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Symbolic or Legal?

Symbolic or Legal Wedding - What you need to know Weddings Abroad


When a couple are planning a wedding overseas  there are so many destinations to choose from, however,  imagine if there were twice as many places to research!

More and more couples are choosing to sign their ‘legal’ paperwork at home and register their legal marriage before they fly, and this opens up the options to far more destinations around the globe….


Symbolic or Legal Wedding - What you need to know Weddings Abroad


Decide for yourselves if it is important to to be LEGALLY married on your wedding day or if you are ok with possibly getting married at home privately and quietly in your church or registry office etc, and then just having a ceremony on your chosen date at the location of your choice. No one will be the wiser, which is why it’s good to consider both options, especially for Mexico, Spain and France and other countries where the loopholes and hassle for legalised ceremonies can overshadow the fun of planning!  However, in countries like Australia, Italy, New Zealand, Bahamas, and Cayman Islands, it is so simple to be legally wed, there is no reason to get married at home first.

A symbolic ceremony allows you to experience your wedding just as you would if you were being married civilly/legally, and most couples do not share with their guests that they are having a symbolic ceremony; because to you, it is the OFFICIAL ceremony and as real to you as it would be if were legal.


Symbolic or Legal Wedding - What you need to know Weddings Abroad


This could be the day you celebrate as your wedding anniversary regardless of when you “legally” tie the knot at home.  There is a lot to be said for choosing this avenue to get married, especially when in certain locations documents must be translated, blood tests are required and it’s difficult to confirm a local judge.

Many couples also have their own priest, minister, rabbi or friend perform the ceremony, write their own vows and have a lot more flexibility to customise your ceremony without the legal vows/language instituted by the country.  In addition, residency requirements tend to be less strict allowing for less time between the arrival date into the country and your wedding.

Couples often just need to arrive in time to finalise wedding details, instead of meeting residency requirements.  This makes for a more relaxing overall wedding experience.

Still wondering what’s best for you?  Just ask us…..



5 Responses

  1. As an Independent Celebrant I applaud this blog and 100% agree with you.
    Your wedding can be behind their hopes and dreams if couples take this course.

  2. As a bilingual celebrant covering Germany Austria and Switzerland and have many clients from the UK, USA Canada and Australia, this really is a great post to read – my couples want a personal individual and unique ceremony that reflects their style and relationship and because of the heavy requirements here, opt for a legal registration before they come over.

  3. Thanks for highlighting this extra option. Having a personalised wedding ceremony that reflects you and your love story is a wonderful option. I love to help my couples to write their own wedding vows too, using their own words. It’s such an emotional part of your ceremony.

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