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Legal Tips for Destination Weddings
Destination weddings are a great way to treat your guests and yourselves. Whether it is going to another state or even another country you can really add something special to your ceremony by hosting it at a special place. But getting married outside of your local area can present some challenges.
If you are getting married in another U.S. state, there are some differences in marriage laws from state to state, but they are largely minor. Some states require blood tests, some allow you to self-solemnize and there are other more subtle differences, but largely you bring ID’s and a small payment down to a local government office and can typically come away shortly thereafter with a marriage license. As a marriage valid in one state is valid in all other states, it makes little difference in the long run as to where you get married.
If you are getting married outside of the U.S., things get a bit trickier. For instance, if you are intending to get legally married in Mexico, you’ll have several hoops to jump through. I won’t go into all of them, but just suffice it to say that in Mexico you’ll need blood tests, x-rays, passports, birth certificates and four witness to start not to mention what each Mexican State may require additionally which may include waiting periods, official translations of documents and other restrictions. And once you can wipe your brow after completing all of the necessary paperwork and get your Mexican wedding certificate, you’ll then need to go through the process of getting the U.S. to recognize your Mexican marriage.
If this sounds like a lot more trouble than a quick jaunt down to your local government office, well, it is. It is a whole lot more. However, there is an easy way around all of this. Hold your ceremony at your destination and get legally married back in the U.S. either before or after your destination wedding. Ta-da! Simple and easy. You’ll be able to fulfill both your legal and personal marriage needs. You can argue later which date you consider your anniversary or just have two!
But what about the officiant you ask. Well, while it is typical that officiants are locally hired for destination weddings, there are some officiants willing to travel if you feel unsure about what your destination might have to offer. Difficulties with communication, language, culture and traditions with your destination officiant can be problematic depending on where you’re holding your ceremony.
If you want to get married within your faith, make sure to contact your local religious figure to inquire about what can be done at your intended destination and gather some suggestions for how to get in contact with the right people to make it happen.
Destination weddings are wonderful and can be very exciting for all involved. Just be mindful of these tips and you’ll do great!
-Scot Sanders, Wedding Officiant, Wedlock Officiants
Thanks for helping me understand that we usually only need some ID's and a small amount of money for fees that the local government has regarding marriage licenses. I will share this information with my best friend because she will be getting married this year. Her partner proposed to her just last week, and they should probably start getting this processed to prevent any issues or delays for their target date.
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