Getting Your Marriage License: A Wedding Abroad

Martha Stewart Weddings, Spring 2005

What if We Are Planning a Wedding Abroad?
A marriage abroad will be recognized here at home just as long as you follow the local laws of your wedding locale. Some of those laws will be different from the ones here: France has a forty day residency requirement, and England allows ceremonies only during certain hours of the day and in certain locations. As early as possible in the planning process, familiarize yourself with the foreign laws. Contact the consulate or embassy in the country where you wish to marry for the information -- many post marriage requirements on their official websites. Or work with a reputable event planner in the locale or an on-site party planner if your destination has one. If not, find out if a travel agent can assist you -- some are experts in planning weddings in far-off locations. Expect the documentation you need abroad to be about the same as at home -- proof of identity and age, and any divorce or death decrees, for example. But gathering the paperwork is not always enough. Official documents may first need to be translated into the local language, and you may also need to provide an affidavit affirming your unmarried status -- steps that call for extra time and expense.

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