Differences between a Symbolic Wedding and a Legal Wedding

One of the highlights of being married abroad is regaling in the customs of the destination. But problems arise when marrying outside your jurisdiction. Although your marriage may be seen as a legal entity back home, the marriage itself in a foreign country may not be as simple as obtaining a license and having an official perform the service. In most cases the couple must decide between a symbolic wedding and a legal wedding.

A legal wedding is one where all the requirements have been met in order to obtain a legally binding marriage certificate from the country or region in which the marriage was performed. Some of those requirements, however, may be impossible for the couple to fulfil. For example, many countries demand that one or both persons be present in the location for a period before the wedding ceremony. Further, some require that the couple undergo local medical exams and maybe even present themselves for an interview before obtaining the license. Certain countries also have strict customs that dictate the religious philosophies under which the couple will be married. Some regions require both a religious and a civil ceremony to make the marriage legal. But whatever the requirement, it is agreed that in most instances, the hurdle may be too much to bear for the travelling couple.

To circumvent these issues, many times a couple will legally marry at home, maybe at city hall, and then choose a symbolic wedding at the location. Their guests witness their destination wedding ceremony so everything is the same as though they are being married but in reality, they are not issued a legal marriage certificate from the location. Their legal marriage has already taken place at their place of residence.

In summary, it is sometimes wiser to hold a symbolic wedding when being married abroad.

1 comment so far ↓

#1 Anthony on 06.25.09 at 6:54 pm

Can you tell me which country allow symbolic ceremonies? We want to have a destination wedding but don’t want a legally binding wedding (just a symbolic ceremony). Thank you.

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