Wedding Legalities published April 2, 2010
The legislative requirements for your wedding will depend to a large degree on the Country, or even State, you are getting married in, as well as your religion and culture.
It is becoming increasingly popular nowadays for couples to opt for a civil wedding rather than a traditional religious ceremony. As long as the location chosen holds a wedding license, and you can find an officiant who is willing to perform the ceremony, then the wedding will be legally recognized. Often with these civil weddings, the ceremony will be more personalized to suit individuals.
When Elizabeth Hurley married Indian Millionaire Arun Nayar, they chose to have two ceremonies to hon our both Western and Eastern cultures. Guests including Elton John, Kate Moss and Donatella Versace were invited to a civil ceremony held at Sudeley Castle, some 100 miles away from London in Gloucestershire. This was followed by a blessing and a party at the same venue. Following on from the celebrations in the English countryside, the couple jetted off to six days of traditional Indian wedding festivities in India at the grooms family home in Rajasthan followed by a final "haldi" ceremony at a maharaja's palace!
When using a location other than a church, it is important to understand any contractual obligations for using the site. There may be areas that are not to be used, and there may be restrictions on taking photos.
It is probably unlikely that Pamela Anderson and Kid Rock were too concerned about any restrictions at the first of four ceremonies they held to mark their wedding… It was held on a yacht in St Tropez!! This was followed by a second ceremony at a Beverly Hills Court House and a third held after midnight in a bar presided over by a Nashville Judge!
You may be having a church wedding, but wish to have your photos taken in a local park or popular landmark. Permits must be obtained, granting permission for this activity, and often a fee paid. This usually goes towards the upkeep of the area.
With destinations abroad becoming increasingly popular as wedding locations, it is important to research the legal requirements for your chosen country before deciding if this is definitely for you. Also bear in mind the ceremony is likely to be a civil one. Remember to check and take any necessary documentation with you such as Birth Certificates, passports etc, as often local laws dictate that these must be seen by local officials before the wedding ceremony can go ahead.
Most couples, apart from those that choose to marry ‘on the hop’ with a quick unplanned ceremony in Vegas, will usually be guided in advance by the officiant at their forthcoming wedding, as to the legal requirements and documents that they will need prior to and on the day itself.