Whether your clients’ definition of significant wedding day bliss consists of breathtaking views overlooking the Mediterranean Sea upon Spanish cobblestone or an elegant, hilltop vineyard wedding in Tuscany, immense planning is to be expected. When you begin working with destination wedding clients, the inevitable question will be asked: “Which is better, legal or symbolic destination weddings?” Truth be told, the choice is dependent on the couple’s preferences on budget and timeframe, as well as which country they’re looking to tie the knot in, since requirements vary for legal wedding ceremonies.
Both types of ceremonies will bring the friends and family closer together to celebrate and witness the beautiful union between the newlyweds. Neither type is better than the other, they are just different and both require different considerations when planning. Here’s what you need to know about symbolic and legal destination wedding ceremonies to help you and your couples decide which ceremony is best for them.
This type of wedding ceremony requires some serious research. If your clients are looking for an authentic and cultural destination wedding experience, conducting that research is worth every moment! Civil or legal marriages are legally binding in the United States in addition to the country your clients are being married in. Some countries are easier to tie the knot in than others. Jamaica, for example, only requires couples to be in the country for at least 24 hours before a legal wedding ceremony. Some countries, like Mexico, Italy, Spain and Ireland, require additional steps once the couple arrives. Those steps may include providing blood tests, other medical tests, legal documents (like civil letters of freedom with an Apostille), affidavits, birth certificates and more, translated into that country’s native language while taking care of other costly legal expenses.
If your clients get legally married before having the destination wedding abroad, they’ll have more flexibility and their wedding day will hopefully be as stress-free as possible, since it’s really just a celebration, without any of the legal considerations. Symbolic ceremonies are commonly defined as a “commitment service,” able to express the couple’s personalities, tastes and their unique values within their relationship. It’s not scripted as much as traditional weddings are, as the couple can choose everything the officiant says. Wedding guests don’t even have to know that it isn’t a legal marriage, since it can be made to mirror a civil or legal ceremony.