Marriage” and “wedding” are two terms often used interchangeably and whilst they are intimately connected, it is important to understand the fundamental differences between the two.
Why do so many couples choose to contract their legal marriage in their home country and celebrate their wedding abroad? And what exactly is the difference between the two?
THE SIMPLE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A MARRIAGE AND A WEDDING
“Marriage” is the legal contract between two partners – a marriage can happen without a wedding
“Wedding” is the ceremonial celebration and can take place without contracting the marriage – it is important to remember that a wedding ceremony or wedding blessing without contracting your legal marriage is purely symbolic.
DEFINING A WEDDING
A wedding is a joyous celebration that brings together family, friends, and loved ones to witness and honour the legal marriage commitment made by the couple.
Weddings vary greatly across cultures and personal preferences, encompassing rituals, customs, and traditions that reflect the couple’s heritage and values. Whether the wedding ceremony is religious or non-religious it is always seen as a milestone event in a couple’s life journey together.
THE ESSENCE OF A WEDDING
Weddings embody the public declaration of love and commitment between two individuals.
They are often characterised by elaborate ceremonies, exchanging vows, exchanging rings, and other “rituals” that vary based on cultural, traditional or religious practices.
A non religious wedding ceremony is usually led by a “celebrant” also known as an “officiant” and can take place literally anywhere!
A religious minister will commonly officiate in a place of worship.
Wedding ceremonies are often attended by the couple’s family and close friends who act as witnesses to the words of commitment said during the ceremony.
A wedding ceremony without any guests is known as an “elopement”.
THE SIGNIFICANCE OF A MARRIAGE
A legally binding contract between two people who jointly commit to be treated as a couple within the eyes of the law is known as a “marriage”.
In the UK for example, the marriage contract can be as simple as saying 40 legally binding words plus your names and signing an entry to a marriage register which is witnessed by two other individuals.
It is important to note that the marriage does not have to include a ring exchange nor does it have to include saying your own vows or personal words of commitment as neither is a legal requirement – you can save these beautiful elements for your wedding day under foreign skies.
THE BENEFITS OF A DESTINATION WEDDING
Why do so many couples choose to contract their legal marriage in their home country and celebrate their wedding abroad?
Contracting your legal marriage in your own language under the laws of your home country takes away the stress of translations or legal authentication such as the apostille stamp- both in the documents required to get married abroad in the first place, but also in authorising your marriage certificate and obtaining additional copies of your registered marriage (commonly known as a “marriage certificate”) when you get home.
And in the worst case scenario, should the marriage come to an end or one partner die, a marriage contracted in your own country makes the process simpler at what can be a very difficult time.
MARRY AT HOME AND HAVE YOUR WEDDING ABROAD
While distinct, contracting your marriage and celebrating a destination wedding share a profound connection.
A well-planned destination wedding can provide a beautiful foundation for your marriage; creating cherished memories of a unique experience and strengthening the bond between partners to last a lifetime.
What should I do next?
Start researching elopement planners that specialise at your chosen wedding location, or consult specialists such WeddingsAbroad.com – who have travelled the world extensively not only planning weddings but working with hotels/resorts/tourism boards advising them on their destination wedding portfolio. They now have an impressive directory of vendors worldwide to start you on your exciting destination wedding planning journey.
Don’t forget to discuss with other brides and grooms going through the same experience on our dedicated group facebook.com/groups/weddingsabroad/