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When planning a destination wedding in Mexico or the Caribbean, you will have the option of choosing between a symbolic ceremony or a legal ceremony. But what exactly is the difference between the two? Here’s a breakdown of the key differences between a symbolic and legal destination wedding in Mexico or the Caribbean:
The biggest difference between a symbolic and legal destination wedding is the legal requirements. A legal ceremony requires couples to meet certain requirements, such as obtaining a marriage license and meeting residency requirements, and in some countries have a blood test performed once they’ve arrived at their destination… This can be a bit more complicated and time-consuming, but it ensures that your marriage is legally recognized. For a Symbolic ceremony, you would get legally married before your destination wedding at the courthouse nearest you and avoid all the extra steps needed to get married legally in a foreign country.
In a legal ceremony, a government-appointed official, such as a judge or notary, will conduct the ceremony. Depending on the country you select for your destination wedding to get married your ceremony may need to be in the recognized language of that country and then interpreted into English for you and your guests. On the other hand, a symbolic ceremony can be conducted by a non-government official, such as a wedding planner or a spiritual leader, or even a friend or family member of your choosing.
For a legal ceremony, couples will need to provide certain documents, such as a birth certificate and passport, to the government official conducting the ceremony some countries may have requirements that require you to go to their nearest government consulate in the USA before traveling. For a symbolic ceremony, documentation requirements are generally less strict and very minimal.
Length of stay
A legal ceremony may require couples to stay in the destination country for a certain length of time before the ceremony, while a symbolic ceremony does not have this requirement.
A legal ceremony can be more expensive than a symbolic ceremony due to the additional legal requirements and documentation. Typically Symbolic ceremonies are included with a destination wedding package and a legal ceremony will have an additional cost many times of $1,000 or more.
It’s important to note that while a legal ceremony ensures that your marriage is legally recognized, a symbolic ceremony can still be a beautiful and meaningful way to celebrate your love and commitment.
By getting legally married at home and then having a symbolic destination wedding ceremony in Mexico or the Caribbean, you can enjoy the best of both worlds. Approximately 80% of destination wedding couples go with a symbolic ceremony.
Ultimately, the choice between a symbolic and legal ceremony will depend on your personal preferences and priorities as a couple. Be sure to consider all the factors before making your decision.