5 tips to get married in the Caribbean plus how much it really costs to get married there
If you're looking for jaw-dropping beaches, luxurious venues and a host of fun activities, the Caribbean has you covered. The tapestry of tropical islands spread across a calm and bright blue ocean is the perfect setting for a destination wedding in the sun. From the beauty of the Bahamas to the serenity of St. Lucia, people celebrate their weddings in the Caribbean as much to get away from it all as they do to revel in that famous Caribbean party spirit. We’re talking rum punch, beach BBQs, scuba diving and off-road 4x4 adventures... tempted?
If you love the idea of getting married in the Caribbean, what do you need to know? Check these helpful tips from French wedding photographer and Fine Art Curation member Thomas Audiffren, who captured this gorgeous Caribbean elopement in Guadeloupe.
1. How much does it cost to get married in the Caribbean?
There are a huge amount of wedding venues across the many Caribbean islands so there's generally something to suit every budget. Weddings in the Caribbean are not hugely expensive (from around $1,000 - $5,000) but flights and accommodation significantly bump up the cost. However if you are able to plan ahead and book in advance, you can usually find some great deals.
2. Choose your Caribbean island
The first step is choosing which of the 700 Caribbean islands to get married on. The list below shows the most popular Caribbean wedding destinations and the right one for you will depend upon a range of factors, such as budget, wedding size and ideal journey duration for you and your guests.
Each destination can offer you a stunning wedding and the experience you have in mind will help you decide whether to go for an all-inclusive resort wedding package or an independent venue such as a private villa or boutique hotel, where you will arrange each element separately yourself or with the help of a wedding planner.
Jamaica and the Bahamas tend to be the most popular choices, followed by Puerto Rico because as a US Territory, you don't need a passport or different documents to get married there, plus you can deal with all wedding payments in US dollars.
- Turks and Caicos
- Puerto Rico
- St. Lucia
- Cayman Islands
- St. Kitts and Nevis
- St Barts
3. Don't dismiss wedding packages
I get it, the idea of a wedding package doesn't sound as appealing as a fully bespoke experience, but I urge you to include them in your research. Wedding packages take away much of the stress of planning a Caribbean destination wedding from afar and help to manage costs too. Many resorts shy away from calling their wedding service a 'package' as you can personalise many of the elements to totally tailor the day to your taste and requirements, with the benefit of a single point of contact.
4. Choose a Caribbean wedding planner
If a wedding package isn't for you and the bespoke route is more your style, a great wedding planner is key to a seamless stress-free experience. A planner with experience of your chosen Caribbean island is helpful but not essential, what is most important is selecting someone with excellent communication skills who shares your design aesthetic. Check out our top tips for choosing a stellar destination wedding planner.
5. Marriage legalities and same-sex weddings in the Caribbean
Requirements vary between destinations so you'll need to research the marriage legalities of your chosen island, which is worth doing before you book anything. Some destinations allow legal ceremonies, whereas others only allow symbolic ceremonies so you'll need to officially get married elsewhere first, such as your local city hall. Your wedding planner or package coordinator will be able to help organise legal paperwork, fees and translators.
Same-sex marriages are currently only legal in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, as well as Saba, Bonaire and St. Eustatius. Other destinations, such as the Dominican Republic, are suitable for a symbolic wedding in an adult-only resort. Unfortunately, most destinations, due to their religious history and culture, currently do not allow legal or symbolic weddings, but are LGBT friendly for holidays and honeymooners.
Photographer Thomas Audiffren | Wedding planning and design: Shades Waves | Florals: By Chrys | Venue: La Créole Beach | Film director : Jino Agnelli | Dress (boat) : Louise Valentine | Dress (wedding) : Igilles | Shoes: Bella Belle | Jewelry: Sohelo Bijoux Mariage | Catamaran: Les Voyages De Catalpa