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What You Need to Know Before Booking That Overseas Wedding

What You Need to Know Before Booking That Overseas Wedding

What You Need to Know Before Booking That Overseas Wedding

December 11, 2023 apostille-online Comments Off

It’s becoming increasing common for engaged couples to opt for a destination wedding at a glamorous destination where the weather can be guaranteed more than in can here in the UK. The couple can combine the actual wedding ceremony with their honeymoon and have their entire family and groups of friends joining the celebration overseas. The popularity of marrying abroad has led to even mainstream travel companies offering wedding services and access to a wedding planner, who will help with practicalities such as booking the registrar, florist, and hairdresser.

It’s easy to get carried away with planning your perfect day, and to forget about the legal aspects of a destination wedding. A marriage certificate is a legal document, and if it is issued overseas, and written in a language other than English, there are obvious questions about whether it will be readily accepted when you are back home. There is a legal process called apostille which can help with this, but before getting that far, there are some important things to consider about planning an overseas wedding.

Is Your Foreign Marriage Legal in the UK?

Marriages conducted in another country are legally recognised in the UK, as long as you can provide the UK authorities with a valid marriage certificate from the foreign country. There are some key additional requirements for recognition, based on meeting the criteria for a legal marriage in the UK, such as being of the appropriate age, acting without coercion, and having full awareness of the commitment. In most European countries this is not a problem, and legal marriages in Greece or Spain will be recognised.

Local Legal Requirements

There is no global marriage law, and regulations vary between countries. It is really important to understand and comply with the specific rules of the country where the wedding will take place. If you are using an overseas wedding planner, they should be able to advise of any legal requirements which apply to you, or the local embassy can provide guidance on the necessary steps. One law which regularly catches people out is the requirement to be resident in France for at least 40 days before a wedding takes place there.

Documentation When Marrying Abroad

Just as when you are planning to marry in the UK, foreign registrars will ask for documents to validate the legal entitlement to marry and confirm the identities of the couple. This may include birth certificates, a Certificate of No Impediment (proving freedom to marry), valid passports for both partners, and proof of residency for a designated period in the host country. An apostille is often necessary to authenticate these documents.

Divorce Legislation

While divorce is not something you wish to think about when excitedly planning your marriage, it’s essential to remember that the laws about divorce are based on the country where both partners currently reside, not where the marriage initially took place. You will not have to return to the country of the marriage should you wish to separate in the future.