Planning your Wedding Ceremony
Finalise a wedding date once the location is confirmed.

We focus today on the steps involved in planning a wedding ceremony, the legal aspect, of the wedding, and post-wedding steps.

1. Where to wed!

The first step in planning a wedding ceremony is that of selecting the ceremony's location. This decision should be based on the couple's preferences, accessibility, and availability. Just like any other location, if you choose to wed in a church, it is important to visit the church and speak to the officials about the requirements and restrictions for holding a wedding ceremony there.

The first step in planning your wedding ceremony is choosing a location. (Photo: Davion Forbes)

2. Set the date

Once the location has been selected, the couple should agree on a wedding date. It is advisable to choose a date at least six months in advance, as churches and other popular ceremony locations tend to have a busy schedule for weddings. This allows enough time to plan and prepare for the wedding.

3. The bridal party

The next step is to decide on the wedding party. This includes selecting the best man, maid of honour, bridesmaids, and groomsmen. Do choose people who are close to you and who can support you on your big day. It is important to note that it is likely that someone from your bridal party will witness and sign your marriage documents during the ceremony.

4. Choose the music

If you are getting married in a church, do choose music that is appropriate for a church ceremony. This may include traditional hymns or contemporary songs.

5. Select the readings

This may include Bible verses, poems, or other readings that are meaningful to the couple.

6. Plan the ceremony

By working with the minister/marriage officer... This includes deciding on the order of the service, the wording of the vows, and the timing of the procession and recession.

7. Arrange for the officiant

The couple should also arrange for an officiant to perform the ceremony. This may be a pastor, priest, or someone who is authorised to perform weddings.

8. Prepare the wedding attire

... well in advance of the wedding. This includes choosing a wedding gown or suit that is appropriate for the type of church, especially if Catholic.

What are the legal requirements for getting married in Jamaica?

The process of getting married in Jamaica pretty much remains the same, even though the cost of marriage officers may differ. The requirements include:

• Notarised copies of all documents which should be sent to the marriage officer. If you do not reside on the island use a courier service. If sending documents from overseas, though more expensive, it's a lot more reliable and quicker than the post.

NB: Please do not forget to bring the original documents with you.

• The marriage officer will fill out the required forms and arrange all documents.

• He/she will arrange for the ceremony to take place in a church or at a location of your choice.

• Marriage ceremonies may be conducted every day of the week between the hours of 6:00 am and sunset.

• Ceremonies can take place wherever you choose, and witnesses if needed can also be provided.

Hotel-planned weddings

Most hotels in Jamaica have wedding coordinators to plan the wedding of your dream

Documents required for a marriage licence

• Proof of citizenship — certified copy of your birth certificate.

• If you're divorced, you'll need to submit an original certificate of divorce as proof.

• Widow(ers) need a certified copy of the deceased spouse's death certificate.

If you reside overseas, once you have a licence, you can be married just 24 hours after arriving in Jamaica.

After the ceremony

• Immediately following the ceremony, the bride will be given a copy of the Marriage Register, which shows proof of marriage. This is signed by the marriage officer, the bride and groom and your witnesses (usually the maid of honour and best man). Please note that the copy of the Marriage Register is not a legal document and therefore cannot be used to conduct any business. You must obtain a certified copy of your marriage certificate from the local Registrar General's Department (RGD).

Applications for a marriage certificate can be done online.

Certified copy of marriage certificate

The marriage certificate may be applied for by the marriage officer and takes between seven working days to one month to be processed by the RGD. There is also an express service available. The couple may apply for it themselves if they so choose.

A wedding ceremony requires careful planning and attention to detail. With proper planning and preparation, a beautiful and unforgettable wedding ceremony is all yours.

Shikima Hinds Logo.
Shikima Hinds

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