destination MALAYSIA

OVERVIEW

Malaysia – a multicultural country, where many ethnic groups live and interact in peace and harmony. A country filled with contrasting landscapes, this is where you can find rugged mountains, rainforest-clad slopes, sandy beaches and rich mangroves. A wide array of traditional handicrafts can be found here, ranging in size and price, but all delightful and enjoyable.

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REQUIREMENTS

If you plan on getting married in Malaysia, be ready to spend at least a month in the country or be prepared to book two (or three) separate trips. You will understand why after reading the following requirements:

  • Notice of marriage must be given to the Registrar of the district in which the marriage will be held. This can only be done after the couple has been residing in said district for seven days.
  • Both parties must declare in writing that they are legally free to marry and submit a letter of Confirmation of Marital Status from their country of residence or Embassy. They must also declare that there is no impediment to their marriage.
  • Once the necessary fees have been paid and 21 days have passed, a certificate of marriage is issued and a wedding ceremony date can be arranged with the Registrar. This day must take place within six months of the date of notice and two witnesses are required.

The following paperwork is necessary to register your marriage:

  • Passport with photocopy front page containing personal information and page showing date of arrival in Malaysia
  • A colour photograph against a blue background for each person (32 mm x 38 mm)
  • The Decree Absolute if one of the applicants has been divorced
  • The Certificate of Death of a Spouse if an applicant has been widowed

Please note that forms may be completed in English but the forms are only available in Malay. They are available for download from here.

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ENTERTAINMENT

With the variety of ethnic groups living together in Malaysia come a variety of entertainment options. More traditional selections include the Tarian or Candle Dance (women perform a delicate dance while balance candles in small dishes), the Kompang (arguably the most popular Malay traditional instrument) and the Gamelan (a traditional orchestra that plays ethereal melodies using an ensemble of gong, percussion and stringed instruments) – all pretty unique and cool!

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I had to include this! Pulut Kuning = rice wedding cake! I imagine the Canadian equivalent would be a wedding cake made of mac and cheese. Either way, why not give it a try?

BEST TIME

Overall, Malaysia is a year-round destination as the country experiences hot and humid weather throughout the year. If you would like to avoid the steamy heat, it would be best to go between the months of May and September, when the temperature is slightly cooler. Beware of monsoons! If you are planning an outdoor wedding, it would be best if you avoid the months of October to January when it tends to rain quite heavily. Daily afternoon rain is quite normal. When it does fall, it is heavy but short; the sun will start shining again before you know it.

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 Sources:

Embassy of the United States (2013). Marriage in Malaysia. Retrieved from http://malaysia.usembassy.gov/marriage.html

Tourism Malaysia (2013). Malaysia – Truly Asia. Retrieved from http://www.tourism.gov.my

[Image Credits: Keristuah,Iron Iris,A Cupcake Project, DeeLaPeNa]

destination INDIA

OVERVIEW

As the seventh largest country in the world, India is spotted with potential wedding destinations. The only barrier is your limitation. Whether simple or luxurious, India has it all and it has the manpower to deliver as over 1.2 million people live in this country. For many, language may appear to be a barrier; but even in India, English is used extensively, especially in business and administration, so have no fear.

Many choose India for the excitement, the exotic feel that such a faraway place possesses. Others enjoy the natural landscape of beaches, jungles and mountains. Still others appreciate the man-made beauty of palaces, mansions and heritage sites. Wherever you choose to get married within India, it is important that you plan well in advance, ideally giving yourself a year’s time to coordinate everything needed so that it goes smoothly.

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REQUIREMENTS

Weddings in India are governed by the following 5 marriage laws. The main factor in selecting which marriage law applies to the couple is the religion to which they belong.

  1. Indian Christian Marriage Act 1889: For marriage among Christians
  2. Hindu Marriage Act 1955: For marriage among Hindus, Jains, Buddhist and Sikhs
  3. Muslim Marriage Acts: For marriage among Muslims
  4. Parsi Marriage & Divorce Act, 1936 (amended in 1988): For marriage among Parsees (Zorastians)
  5. Special Marriage Act, 1954: For those belonging to different communities or religions and for those who do not want to marry in a religious ceremony

For further information regarding a specific Indian marriage law, you can visit the office of the Registrar of Marriages of your place of residence. As always, please be prepared to provide proof that you are free to marry ie passports, birth certificates, and proof of dissolution of marriage whether divorce papers or death certificates. Also if you are planning to marry under the Special Marriage Act, be aware that there is a residency requirement of 30-days so plan ahead to ensure you fulfill this legal requirement. Other requirements may be enforced depending on which state you choose to be married in.

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ENTERTAINMENT

Indian weddings, to the outsider, appear to be a show filled with flashy colours and loud music with lots of food and people. You may not necessarily be Indian but when in India, what should you do? Think of your audience as this will greatly determine what you include. For example, you wouldn’t have belly-dancing if it was mostly seniors attending or folk dance if it was a younger crowd. Find the perfect fit between the audience and the entertainment while choosing something you and your future mate love as well. Some entertainment ideas include Bollywood dancers/ singers, live instrumental or contemporary music, Sufi music, DJs, rap shows, elephants. One thing is sure: no wedding is complete without fireworks!

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BEST TIME

The weather is the biggest factor in determining when it would be the best time to get married in India. It is dry and sunny from October to February, which are ideal months to get married. The next determinant will be cost, how much are you willing to pay. If cost is not a factor, anytime is a good time; but for those with a budget, December and January will not be an option for you as those are the peak months when prices sky-rocket due to the huge demand and lack of availability.

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[Image Credits: Mystical Moments, Marry Me, The Raj Palace, Working Brides]

Sources:

Cook, S. (2013). A foreigner’s guide to getting married in India. Retrieved from http://goindia.about.com/od/planningyourtrip/a/indiawedding.htm

Government of Canada (2013). Marriage and divorce. Retrieved from
http://www.canadainternational.gc.ca/india-inde/consular_services_consulaires/marriage-mariage_divorce.aspx?lang=eng

Tamarind Weddings (2013) Fun at weddings – Wedding entertainment. Retrieved from http://tamarindweddings.com/blog/fun-at-weddings-wedding-entertainment/

destination JAMAICA

OVERVIEW

The third largest island in the Caribbean, Jamaica is home to many of the best all-inclusive resorts in the region. It is a very popular tourist attraction, possibly for its geography of white sand beaches and lush tropical forests. Personally, I think people go for the national dish of ackee and saltfish or maybe for the delicious jerk chicken… yum!

As a destination wedding location, it is economical and exciting. There are a variety of activities to fill your trip such as climbing a waterfall or riding a zipline through a forest. If you’re not the adventurous type, the beach is the place to be. If you like privacy, consider renting a wedding villa for the week. If you like service, choose an all-inclusive resort staffed with planners to help make your wedding a success. So pack your suitcase and don’t forget your flip flops.

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REQUIREMENTS

Getting married in Jamaica is quite an easy affair. Just follow the steps, have the paperwork ready and you will be on your way to saying, “I do”.

  • Apply for a marriage license up to 3 months prior to your wedding day ($4000 JMD)
  • Have copies of the following: Proof of citizenship (certified copy of birth certificate, which includes father’s name), Parent’s written consent if under
    18 years of age, Proof of divorce if applicable (original certificate of divorce), and Certified copy of death certificate for widow or widower
  • If any of the above legal documents are not in English, these documents must be translated to English and notarized
  • No blood test is required
  • Arrange for a licensed marriage officer to be present at your wedding to sign the marriage form and make the official marriage pronouncement
  • Arrive in Jamaica for 24 hours and be prepared to walk down the aisle

Read this article for more specific details and contact information: www.visitjamaica.com/articles/getting-married-in-jamaica.aspx

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ENTERTAINMENT

Just close your eyes for a moment (and have someone read this to you): Imagine yourself on a beautiful beach, a reggae band playing the background, while you and your closest friends dance under the moonlight. This is THE coolest thing to have at a Jamaican wedding! Not your thing? Other population options include DJs, a steel drum band, a mento band, or a saxophonist. And if none of these catch your attention, do your own thing! The vendors in Jamaica are open to new ideas.

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BEST TIME

Jamaica has a tropical climate which does not vary too much from season to season but, with an average temperature of 27°C, cooler temperature is always appreciated. For that reason, the island is hit with an influx of travelers during the months of December to March, the winter season. If temperature is your main concern, that is the time to get married in Jamaica. February, March and April are months when students flood the area as they have time off school.

If you mind the young crowd and you don’t mind the heat, make plans to go between the months of May to December, especially those of you who are watching your wallet. According to Visit Jamaica, planning an off-season wedding can save you up to 40% on hotels and other costs. Is the heat worth it? You decide but remember that summer brings with it hurricane season so plan accordingly.

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Sources:

Visit Jamaica (2013). Weddings and honeymoons. Retrieved from http://www.visitjamaica.com/vacation-themes/weddings.aspx

[Image Credits: Jamaica Konsulat,Venue Safari,Bunches of Bliss, Saab Wedding]

destination INDONESIA

OVERVIEW

Why get married in Indonesia you may ask? Well the geography of the republic is quite unique. It is the largest archipelago in the world, made up of 17,504 tropical islands of various sizes, and it is as wide as the United States from New York to San Francisco. What does this all mean for you? Your choice of sandy beaches. Not into beaches? That’s okay too as the location offers a diversity landscapes to choose from, from luxuriant rainforests to snow-capped peaks.

Do not be under the impression that Indonesia will not be able to meet your needs. The country has amazing infrastructure. Its hotels are globally renowned for their luxurious service. Convention centers are equipped with state-of-the-art facilities. International conferences and exhibitions have been held in provincial capital cities. Be assured that, should you choose Indonesia for your destination wedding, all your expectations will be met with great satisfaction.

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REQUIREMENTS

To get married in Indonesia, three key conditions must be met:

  1. The couple must belong to the same religion. Otherwise, a statement letter must be written by the bride or groom indicating that they have agreed without force to marry in the religion agreed upon. By the way, a religion must be declared; agnosticism and atheism are not recognized.
  2. The marriage is performed by the Office of Religious Affairs (Kantor Urusan Agama) if the couple is Muslim or it is conducted by the Civil Registry Office (Kantor Catatan Sipil) if the couple is of a non-Islamic faith. For the latter, a Notice of Intention to Marriage must be submitted at least two weeks prior as well.
  3. As a non-resident of foreign nationality, a No Impediment to Marriage certificate must be obtained at the appropriate embassy or consulate office. An appointment must be made. Paperwork such as passports, birth certificates, and proof of dissolution of marriage must be brought along in addition to filling out an application form.

This covers the major legal steps requiring your attention. For more details, contact your nearest Embassy of Indonesia.

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ENTERTAINMENT

Entertainment at destination weddings is really what you want it to be. It can be modern, formal, traditional, or casual. If you want more out of the ordinary ideas, consider having fire dancers, Legong dance, gamelan performance, or Rindik music. Be aware that some venues do not allow for live bands or DJ performances while others only allow it for a limited amount of time. Night parties may also need special arrangement and permits from the local government.

destination INDONESIA 3BEST TIME

Indonesia has only two seasons: dry and rainy. Unless you really love rain, the best time to get to travel to Indonesia and to get married is in the dry season which is from June to September. As Indonesia is a tropical country made up of many islands, it does get hot and humid so sunscreen and moisturizer are essentials when visiting during the dry season.

It is recommended that you avoid holiday festivities unless you are interested in seeing and experiencing them. Eid, an important Muslim holiday, is a big celebration held to mark the end of a month of fasting. With approximately 202.9 million Muslims in the country (Miller, 2009), it is an understatement to say that traffic can get “heavy”. The day varies each year so do research with this factor in mind before deciding on your wedding date.

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[Image Credits: Tourism-ReviewChris + Lynn PhotographersBaliwww, The Wedding Notebook]

Sources:

Discover Indonesia (2013). Wonderful Indonesia. Retrieved from http://www.indonesia.travel/en

Miller, Tracy, ed. (October 2009), Mapping the Global Muslim Population: A Report on the Size and Distribution of the World’s Muslim Population (PDF), Pew Research Center, retrieved 2013-05-05.

destination WEDDINGS

Destination weddings have become a growing trend among couples. Many are choosing to get married away from home. Now don’t get the wrong idea. We are not talking about getting eloped. Eloping is completely different. Elopement used to describe when a couple ran away together to get married as they are unable to obtain the approval of family and friends. It used to be quite a bad thing to do. It reminds me of Romeo and Juliet, except that love story ended horribly, not remotely close to happily ever after. So elopements describe spur-of-the-moment, whirlwind weddings.

Destination weddings differ greatly in that a lot of planning goes into it – on average, more than a year of planning is involved. If that much time is needed to plan a destination wedding, why not just have it at home (or in your home city if your backyard can’t fit everyone)?

TOP REASONS TO HAVE A DESTINATION WEDDING

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they’re ALMOST stress-free

Many wedding planners special in destination weddings and they can take care of all the details for you. Another option is to go with the on-site hotel/resort/cruise line wedding coordinator who are familiar with the local marriage requirements and can take care of everything other than signing the papers for you. For the brave ones out there, you can do-it-yourself as many tourism boards are offering brochures listing recommended ceremony sites and local wedding vendors in the area as a way to attract business to the local community.

no family DRAMA

The coming together of two people sometimes becomes the coming together of two families, two cultures, two sets of traditions. Everyone wants to have their input and be listened to, failing to remember the wedding should be about the bride and the groom. Getting married on a remote island takes the attention off the fighting families and back onto the cute couple.

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they’re CHEAP cost-effective

Especially for couples from developed countries, weddings are a costly expense. The affordability of destinations weddings makes them really attractive. Depending on where the couple chooses to get married, it is possible to get married, have a honeymoon and still have money left over for your dream home. For example, “a couple can fly to an all-inclusive resort in Jamaica, get married, and stay for a deluxe weeklong honeymoon for a few thousand dollars, including lodging, meals, drinks, and airfare”. This is a huge contrast to a traditional wedding with the average 150-guest which can cost anywhere from $22,000 to more than $40,000 in major cities, not including the several thousand needed for a honeymoon. Don’t forget, for destination weddings, the wedding is part of the honeymoon.

YOU make the rules

It’s not a traditional wedding so you don’t have to follow tradition. You can wear flip flops and a bikini, go barefoot in a sundress or walk down the aisle in running shoes and shorts. You decide! Have your wedding reflect who you are – a unique individual!

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once-in-a-lifetime QUALITY playtime

At traditional weddings, the bride and groom are too busy and way too nervous to have time to meet and greet everyone, let alone have time to chat. Destination weddings are great in that it’s essentially a week (or more) long vacation with your family and intimate friends. After dealing with the necessary paperwork, you can use the remainder of the time to hang out with friends attending from distant countries, catch up with childhood friends you rarely get to see, or spend quality time with your future other half.

PERFECT for your second time

If it’s your second time tying the knot, you might prefer a more private and simple ceremony. There may be various reasons for this: your first wedding was already a fairytale wedding without the fairytale ending and you would like to keep it under budget this time around or you would the wedding to be quiet and anonymous, away from the nosy neighbors and workmates back home. Either way, destination weddings work for you even if you both have kids from your last marriage. Bring them along to a kid-friendly all-inclusive resort or cruise so that the new family can start forming lasting bonds.

[Image Credits: Carlson Wagonlit Travel, Stahr Events, Island Villa]