Beach Bum News
Beach Bum News

Wedding Talk: Civil vs. Symbolic

By: Beach Bum Marcie

When a couple considers taking the destination wedding plunge and gets married away, there are several factors that must be considered. Generally the first few steps include choosing a location and resort.  It is not as easy as it sounds and allowing a Beach Bum to take you through our step-by-step process will eliminate much of the stress that can come along with making that decision, simply by talking to one of us and filling out our online questionnaire.  If you are not currently working with a Certified Travel Concierge, MEET THE BUMS HERE and choose the Beach Bum for you! In deciding on a country and resort, couples must consider all of the pros and cons that come along with a legal ceremony (civil) or a symbolic ceremony (non-legal). Please note, couples can LEGALLY tie the knot in ANY country but each country’s requirements and applicable fees must be factored into the decision, so there is a level of comfort prior to heading south of the border for the big day!

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Beach Bum Vacation’s Destination Wedding Specialists can guide and support you through the unique requirements of each country and match you up with a country and resort that meets your expectations for the perfect ceremony and fits what you are looking for based on the amount of time you wish to spend in a country before you are husband and wife, as well as, help you decide if having a symbolic ceremony is for you versus a legal ceremony. The Beach Bums often are asked “What is the difference between a Civil and Symbolic Wedding in another country?” It’s a great question!  The short answer is: “A CIVIL ceremony is legal and recognized in the United States, as well as, the country in which you marry, and SYMBOLIC is not recognized.”

Destination Wedding Couples have to decide for themselves if it is important to them to be LEGALLY married on their wedding day or if they are OK with possibly getting married at home privately and quietly in their church or with the Justice of the Peace, and then just having a ceremony on their chosen anniversary date at the resort. No one will be the wiser, which is why it’s good to consider both options, especially for Mexico and Punta Cana and other countries where the hoopla for legalized ceremonies can overshadow the fun of planning!  However, in countries like Antigua, Jamaica, Bahamas, and St. Lucia, it is so simple to be legally wed, there is no reason to get married at home first.

A symbolic ceremony allows the couple to experience their wedding just as they would if they were being married civilly/legally, and most couples do not share with their guests that they are having a symbolic ceremony; because to them, it is the OFFICIAL ceremony and as real to them as it would be if were legal.  This will be the day they celebrate as their wedding anniversary regardless of when they “legally” tie the knot at home.  There is a lot to be said for choosing this avenue to get married, especially when documents must be translated (Mexico and Punta Cana), blood tests are required (Mexico) and it’s difficult to confirm a local judge (Punta Cana).  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 customize their 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 their wedding. Couples just need to arrive in time to finalize wedding details, instead of meeting residency requirements.  This makes for a more relaxing overall wedding experience.

Wondering what kind of wedding ceremony is best for you?  Just ask your Beach Bum!  Knowing a country’s legal procedures is part of the free services we provide and we want to ensure you have everything at your fingertips to make the best decision for you! The Beach Bums are here to guide and support you all the way down the sandy aisle!

2 thoughts on “Wedding Talk: Civil vs. Symbolic

  1. What is the process in getting married in Cancun Mexico. I have not made any arrangements and do not even know where to begin. I do not need a wedding planning just need info on steps to take,
    thank you.
    N

    Comment by Nelsy Payano on October 25, 2012 at 11:03 pm
  2. Hi Nelsy! Sorry for our delayed reply. The first step is to get in touch with us and we will walk you through the process. You can email us (sales@beachbumvacation.com) or visit our website to get in touch. 🙂 We will be happy to help you & your fiance tie the knot in paradise! http://www.beachbumvacation.com/EmailQuote.aspx

    Comment by Beach Bum Carey on December 12, 2012 at 9:45 pm
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