Is my Destination Wedding Legal?



One of the most common questions I receive in the early planning stages of a Destination Wedding is, “Will my marriage be legal in Canada?”.

The quick and easy answer to this is YES! Of course there are a couple of stipulations that you should know, first, you must follow the legal requirements for the country where the wedding will take place, and secondly, if the marriage would have been considered legal if it had taken place at home. So.. in other words, provided you are of legal age, and free to marry (ie. single!) then it shouldn’t be a problem.

Your marriage certificate will be issued by the country where you marry, and you will not need to register the marriage in Canada. Your certificate will be accepted by all Canadian government offices. However, if you were married in a country where English is not their first language, and your certificate is issued in a foreign language, you may want to consider getting a legal translation into English for ease of name changes, and other legal dealings.

What makes a marriage legal?

Each country has their own list of requirements for a couple getting married. Usually there will always be a requirement for birth certificates (long forms preferred!) valid passports and a standard application form. But some countries such as Mexico or the Dominican Republic are more involved, requiring such things as blood tests, single status affidavits or translations.

For countries with stipulations such as these, many couples are now deciding to do “symbolic” ceremonies, where they’ve completed the legal paperwork here at home at their local office, then have all the bells and whistles with the ceremony in destination.

If you decide to go this route, and are worried that your guests will be disappointed that it’s not a “real” weddding, don’t be.. the ceremony will look and feel exactly as if it was legal, and your guests won’t know the difference!

Have questions, wan’t more important tips about Destination Weddings?  

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