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  • Kaylee Hatfield

Symbolic or Legal? Deciding which Destination Wedding Option is Right for You



Your Destination Wedding: Legal or Symbolic?

The day you've been dreaming of your entire life is up in the air, and as far as destination weddings, your choices are already endless. Wedding planning is stressful enough as it is, and because you've decided to do a destination wedding, the decision of a symbolic or legal wedding can really add confusion to the process.

Symbolic Ceremony

A symbolic ceremony is a non-legal ceremony that is often more customized and less expensive than a legal one. A big advantage of a symbolic ceremony is that you can personalize it more to reflect your own unique love story. You can write your own vows, include readings that are special to you, and even choose your own officiant or use the one that the resort provides.


You also don’t need to obtain a marriage license in advance, which can often be difficult if you’re getting married in another country. You can get legally married before or after your symbolic ceremony in your own home town. This also allows you the opportunity to invite those you are closest to that may not be able to attend your destination wedding, to attend your legal ceremony.


A symbolic ceremony option is sometimes the least stressful and has the less amount of hassles when planning your wedding, Your dream location, the decor, the ambiance, is completely the same, and none of your guests will know the difference unless you tell them.


Legal Ceremony

A legal ceremony is just that—a legal marriage ceremony. This means that you need to obtain a marriage license in advance, and the officiant must be authorized to perform marriages in the country where the ceremony is taking place. A legal ceremony can be typically longer than a symbolic one as well.

A legal wedding may also have several rules that you will need to abide by to get married, and will depend on the country. This may involve arriving to the resort several days in advance to fulfill a residency requirement, having documents translated to and from the country of origin, or paying extra fees for a government official to marry you both. Blood tests can also be involved as well as witness requirements and more. Also, if you've ever been married before, there will also be other proof and information required in the form of documentation. You may also need to go through additional steps to have your marriage legally recognized in your home country.

Choosing a Symbolic or Legal Wedding

Now comes the hard part: Do you choose a legal ceremony or a symbolic one? There are pros and cons to both types of ceremonies, so it really depends on what’s important to you both. If you want a less expensive route with less hoops to jump through, and more personalized ceremony, then go for a symbolic one. But if you want something that will be legally recognized, then opt for a legal destination wedding instead. Whichever type of wedding you choose, make sure it’s something that truly reflects your relationship and will make for an unforgettable day!


Armed with the knowledge above, we hope you can make an excellent choice for your upcoming destination wedding .

Let us know if you would like a Destination Wedding expert to help assist you with one of the most important days of your lives! We would be happy to be with you every step of the process, and can make destination wedding planning a breeze! Head to www.romanticstravel.com/destination-weddings to get started.


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