Every year countless of couples from Canada, Europe, Latin America and the United States come to the Dominican Republic to celebrate their love while enjoying life in the sun in this beautiful country. A number of those also decide that the picture perfect background of white beaches and swaying coconut trees is the ideal romantic spot for them to tie the knot of marriage. But how easy is it to organize a marriage on a Caribbean island, where are the most romantic spots and what are the legal implications when getting legally married in the Dominican Republic?
When it comes to providing magical backdrops for the picture perfect wedding, the Dominican Republic has quite a number of amazing destinations for couples of all walks of life. Those who love the sun and white beaches with waving coconut trees and emerald seas can go to beautiful Punta Cana. The amazing beaches of exceptional beauty on the doorstep of numerous all-inclusive hotels to suit any budget are sure to enchant both the couple and their closest friends and family, who can all conveniently stay in the same hotel.
The historical city of Santo Domingo is another very popular wedding destination, with its well-preserved old colonial town, wide selection of five star hotel accommodation and top rated restaurants. The old colonial center has some beautiful hotels that would be big enough to accommodate around 70 wedding guests but if there are more wedding guests the colonial area is small enough for guests to be spread around the old town in quaint little hotels without it being an inconvenience.
The amazing North Coast offers more alternative twists to the typical romantic wedding, be it the possibility of golfing, kiteboarding, mountain biking, horse riding or diving on top of extremely beautiful beach settings. Spacious villas and beautiful apartments are the accommodation of choice on the North Coast giving couples and their entourage the freedom to enjoy each other’s company while still being able to relish private moments.
Typical wedding ceremonies
People who come to the Dominican Republic for a destination wedding either get legally married in their hometown before setting off and have the actual celebration on the beach with close friends and family or decide that it is even more romantic to sign the legal papers on the island as well.
Typically couples stay with their entourage in a wedding destination for four to ten days and some add another week or ten days without their friends and family for their honeymoon. Wedding ceremonies can be as elaborate with the bride and groom being flown in by helicopter to the wedding ceremony organized on a remote beach or as simple as the couple wants, but typically includes the wedding ceremony located somewhere close to the beach. Wedding planner Richard Weber, who specializes in customized unique weddings, explains that he always recommends couples to have their wedding ceremony in a location that their guests would not have seen otherwise, instead of on the beach where they are the whole week. “The Dominican Republic has so many incredibly amazing spots, with tiny beautiful churches up in the mountains or amazing stretches of empty beaches, the choice is vertiginous.
Organizing a wedding ceremony as well as interesting activities to do before and after the ceremony and party is something some people absolutely love to do. Those who are not so organized or just prefer to enjoy the moment without organizational hassles can either hire the services of a wedding planner orcontact one of the many all-inclu
sive hotels that can help with the organization of weddings.
However, especially couples who decide to get legally married in the Dominican Republic could definitely do with some professional help with the legal paperwork to help avoid a lot of headaches and possible disappointment. “About 30 to 40% of couples that enlist my services decide to get legally married here, which I think is great because if you are going to get married you might as well do it for real”, adds Richard Weber.
Civil or religious wedding
The amount of paperwork for either a legally binding civil or Catholic wedding is about the same but some organization prior to flying off to this Caribbean paradise will be necessary. A number of papers, including birth certificates and a sworn declaration signed by a notary of not being married, will need to be translated into Spanish by a certified Spanish translator. The Dominican embassy in your country of residence will be able to provide further information.
Those wanting to get married with the church’s blessing can opt for a Catholic wedding, which is the only religious entity that can legally marry people. According to wedding planner Richard Weber this is a great option if at least one person of the couple to be married is a Catholic. “If people are Catholic, then getting married through the Catholic church will cost less than getting married civilly as the church asks for a donation rather than a fee.”
Getting married in paradise
Getting legally married in the Dominican Republic is a legally recognized bond all over the world, and although it does involve a bit more organization than signing the papers at your local town hall, the romanticism and the feel of actually signing the papers when the ceremony is in full swing is for a lot of people a lot more authentic. And doing so in paradise can mean nothing but a good start to married life.