Happy hump day! Welcome to an all new Wedding Wednesdays Q&A! Today we are chatting about marriage ceremonies.
Q: My fiancé and I are thinking about having a destination wedding most likely somewhere in Europe and I’m debating on whether we should actually get legally married there or just do a quick ceremony at city hall. What do you recommend?
This is a super important question, so I’m really happy you asked! Before we talk about what is easier or harder, the real issue behind this question is about wanting to have a ceremony that is real. The question you ask yourself is if you don’t get legally married in Italy or France or Greece (or where ever you are considering), then it’s not really real. Or if you get married legally before, will the ceremony you have at your destination wedding still be/feel real? No one wants to be putting on a “show” at their wedding. You want it to be and feel real, not fake or staged. The answer to that question is that it will definitely feel real, but how you go about it just depends on what makes sense for you. So, what does that mean? Let me explain.
Getting married in Europe and many other countries isn’t always very easy. Take France for example, you need to be a resident for 40 days before you can get married. Other countries require a bunch of paperwork to be filed, translated, authenticated and even blood tests to be taken. And some countries require a particular religious ceremony to take place, which you may or may not want. Let’s be honest, getting married abroad can be hard and full of headaches. For many, going through that isn’t worth it. So, many couples choose to get legally married in the US and just do a symbolic ceremony at their destination wedding. It’s still a meaningful and special ceremony and is even more so if you do it first and then get legally married in the US after your destination wedding. That way, it’s the first ceremony and the one you remember. But, you can also get legally married first and then do your ceremony at your destination wedding.
Those are two options you have available to you if you don’t want to go through the difficulty of getting married abroad. But, let’s not forget the original option of getting legally married abroad. You’ll obviously want to check the requirements needed in the country/town you are planning on getting married in, but while you may have to jump through some hoops and you may be required to have a certain kind of ceremony, this also gives you a chance to go through the true experience of getting married abroad. It’s not just a wedding experience, but a cultural experience which can surprise and delight you and will be something you’ll definitely remember.
So, the question is, what makes the most sense for you? If you don’t want to have to worry or think about any marriage difficulties or want to have a specific type of ceremony then I recommend you do a symbolic ceremony in your destination location and get legally married in the US afterwards. If you want the experience of getting married in your destination location, then go for it with an open mind and enjoy the process. Either way, you’ll definitely have a real wedding and it will be special and meaningful for you.
(Photo credit: David Pullum Photography)
If you are feeling unsure and overwhelmed with all the details of a destination wedding, we can help! Contact us today to work with us and get the help you need.