Did you know that Jamaica is one of the most popular choices in the Caribbean for people who plan destination weddings? In fact, thousands of visitors from North America, Europe and other parts of the world, flock to the shores of this tropical island paradise every year, just to tie the knot.
Getting married in Jamaica is an event you will never forget; what with its abundance of lush scenery and landmarks, beautiful weather, and numerous accommodation choices. The other major benefit to getting married in Jamaica is the fact that it is affordable. It is cheaper to get married in Jamaica than in many other countries. Some of the places of accommodation even have wedding packages that make it possible to get married while on vacation and enjoy a honeymoon fit for a king and queen. This is one reason why people from faraway countries fly to Jamaica to exchange vows.
Before you start packing your bags, however, there are a few things to take care of, to ensure your wedding in Jamaica will be one of the happiest and most memorable days of your life.
Things You Should Know Beforehand
Planning a wedding in Jamaica is not hard, but there are several things to do before the day, so the process goes smoothly. First off, it’s important to know that you can get married on any day off the week, even on holidays. You can also get married within 24 – 48 hours of arriving on the island, providing that all preparations have been made.
One of the most important items you will need to have sorted out ahead of time is the marriage certificate. You can apply for one by contacting the Ministry of Justice, located in Kingston, or through their website. If you have someone in Jamaica planning your wedding for you, they will probably handle this and other legal requirements for you. To have someone do the application, you will need to send all required documents to him or her at least 60 days in advance of your wedding.
The documents you will need for planning your wedding in Jamaica are as follows:
- Proof of citizenship, which includes a valid photo ID (passport, driver’s license, etc.) and birth certificate that also has your father’s name.
- A certified copy of divorce certificate for divorcees.
- A certified copy of the death certificate for those who are widows or widowers.
- Written parental permission if you are under 18.
- Certified copy of name change documents for adoptees or if you changed your own name.
- A fee of USD $75 – $80 is required for processing your marriage license, depending on the day’s exchange rate.
There might be other documents and requirements depending on which country you live in, so check with the bodies in your country that govern destination marriages ahead of time.
Also, you will need to translate all your documents into English if they are in a different language. Finally, a blood test is not required to get married in Jamaica.
Have a Professional Plan Your Wedding in Jamaica
Even if you handle your marriage license on your own, it is recommended that you hire a local wedding planner to organize everything else, especially if you have never visited Jamaica before. By virtue of having lived in the country, the planner will be able to get things done quicker, as well as help you to choose a suitable location for your wedding and honeymoon.
Many of the popular all-inclusive hotels employ wedding planners, who will only be too happy to help. In fact, some of these hotels have wedding packages that include the planning of your wedding in Jamaica from start to finish, as well as ensuring your honeymoon is unforgettable. On the other hand, you may also hire a private wedding coordinator but be sure to check out their previous work.
Some of the things your wedding planner will need to finalize with you include the amount of guests you plan to have, the theme of your wedding, the actual venue (at a church, on the hotel grounds, on the beach, or at a park, for instance), and any special requests you might have.
You will also need to finalize details such as food and drink choices, accommodation for other guests (if necessary), and choosing a suitable wedding photographer.
Of course, most of the wedding packages offered at all-inclusive hotels take all these details into consideration, so you won’t have to worry about much more than just showing up. One thing to bear in mind, if you choose one of these packages, is the fact that there won’t be much interaction with the planner once you have submitted all the details and documents.
It won’t be similar to hiring someone in your town, who you can go shopping with to pick out dresses and decorations. However, once all details are provided, you will most likely get what you asked for.
Where Will it be Kept?
Your wedding planner can help you choose the best location to have your wedding in Jamaica, but just for your knowledge, there are a wide number of possibilities. You can have your Jamaican wedding kept in any of the major resort towns, such as Montego Bay, Negril, or Ocho Rios.
Popular venues in these areas include some of the top hotel chains in Jamaica. Sandals’ string of all-inclusive hotels is among the premier destination wedding choices. As are the Royalton White Sands, the Iberostar hotels, Secrets Montego Bay, Club Riu hotels, Half Moon in Montego Bay, and Beaches Negril.
There are many other great resort venues in other parts of the island that will provide the perfect setting, such as Couples Tower Isle in St. Mary and the Grand Palladium in Lucea. Not to be outdone is the city of Kingston, which offers the opportunity to get hitched at some picturesque locations, from the heights of the majestic Blue Mountain at Strawberry Hill, to the famous Devon House.
Want a garden wedding in the city? You won’t have to look much further than Hope Gardens, which is also in the Kingston area.
Officiating the Wedding
As it relates to officiating, there are also choices for everyone, whether you prefer a minister of religion or a non-denominational marriage officer. The cost to hire a marriage officer varies significantly from as little as USD $50 to several hundred dollars, so you might need to call around and compare prices.
Of course, if you go with one of the all-inclusive packages, they will possibly have hotel staff deal with all this for you in line with your budget.
After the ‘I Dos’ – You’re Married!
In addition to honeymooning at your resort, there are tons of villas and small hotels all around the island where you can bask in your after-wedding bliss. You can choose to stay in or go out and partake in various activities, from snorkeling to visiting historic sites.
After getting married, you will receive a signed copy of the Marriage Register. This is a temporary placeholder to show proof of marriage until you get the actual marriage certificate. It can take up to eight months to receive your marriage certificate after getting married in Jamaica. However, you can pay an additional fee for express service and receive it in 4 – 8 weeks.
Choosing Jamaica for your wedding destination is bound to be one of the highlights of your love life, whether you have it organized by your resort, or hire a private wedding planner. Whatever you do, following the steps outlined in this article will help you plan a wedding that you won’t soon forget.