If you're planning a destination wedding, there is one important decision that should be made early on in the process: Do you want a legal or symbolic wedding ceremony while you're on destination? Most resorts offer both legal and symbolic ceremonies so let's talk a bit more about the difference between them.
A legal ceremony is legally binding, meaning that the marriage is legally recognized by the government of the country you're getting married in.
A symbolic ceremony, however, is just that - symbolic, typically because you and your partner have legally married in the United States prior to travel.
So which is better? There is no right or wrong answer. There are a few factors that you should consider when making your decision:
#1. Your Budget
Every country has it's own requirements when it comes to legally marrying there but in all of them, it's going to cost you more. Countries like Mexico and the Dominican Republic are going to ask that all required documents be translated into their native language for processing; there is a fee for those translation services. Just like in the US, those documents must be processed in exchange for a marriage license, and there are fees for that as well.
#2. Time Away
Each country also has a residency requirement, or a minimum number of days that you must spend in the country before you can be legally married there. Resorts may have their own requirements, too; they want you to make sure there's enough time for your wedding to go off without a hitch.
These things are important to consider BEFORE you choose the destination - are you dead set on having your legal wedding at the resort? There are some countries where it's easier to be legally married than others, like Jamaica. If it's a priority for you, we can make it happen.
If you're you content to be legally married in the States before your destination wedding then a symbolic ceremony is easier and less expensive. You can choose whatever destination and resort you fall in love with knowing that your marriage (legally) is already taken care of. You'll be surrounded by your friends and family, in the destination of your dreams, with your partner by your side. No piece of paper could change the way you'll feel that day!