Destination Weddings: Legal Issues to Remember

By Stephanie Rabiner, Esq. on May 24, 2011 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

It's almost summer and brides across the country are picking out flowers, mailing invitations, and subjecting bridesmaids to ugly dresses.

But for that bride who has chosen a destination wedding, there's something else to think about.

Potential legal issues. That's right, a destination wedding legal reminder is in order this time of year.

If you've chosen to have a wedding in a different state from which you reside, here's a list of state-by-state requirements.

But if you're having a destination wedding abroad, there's a bit more for you to consider.

First and foremost, be sure to let your guests know well in advance, as some may have to snag a passport for themselves or another family member. With the U.S. requiring passports for citizens entering from Canada and Mexico, applications may be delayed.

Also let them know if they'll need a visa.

More important than travel documents is knowing the laws in your destination country.

Chances are that you will need a valid U.S. passport or a birth certificate to obtain a foreign marriage license. Some countries also require blood and medical tests, or may demand that one of the parties be a resident of the country.

A country's consulate or embassy will be able to point you in the right direction.

Also be sure to check whether your destination wedding will be for naught--some states won't recognize certain marriages performed abroad. Your state attorney general can help you with this information.

In the end, just remember that, for your destination wedding to go smoothly, you'll need to do your legal homework.

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