence of two or more witnesses, as well as the marriage officer (just ask a guest or two to do this for you, or if you've secretly eloped, see if your hotel can loan you a couple of its staff members).

WHERE TO GET MARRIED IN… the Caribbean
• At La Banane, a chic cluster of jungle-set bungalows on jet-set-favored St Bart's. Take the bridal party to swim with the dolphins while the groomsmen try their hands at big-game fishing far out at sea.

• At Asian-inspired beach retreat Amanyara, on the pure shores of Providenciales in the Turks & Caicos. It's perfect if you want a classic Caribbean sunset as the backdrop to your vows.

• At beautiful coral-stone colonial villa Cotton House on the champagne set's private island of choice, Mustique. Wed amid the hotel's 13 acres of manicured tropical gardens or go for a sun-kissed ceremony on the white-sand beach.

• At Balinese-boho boutique estate Laluna on Grenada, where many models, moguls and movie stars have chosen to hold their low-key A-list love matches.

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