Sandals and SuperClubs are two chains that have helped many couples tie the knot.
If you yearn to take the plunge on a sun-dappled island, you need to know a bit about the requirements on the different islands.
There's a 24-hour waiting period for marriages on Antigua. A couple appears at the Ministry of Justice in the capital of St. John to complete and sign a declaration before a marriage coordinator and pays a $190 license fee. The coordinator will arrange for a marriage officer to perform a civil ceremony at any of Antigua's hotels or another place the couple selects. The fee for the marriage officer is $50. Several hotels and resorts offer wedding/honeymoon packages. For more information on civil or religious wedding ceremonies, contact the Antigua Department of Tourism, 610 Fifth Ave., Suite 311, New York, NY 10020 (tel. 212/541-4117).
Civil weddings are possible on Aruba only if one of the partners is an Aruban resident, which obviously rules out most people. Consider it for your honeymoon instead.
Couples can now marry the same day they arrive on Barbados, but they must first obtain a marriage license from the Ministry of Home Affairs (tel. 246/228-8950). Bring either a passport or a birth certificate and photo ID, $150 (U.S.) in fees, $25 for the revenue stamp which you can obtain at the local post office, a letter from the authorized officiant who will perform the service, plus proof, if applicable, of pertinent deaths or divorces from any former spouse(s). A Roman Catholic wedding on Barbados carries additional requirements. For more information, contact the Barbados Tourism Authority, 800 Second Ave., New York, NY 10017 (tel. 800/221-9831 in the U.S., or 212/986-6516).
The Cayman Islands
Visitors have to call ahead and arrange for an authorized person to marry them. The name of the "marriage officer," as it is called, has to appear on the application for a marriage license. The application for a special marriage license costs $200 and can be obtained from the Deputy Secretary's Office, 3rd Floor, Government Administration Building, George Town (tel. 345/949-7900). There is no waiting period. Present a birth certificate, the embarkation/disembarkation cards issued by the island's immigration authorities, and, if applicable, divorce decrees or proof of a spouse's death. Complete wedding services and packages are offered by Cayman Weddings of Grand Cayman, which is owned and operated by Caymanian marriage officers Vernon and Francine Jackson. For more information, contact them at P.O. Box 678, Grand Cayman (tel. 345/949-8677; fax 345/949-8237). A brochure, Getting Married in the Cayman Islands, is available from Government Information Services, Broadcasting House, Grand Cayman (tel. 345/949-8092; fax 345/949-5936).
In high season, some Jamaican resorts witness several weddings a day. Many of the larger resorts have wedding coordinators on staff who can arrange for an officiant, a photographer, and even the wedding cake and champagne. Some resorts even throw in your wedding with the cost of your honeymoon at the hotel. Both the Jamaican Tourist Board and your hotel will assist you with the paperwork. Participants must reside on Jamaica for 24 hours before the ceremony. Bring birth certificates and affidavits saying you've never been married before. If you've been divorced or widowed, bring copies of your divorce papers or a copy of the deceased spouse's death certificate. The license and stamp duty costs $200. Or you can apply in person at the Ministry of National Security and Justice, 12 Ocean Blvd., Kingston, Jamaica (tel. 876/922-9500).
There are no residency requirements for getting married in Puerto Rico. For U.S. citizens, blood tests are required, although a test conducted on the U.S. mainland within 10 days of the ceremony will suffice. A doctor in Puerto Rico must sign the license after conducting an examination of the bride and groom. For complete details, contact the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico Health Department, Demographic Register, 171 Quisaueya St., Hato Rey, PR 00917 (tel. 787/767-9120).
Both parties must be on the island for 48 hours before the ceremony. Present your passport or birth certificate, plus (if either participant has been widowed or divorced) proof of death or divorce from the former spouse(s). It usually takes about 2 days before the ceremony to process all the paperwork. Fees run around $150 for a lawyer (one is usually needed for the application to the governor-general), $25 for the registrar to perform the ceremony, and $37.75 for the stamp duty and the license. Some resorts and vacation properties also offer wedding packages that include all the necessary arrangements for a single fee. For more information, contact the St. Lucia Tourist Board, 800 Second Ave., 9th Floor, New York, NY 10017 (tel. 212/867-2950; fax 212/867-2795).
The US Virgin Islands
No blood tests or physical examinations are necessary, but there is a $25 notarized application, and an 8-day waiting period, which is sometimes waived depending on circumstances. Civil ceremonies before a judge of the territorial court cost $200 each; religious ceremonies performed by clergy are equally valid. Fees and schedules for church weddings must be negotiated directly with the officiant. More information is available from the U.S. Virgin Islands Division of Tourism, 1270 Ave. of the Americas, New York, NY 10020 (tel. 212/332-2222).
The U.S. Virgin Islands tourism offices distribute the guide Getting Married in the U.S. Virgin Islands, which gives information on all three islands, including wedding planners, places of worship, florists, and limousine services. The guide also provides a listing of island accommodations that offer in-house wedding services.
Couples can apply for a marriage license for St. Thomas or St. John by contacting the Territorial Court of the Virgin Islands, P.O. Box 70, St. Thomas, U.S.V.I. 00804 (tel. 340/774-6680). You can apply for weddings on St. Croix by contacting the Territorial Court of the Virgin Islands, Family Division, P.O. Box 929, Christiansted, St. Croix, U.S.V.I. 00821 (tel. 340/778-9750).
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