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  • Writer's pictureKimberly Jacoby

Planning a Legal Wedding before or after your Symbolic Destination Wedding

boho wedding ceremony decor and chairs over the sand with a view of the ocean
Should you plan a legal wedding before or after your symbolic wedding?

If you’re planning on having a symbolic destination wedding , you’ve probably heard that you will need to also get legally married back home before or after your destination wedding to make it official. Usually the local city hall/courthouse/judge is the quickest choice - But how do you go about planning that legal wedding in your hometown?

First, let's talk about why you decided to choose the symbolic destination wedding route in the first place.

The Benefits of a Symbolic Destination Wedding

  1. It's Cheaper

  2. No Blood Tests

  3. No translation fees

  4. No Government official to worry about

  5. Less paperwork

  6. Less Hoops to Jump Through

Getting Married Back Home Basics

Courthouse, City Hall, Judge, or ordained officiant weddings are pretty straightforward. They also tend to be short and sweet, lasting less than an hour in most cases. Couples typically invite their nearest and dearest for this intimate occasion, and this is the perfect opportunity for Grandma that can't travel to your destination wedding, to see you get married locally.

Get Your Marriage License

Before anything else, couples should check their local laws regarding marriage requirements — some states have residency requirements or waiting periods that must be met before couples can get legally married within state borders, so you'll want to start researching "marriage license requirements or contact your county clerk's office. Keep in mind that marriage licenses are only valid for a certain period of time.

Gather Your Documents

Next up is gathering all of the documents necessary for your marriage license application. This will vary by state so it’s important to look up what documents are required in advance. The good news is that most cities will provide a checklist so there won’t be any guesswork involved—just make sure it gets done on time!

Both parties must provide valid photo identification in order for the wedding license to be issued by the county clerk's office. Once all documents are in order, couples will then receive an official marriage license which will allow them to proceed with the legal ceremony.

Have the Legal Ceremony

The legal ceremony can be held at the courthouse, government building, or under a tree in the backyard. An ordained minister, priest, justice of the peace; and most judges can officiate. Please ensure you check the rules of your location as there are a few states that also allow self solemnization.

Need more help and guidance planning your destination wedding? Romantics Travel is here to help! Learn more at



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