Planning a Destination Wedding? Don’t Forget the Legal Requirements

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A destination wedding is when a happy couple decides to celebrate their love and get married in a beautiful location, like a paradise island or romantic European city. 
These kinds of weddings are becoming increasingly popular in recent times, with many couples choosing to leave their hometowns behind in favor of more exciting and exotic locations. 
However, before you start planning your destination wedding, there are a few key things to think about.

Factors to Consider when Choosing the Destination

The first big challenge of having a destination wedding is deciding on the destination. There are so many amazing places to choose from, and it can be tricky to pick the perfect spot. Here are some factors to focus on that may help you narrow down the choice:

Budget and affordability

First, it’s important to consider the cost. Weddings are already pretty expensive, and destination weddings often cost way more than local ones, as you have to think about the cost of travel and make all the necessary arrangements for your chosen destination. Calculate your budget before you begin, and try to find a location that won’t cost too much.

Climate and season

Many people decide to go abroad for destination weddings, but you need to remember that weather conditions in other countries and parts of the world may vary. This is especially essential if you’re planning a trip to the Southern Hemisphere, for example. Check out the average weather conditions in your destination and try to choose a dry and sunny date.

Accessibility for guests

One of the downsides of having a destination wedding is that you may not have as many guests as you would usually be able to have back home. Not everyone will be able to make the trip, so it’s important to think about how your guests will arrive. To have the best chance of all your family and friends making it, pick a place that is relatively easy to get to.

Local laws and legal requirements

You also need to consider the local laws and legal requirements of your destination, as they may be different from what you’re used to at home. This is particularly important when traveling abroad to countries with different legal systems, but it even applies when getting married in a different state. 

Understanding Legal Requirements

There are various legal requirements and rules you may have to follow when planning a destination wedding. Here are some of the main areas to focus on.
  1. Marriage license and documentation - Every marriage requires a license. Depending on where you’re getting married, the process of acquiring a license may vary, and you might need to provide a variety of documents to prove your identity.
  2. Residency and waiting period - Residency is another topic that may arise when planning a destination wedding. Some locations will demand that both partners have full residency in the country in which they wish to marry.
  3. Blood tests and medical certificates - To travel to certain destinations, you may need to undergo blood tests or provide medical certificates to prove that you have had certain vaccinations or don’t have certain illnesses.
  4. Divorce and previous marriage documentation - It’s also customary for partners to have to demonstrate that they are legal to marry and not still married to anyone else. If you’ve been married before, you’ll have to show divorce documents. 
Furthermore, the connection between probate law and destination weddings should not be overlooked. While it may not be immediately apparent, understanding the legal implications can greatly benefit couples planning their dream wedding in a foreign location. Probate law, which encompasses the validation of wills and the resolution of estate matters, indirectly affects destination weddings when considering the protection of the couple's interests and the legal validity of their union. This is especially crucial if one or both partners have significant assets or property holdings. 
Familiarizing oneself with the probate laws of the destination country ensures proper estate planning and protection. Additionally, in the unfortunate event of a partner's death during or after the destination wedding, a probate attorney can provide expert assistance in navigating inheritance issues and facilitating a seamless transfer of assets according to the applicable legal requirements. By recognizing the connection between probate law and destination weddings, couples can approach their planning process with a comprehensive understanding of the legal implications involved, providing peace of mind and safeguarding their future interests.

Hiring a Local Wedding Planner or Coordinator

One of the best things you can do when planning a destination wedding is to hire a local wedding planner. They'll be able to help you with the many complex aspects of planning your wedding, such as finding and hiring a venue, arranging the catering, working out the budget, and so on.
Wedding planners are always useful, but they’re particularly beneficial to work with for destination weddings, as there may be elements of the destination that you’re not familiar with. Your planner will have expert knowledge of local laws and systems to help you plan a safe, legal, and enjoyable wedding. They can help out with all necessary legal paperwork too.

Legalization and Certification

After the wedding ceremony, you'll need to make your marriage official. This involves a process of legalizing and certifying the marriage, which may vary, depending on where you've chosen to wed. If you’re simply in another state, it should be simple, but in other countries, it can involve documents, translations, notaries, apostille requirements to certify your documents, and more. Again, local planners and attorneys can be a huge help with this.


Overall, having a destination wedding is one of the most magical ways to celebrate your love, but it’s not always the easiest or cheapest process. It requires a lot of planning and consideration, especially in regard to the legal side of the wedding. Make sure to plan with care and consult with experts to ensure that your wedding goes smoothly.
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