Getting Married In Jamaica: Insights From Wedding Planners


Jamaica is one of the most exotic natural beauties that the Caribbean has to offer. Its physique of golden sandy beaches are boarded by sweeping mountain panoramas and lapped at by some of the most exquisite crystal-like waters found anywhere. These gorgeous backdrops are the perfect setting, and will make certain that your wedding day will be the one you never forget.

Key takeaways:

  • You don't have to be a Jamaican citizen to get married in Jamaica, and unlike many other countries Jamaica does not require a blood test before marriage. However, some documentation will have to be submitted to get a marriage license.

  • Marriages that take place in Jamaica according to Jamaican law, are recognized in the United States as legal marriages.

  • The consistency in the weather is a massive draw for U.S. citizens. There are, however, slightly better months than others. December to April are the best months to get married in Jamaica.

Let's dive in!

In this article on the Sandals Blog:

Why Jamaica?
How to complete the paperwork
How to plan a wedding in Jamaica in 12 steps
The marriage certificate
Sandals amazing wedding venues in Jamaica
Getting married at Sandals
Getting married in Jamaica FAQs


Wedding setting on beach patio

Picture: The Sandals Negril beachfront Gazebo: a great wedding venue!



Why you should say your “I dos” in Jamaica?

If the picturesque views, staggering sunsets, and romantic ambiance aren’t enough of a reason to get married in Jamaica, then here are a few more reasons why we think Jamaica is the perfect wedding destination:

  1. It’s unique and private: A customized wedding complete with all your specific requests, your special someone and those closest to you. The ultimate wedding escape.
  2. Jamaica is prepared for your big day: With extensive experience in planning and executing weddings, Jamaica is beyond equipped to help you execute your wedding vision.
  3. It’s a wedding and a honeymoon, all in one: It doubles up as a dreamy location for a wedding ceremony and you can spend your honeymoon there too. There’s no need to visit another expensive destination.

Expert Tip: Ensure that you have all the necessary legal documents in advance, so that your marriage license can be secured by the resort. You don’t want to have any hiccups with documents.


"When you think about a destination wedding, you think about the authenticity of the culture and the exotic appeal of the location. Jamaica has this to offer and so much more! The island is known for its warm and friendly people, its sunshine and its beautiful white sandy beaches. There are varieties of wedding locations to choose from, whether the lush gardens or the azure blue Caribbean Sea. The possibilities are endless…"


Caribbean breezes wedding ceremony setting

Picture: Caribbean breezes beach wedding at Sandals South Coast in Jamaica.



How to complete the necessary paperwork.

The excitement of engagement is at it's peak and while your special day in Jamaica couldn’t arrive any sooner, there are a few things you need to have in place before getting stuck into the nitty gritty of the perfect destination wedding.

Getting married at one of the Sandals' all-inclusive resorts in Jamaica? Your personal wedding planner will help you gather and complete all documents.


The following steps will need to be taken to acquire a minister’s (marriage) license in Jamaica:

1. Complete the declaration form.

Have a declaration form completed by a person (declarant) who has knowledge of the impending marriage. The form needs to be signed by the declarant in the presence of a justice of the peace (a special type of court officer that can perform civil marriages) in Jamaica. The declarant can be a friend or family member.

Declaration forms are available at the following address:

Customer Service Desk
Ministry of Justice
Commerce Gate
61 Constant Spring Road
Kingston 10
Jamaica

or perhaps more convenient, can be downloaded here. Forms MUST be printed on legal size paper.


Tips for filling in the declaration form:

  • ‘Names in full’ mean first, middle, and last name.
  • ‘Condition’ means bachelor/spinster/divorced/widow/widower.
  • ‘Calling’ means occupation.
  • ‘Dwelling places’ and ‘parishes’ mean local address and parish of both parties. If either of the parties is residing abroad, twenty-four (24) hours residence on the Island is required at which time a local address can be used.

2. Collect a blank minister's marriage license form.

Collect a blank minister’s marriage license form at the the above mentioned customer service desk. Please note: this form is not available online nor can it be mailed out.

Beach in Negril Jamaica

Picture: Beaches Resort in Negril, Jamaica. Honeymoon anyone?


3. Get the blank minister's marriage license form stamped.

Make a stamp duty payment of four thousand Jamaican dollars (JMD $4,000.00 or approximately $50 USD) at the Stamp Duty Office located at 111 Harbor Street, Kingston, Jamaica. The blank marriage license form will be stamped after payment.

4. Submit both forms and supporting documents to the Ministery of Justice.

Return both the stamped minister’s marriage license form and the completed declaration form to the Ministry of Justice, along with the original or certified copies of the following supporting documents (for both groom and bride):

  • Passport or driver’s license.
  • Birth certificate, which includes father’s name.
  • Final divorce decree / decree absolute (where applicable).
  • Death certificate for widows (where applicable).
  • Certified documents supporting any change of name (where applicable).

If you are under eighteen years of age, a letter of consent is required from your legal parent/guardian signed in the presence of and certified by a justice of the peace.

Customer Service Desk
Ministry of Justice
Commerce Court
61 Constant Spring Road
Kingston 10
Jamaica

Special note: All documents that are not issued in English must be translated by an official translator and subsequently certified by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the country of residence and by the nearest Jamaican mission or honorary consulate.

Night time wedding reception setting

Picture: White Romance Reception on the beach at Beaches Resort Negril.



5. Collect the minister’s (marriage) license.

Once the documents are found to be satisfactory the license will be issued.

There is a three hour same day processing time for walk-in applicants, when applying for a marriage license. Visitors can be married 24 hours after arriving in Jamaica, providing application is completed.

The minister's marriage licence expires 90 days after the date it was issued.


How do I plan a wedding in Jamaica?

Tying the knot with your loved one in Jamaica is one of the most exciting adventures of your life. The sooner you get started, the easier it will be. Give yourself plenty of time to carefully orchestrate the dream destination wedding of your lifetime. The average wedding takes between 13 - 18 months to plan. Your timeline can vary depending on a number of factors such as your guest list, the vendors you work with and the ambience you wish to create.

Row of chefs with cakes

The best way to keep abreast of all your plans is by building a wedding folder or binder (your wedding ‘Bible’) which would include the 12 steps below.

Getting married in Jamaica in 12 steps:

1. Consider your budget
2. Create a guestlist
3. Choose a wedding venue
4. Pick a date
5. Book accommodation and flights
6. Make arrangements for your honeymoon
7. Plan the ceremony
8. Plan the reception
9. Decor: set the mood with color
10. Select the flowers
11. Compile a wedding playlist
12. Pick the perfect dress

Let's get started!

Sandals South Coast overwater chapel

Pictures: Sandals South Coast over-the-water wedding chapel.



1. Consider your budget

Planning ahead can save a lot of money. This is probably your biggest party you've ever hosted. Consider your wedding budget as your first major purchase as a couple.

Keep track of your spend

A spreadsheet is the best way to keep track of your spend. Compile a budget including line items of all the specifics which will bring the big day together. Preceding the big day, you will include line items such as the paperwork, flights and accommodation. For the day, include items such as the ceremony and the reception. After the big day you want to budget for things such as your honeymoon.

Your budget should include a column for ESTIMATE for the quoted cost estimates from various vendors, ACTUALS for the actual spend, and a SAVINGS column for whatever you manage to save. Start to input the bigger or most important costs as soon as you receive them such as venue hire, wedding fees and ceremony costs.


Nautical blue beach wedding setting

Picture: Coastal living beach wedding at Sandals South Coast.



Be prepared for surprise costs

To cover yourself for future surprise costs it’s best to include a 15 to 20% contingency of your overall budget, which should cover you for any unforeseen costs.

Don't like surprise costs? Book your wedding with one of Sandals' all-inclusive resorts in Jamaica and get a free wedding with your stay of three nights or more! Unlimited gourmet food and drinks are included in your booking.


Palm leaf beach wedding setting

Picture: Tropical beach wedding at Beaches Negril.




2. Creating your guest list

Don’t leave creating your guest list too late, especially if you want your nearest and dearest to attend your big day. They too will need to budget for their trip to Jamaica and schedule some time off.

"One of the first things on the to do list, it to figure out who you will be inviting. Destination weddings are a win-win for everyone! Send out your save-the-date early, so you can know what size wedding you will be having - the more the merrier with group perks. Depending on which venue you choose, the more people you bring, the more perks you get at no additional costs!"

Over water villa Sandals suite

Picture: One of the luxurious over water villas at Sandals Royal Caribbean.


3. Pick a wedding venue

Your wedding venue will largely depend on your guest list. Will you be planning a big white wedding in Jamaica, or are you and your loved one going for an elopement wedding with just the two of you?

Get inspired: See Sandals' beautiful wedding venues in Jamaica.

If you can dream it, you can make it happen in Jamaica. It’s one of the most beautiful destinations for weddings in the world. Whether amidst lush tropical gardens, overlooking the vast aquamarine waters of the Caribbean Sea, or in a European garden setting backdropped with manicured lawns, all of it can be found in the Caribbean.


Couple getting married on beach

Picture: Crystal white beach wedding at Sandals in Jamaica.



4. Choose a date for your wedding in Jamaica

Jamaica is gorgeous, and its magnificence is reflected in its weather. The best time to get married in Jamaica is from December to April.

Two important factors to check when booking a wedding venue in Jamaica are:

  1. Check if the wedding venue has capacity for your group size.
  2. Check availability of the wedding venue.

It’s easy to fall in love with a location and then find out they are already booked for your special day. Try to tentatively book it, if the venue will allow. As soon as you are 100% sure you want the venue, complete your booking immediately.

Pink and black beach setting

Picture: A modern love beach wedding at Beaches Negril in Jamaica

Send out a ‘Save the Date’ shortly after picking a date. The invitations for your wedding in Jamaica will still need to be designed, created and sent out. This will take some time. A 'Save the Date' will give your guests some time to plan accordingly.


5. Accommodation and flights

In usual circumstances it’s best to book your flights sooner than later, to avoid a hike in flight costs. Most of the high-end resorts in Jamaica will allow you to book flights through them, as well as travel insurance - Sandals is no exception, even airport transfer to the resort is taken care of.

The next question is, when do you arrive? While it’s possible to get married within 24 hours of your arrival in Jamaica (provided all your paperwork is in place), you might want to plan your arrival in Jamaica at least 48 hours prior to your big day. Flight delays can happen at the most inopportune moments and you don’t want your wedding day to be among them.

Accommodation in Jamaica tend to fill up quickly, especially with bigger groups. Make sure to book your accommodations as early as possible, to ensure availability. If you are traveling with a group, make sure to ask your resort if there are special group rates. Some resorts, like Sandals, will offer additional perks, upgrades or discounts depending on how many rooms your group books.


Expert Tip: Planning your dream white wedding? Book 5 rooms with any Sandals resort and get the 6th room free, or book 11 rooms and get the 12th room free as well! Plus, a complimentary upgrade to a butler level suite!


Sandals over water villas Jamaica

Picture: The exquisite overwater bungalows at Sandals South Coast.

Getting everyone to the wedding venue

Have you considered how you, your spouse and your guests will get around once you all descend on Jamaica? It's a good idea to arrange transport for your guests if they are not staying at the wedding venue.

Ask your wedding planner or resort if they can assist with transfers or know of a reputable transfer company to assist. If you would prefer your guests to find their own way around, perhaps you could just give them a list of transfer companies to assist them making their own plans.

If you and your spouse are not staying at the resort, consider if you want a special limousine or car to transfer you from the ceremony to the reception and again from your reception to your hotel.


Expert Tip: Thinking about booking your wedding at a Sandals resort? Wedding parties can book their own private luxury coach bus, accommodating a maximum off 44 guests with three flat screen TV’s, complimentary Wi-Fi and fully reclining seats, ample leg room, foot rests, food trays and cup holders.


Couple on beach drinking cocktails



6. Make arrangements for your honeymoon

If you’re seeking luxury, seclusion and jaw-dropping scenery, look no further - Jamaica is the perfect honeymoon destination! You and your spouse can relax on stunning beaches, hike to spectacular waterfalls or get an up-close glimpse of the Jamaican lifestyle.

Expert Tip: Book a minimum 3 night vacation at the Sandals Resort of your choice, within 30 days of your wedding date, and get a free honeymoon package!


could walking to beach chapel

Picture: The overwater chapel at Sandals South Coast.



7. The wedding ceremony: moment of a lifetime

The wedding ceremony in Jamaica can be as unique as you are. It is completely customizable. It's your big day! Make your dream wedding come to life in the Caribbean.

If you are using the services of a wedding planner, you are likely to get advice on best practice for your wedding ceremony, which will take into account your personal requests and religious obligations. Should you be planning the ceremony yourself, there are a number of things you will need to take into consideration. Below are some guidelines to help you plan the perfect ceremony:

Who will marry you?

A good place to start would be to understand the difference between a wedding officiant, a minister, and a Justice of the Peace.

A minister can officiate a wedding. Most ministers will be restricted in what they can or will officiate, due to their religious affiliation with the church they belong to.

A Justice of the Peace is a special type of court officer that can perform civil marriages. These are a simple option for individuals who want nothing more than a marriage certificate, but they are limited in terms of schedule and location, and are strictly no-frills marriage ceremonies.

A wedding officiant is anyone who can legally officiate a marriage ceremony. In wider use, a wedding officiant often refers specifically to a non-denominational and sometimes non-religious official who carries no affiliation with a church. Couples who don’t regularly attend a religious service or church often find this sort of wedding officiant ideal because of the flexibility this approach affords.

Your wedding planner will be able to arrange a locally recognized marriage officer, unless of course you have someone special in mind to officiate your wedding. Should you be planning your own ceremony, marriage officers are available throughout the island and may be requested through the below channel:

Registrar General's Department
Twickenham Park
St. Catherine
Tel: 876-749-0550 or 876-619-1260
Email: information @ rgd.gov.jm
Website: www.rgd.gov.jm

A one hour in-person planning session with your officiant is recommended. During this time you can give them details of how you wish the ceremony to run.

Note: The marriage must be performed before 8:00 PM and two witnesses must be present at the ceremony to sign off the marriage certificate.


Green garden wedding setting

Picture: Love is in bloom garden wedding at Sandals South Coast.

The ceremony location

Will you have a beach wedding overlooking the ocean, a garden wedding overlooking sweeping views of your lush surroundings, or perhaps an intimate chapel wedding? Everybody has different preferences all of which can be met in Jamaica.


Green and yellow beach wedding

Picture: Green and yellow beach wedding at Beaches Negril.

The wedding rehearsal

It’s advised that you have a wedding rehearsal. Set a realistic time and date for this. You don’t want anyone to be late or miss it completely. Make sure the wedding officiant is aware of the rehearsal.

Wedding party at wedding site



The prelude music

The wedding prelude is the start of the ceremony. During this time, you may want to have music playing as your guests are being seated. Choose 2 to 3 songs and inform the venue or wedding planner before hand. Will your prelude songs be performed live with instruments or will they be pre-recorded?


White wedding gazebo flowers



Lighting of the candles

Will you be lighting candles during the prelude? Who will be responsible for this?

Wedding Palm leaves and flowers



Seating arrangements

Who will be seated where? Will there be a designated area for V.I.P’s? Where will your grandparents and parents be seated?

Garden wedding reception seating

Picture: Love is in bloom wedding reception at Sandals South Coast Jamaica



The processional

The wedding processional is the parade of people who will walk down the aisle in Jamaica. Let's start with the wedding officiant. Traditionally, the officiant and the groom will walk out first together, followed by the wedding party. However, there are many options. Will you be preceeded by flower girls? Will there be a ring bearer?

Wedding couple in gardens kissing


Greeting of the guests

How will the officiant greet the guests? Will it be formal? “We are gathered here today to celebrate one of life’s greatest moments, the joining of two hearts”. Or informal “Friends and family, thank you for coming together to celebrate the love of (Groom) and (Bride)”.

Prayers and personal readings

Will you include prayers in your ceremony? Many couples opt for alternate pieces to be read at this time such as a poem. Would you like to honor parents or grandparents during the ceremony? Consider whether you would like to honor deceased family members or friends during the ceremony?


White Wedding Gazebo

Picture: Wedding gazebo with beach view at Beaches Negril



Marriage invocation or explanation

At this point, the officiant will speak to everyone about marriage. The invocation is like a short sermon. It references The Bible and God as the Creator of Marriage. The explanation has a non-religious option. Once again, this is totally up to the couple.

The vows

Will you have traditional or personal vows? Double-check if you need to share these with the officiant. All officiants are required to know the traditional vows so they will have these for you, should you require them.

Exchanging the rings

There are a number of traditional options for the exchanging of the rings. However, this is completely dependent on the couple. If you have your own version you will need to share it with your officiant.


Wedding couple running on beach



8. The reception: it’s party time!

After that beautiful ceremony in Jamaica, relaxation sets in as you can still smell the ocean air from the beach. Everyone is bursting with excitement and waiting to celebrate with you. You walk together holding hands across the beach and amongst the tropical gardens. You're introduced as the new Mr and Mrs. Everyone cheers and wishes you congratulations, speaking to you in love. A waiter brings you something cool and refreshing, and it tastes fruity and delicious. Everyone gets seated and the waiters begin bringing all of the amazing Caribbean food that you picked for your menu. The cake is waiting to be cut and it's perfect.

Your dream reception will require careful consideration and planning. Below are a few ideas you may want to consider:

Proximity to the wedding ceremony

If not at the same venue, try to keep the reception as close to the wedding ceremony venue as possible. This will keep the momentum and possibly keep your transport costs down if the distance is too far to walk.

Will the reception be indoor or outdoor?

Your wedding planner or venue will be able to advise on the weather patterns during the time of year you decide to do the nuptials. Jamaica is great for beachfront weddings!

If you decide to tie the knot over the unpredictable rainy season (June to November), it might be a good idea to have an alternative plan up your sleeve. You will also need to consider the time of day. The time of day will determine the temperature, which may also determine your menu considerations.


Beach reception seating and tables


Sit-down or cocktail?

A sit-down reception is traditional, but nowadays many prefer a cocktail reception. There are upsides to both options. Your guests will be more appreciative of the sit-down option, especially during the speeches. If the formalities are short and sweet however, the cocktail option encourages more interaction amongst the guests. Other options to consider when in Jamaica include a beach reception, a garden reception or even a yacht reception.


Beach wedding cocktail bar

Picture: Gold themed cocktail reception stand at Beaches Negril.



The menu

Some of your guests may have specific dietary requirements so consider having a vegetarian option, salads for vegans or Halaal meals should that be a request. Your seating arrangements may also affect your menu. A cocktail reception may call for finger foods or a tapas menu. There are also variants such as placing larger servings on the table for guests to help themselves, or Russian service where the waiter holds the food.


Expert tip: Unlimited gourmet meals and premium spirits are included in your stay, should you decide to tie the knot at a Sandals resort.


Garden wedding reception tables



A receiving line

Consider whether or not you'll have a receiving line. Having a receiving line allows guests the opportunity to congratulate. Nowadays, most couples prefer to gradually move around the room, meeting with guests during the course of the reception.

If you do have a receiving line, the order is as follows: bride's mother or parents, groom's mother or parents, bride, groom, maid of honor, then bridesmaids.

Will the couple be announced?

Would you like to be announced as you enter the reception? This can be quite fun - the first time the newlyweds are announced as Mr & Mrs. After this you can quickly take your seats for dinner.


Couple walking on grass


Toasts and speeches

Decide when you will have toasts and speeches. Ask your speakers to keep it short and sweet. You could even appoint a timekeeper. The bride and groom can do their speeches just before the cake cutting ceremony.

The opening of the dancefloor

The tables and chairs start to clear, everyone is feeling nice and irie from their tropical cocktails, and the DJ turns up the volume on a slow Caribbean bassline, signaling it's time to for everyone to loosen up and sway their hips in celebration.

Couples often leave opening up the dancefloor until everyone has had a chance to enjoy a few cocktails and their meal. Before your Caribbean party begins, the opportunity arises for the traditional father and daughter, mother and son and newlywed dances. Each is a good prelude to opening the dancefloor for the wedding guests to join you on the dancefloor.


Wedding reception party group toasting


Photos of the reception

Some of the best candid photos are taken at the reception. Consider whether you want group table shots or whether you will request groups to make their own way to the photography area. Some couples like to have a photo booth with props to add to the fun. Other couples may ask guests to upload all their photos to a central place online, where they will instantly be shared with all the guests.

Band of gold reception setting

Picture: Gold themed wedding reception place settings at Beaches Negril


The garter belt removal and the bouquet toss

Another ceremonial aspect to consider is the the garter belt removal and the bouquet toss tradition. Will you have one and when will this take place? Traditionally the garter is a family heirloom so many brides use a different garter for the removal. Similarly to the garter, some brides prefer to use a separate bouquet.


White and yellow flower cake


Cutting of the cake

Assuming you will have a wedding cake, there are plenty of bakeries to choose from in Jamaica! The cutting of the cake is traditional. Some couples, however, prefer to have a tiered cake made from different cheeses. If you decide to go the non-traditional route, you might want to consider dessert for your guests.

The wedding favors

Traditionally guests would receive a small bag or box containing five sugared almonds representing the five blessings of Health, Wealth, Happiness, Long Life and Fertility. Now, of course, your wedding favors can be almost anything to reflect your own taste, budget and personality.

Coastal living wedding reception setting

Picture: Coastal living themed wedding reception at Beaches Negril



9. Decor: set the mood with color

You’ve seen a million wedding photos and have fallen in love with so many color patterns, and now you’re torn between options. Fear not, we’ve gathered the most important tips you need to choose the perfect color combinations for your wedding in Jamaica.

Create a mood board

Your mood board is a visual representation of your wedding design. The colors you choose will set the tone and spirit of your big day in Jamaica. From your invitations to your decor to your bouquet, every element will encapsulate your color theme.

Looking for inspiration? Check out these cool Caribbean wedding ideas.

Physical things such as fabric swatches or digital imagery are great sources of inspiration. Pinterest is great place to start. After a while, you will start to see some patterns. Hopefully you are now able to highlight the ones that blend, and your concept is starting to feel visually aligned. If there are colors that don’t fit in, scrap them, and before you know it you will have your very own color theme.

Consider skin tone

While you won’t be wearing your color theme on the big day, your bridesmaids probably will. It would be good to make sure the color theme is suitable for their skin tone. Your future hubby and his groomsmen will also need to fit into the color theme, so take that into consideration as well.

Share your color theme

Once you are set on the color theme, you can now coordinate with your wedding planner or vendors. Share your color theme ideas with them and ask them to share their ideas on decor. Ensure they consider the venue to incorporate appropriate textures and to always have a visual or physical representation of their ideas.

Hanging wedding purple green orchids



10. Organizing the flowers

A wedding in Jamaica would just not be the same without flowers. Here are a few thoughts to consider when finding the right flowers for you:

Decide on a color theme for your flowers

The flowers you decide to use are your personal choice. There is no right or wrong choice. Remember: less is more when it comes to flowers. They should be a splash of color to enhance the features of your wedding, not the centerpiece.

Hire the right florist

If you’re using the services of a wedding planner, they should be able to advise on a variety of preferred suppliers in Jamaica. If you are doing it on your own, do some research so you know what you are talking about before you contact the florist. Ask to see a portfolio of their previous work. If you’re not entirely happy, then find a new florist. Life is too short for bad flower arrangements.

Yellow rose bridal bouquet


Start with the bridal bouquet

You’ll be tempted to start with the smaller flower arrangements, such as the table arrangements or the aisle markers. However, it is best to start with the most important one, the bridal bouquet. Why? It will set the tone for the rest of the arrangements, and in turn make your life easier. There are many flower arrangements a couple could have at the wedding.

Flowers for the bridal party: think about the bridal bouquet, hair flowers, the groom's boutonniere, the maid of honor bouquet, bridemaids bouquets, the groomsmen boutonnieres and other boutonnieres and corsages.

Sandals colorful flower wedding cake

Flowers for at the ceremony: think about the ceremony entrance, aisle runners, chair decorations, candle decorations, the altar, flower girl basket decorations and flower girl petals to toss.

Flowers for at the reception: think about the entryway arrangements, table centerpieces, buffet table flowers, flowers for on the bar, cake flowers, flowers for on the guestbook table and the toss bouquet.


White romance beach wedding setting

Picture: Gazebo garden wedding with beach view at Beaches Negril



11. Compiling the wedding playlist

You’ve probably been streaming music for years and have finally built up a playlist millions would be proud of. This only makes the job of creating the wedding playlist that much more difficult. Where do you even start? Underneath you'll find a few tips to help you get your head around this:

DJ or live music?

Some couples prefer a DJ, some prefer live music, and some even do both.

The important thing is that someone is managing the smooth transitions between the different stages of the wedding and that the music reflects the mood of the different stages. The correct music can create the perfect ambience.

Contact your venue in Jamaica or wedding planner and ask them if they have a list of local DJ's or bands. Make contact with them and share your music requests. We would recommend a chat or a Skype call before the big day to discuss your ideas and to get a feel of their style.

Choose the big songs first

Start off by selecting the music you need for the big moments. Once you figure out what music you will have for the processional, ceremony, reception and other ceremonial events, it will make it easier to find the music that fills the rest of the gaps.

What’s your love story?

Choose songs which are sentimental to you and your fiance. Maybe it’s the song that was playing when you first clapped eyes on eachother. Or the song that was playing when you shared your first dance or kiss. As long as it carries sentimental value, it will evoke all the happy emotions on your big day.

The first dance

The anticipation in the air is thick, and even before you begin, the tears start to sparkle in the eyes around you. Maybe you are still standing with your toes in the warm sand, and your spouse is staring back into your eyes, their arms around you. The music starts and nothing exists for you beyond the music, those arms embracing you, and the cool Jamaican breeze kissing you both.

Preceeding the opening of the dance floor, you will raise everyones' excitement for the remaining dancing to come, so consider your parents and grandparents with this one too. They may want to celebrate with you on the dancefloor after the dance, so selecting some slower, sweeter, and older songs might be a good choice. When the dance is concluded, you can ease everybody onto the dancefloor with a well known sing-along song with an even tempo (Red, red, wine anyone?).

Bride on beach chapel dock



12. Say yes to the dress!

A lot of brides-to-be may find “Saying YES to the dress” is not as easy as it sounds. You’ve been dreaming about this moment for as long as you can remember, but now that it’s your turn, and you can’t seem to make a decision. Remember that each bride's journey to finding her dress is unique, so don’t let the stress of finding the perfect dress get in the way of all the excitement. Follow the following simple steps and you will undoubtedly find the wedding dress of your dreams:

The perfect fit

It’s unlikely that you’ll walk into a bridal shop and find a dress that fits perfectly. Wedding dresses are easily tailored. Try to find a dress that is 90% your preference as major alterations will increase the costs of your dress. If budget is no issue, then consider having one made.


Expert Tip: If you are having your wedding in Jamaica on the beach, or even outside, remember that the Jamaica can get quite warm and beaches can be windy. It may serve you well to wear a dress that doesn't have a train, and is generally sorter and more light-weight. This will help to keep you cool on your big day. If you have your heat set out on wearing a dress with all the bells and whistles, consider having a swap-out dress that you can change into for the reception and after party, to make sure you are comfortable the rest of the night.



Pick one feature

It becomes tricky when you try to incorporate all your favorite features into one dress. We recommend that you pick one feature and focus on that particular one. For example, perhaps you would like to accentuate the shoulders. Then maybe a sweetheart style dress would be suitable. If you feel too exposed, you can always add sleeves or a little lace to the shoulders.

It’s about how it makes you feel

There’s no doubt that you want to feel like a million bucks on your big day in paradise. You know what they say, “wear it like you own it”. There is no use finding a beautiful dress that looks sensational on the mannequin, but makes you feel uncomfortable or self conscious on the big day. The perfect dress will make you feel like you're on top of the world.

Don’t be easily swayed

It’s all part of the excitement to go wedding dress shopping with your bridesmaids or nearest and dearest, but don’t let their opinions sway your feelings on your dream dress. We all have different styles and different body shapes. If you have your heart set on a dress, follow your gut and take the plunge. If you have the luxury of time, sleep on it and come back tomorrow.

Accessorize, accessorize, accessorize

If you know what accessories you’ll be wearing then take them along with you when you go shopping, or ask the consultant to assist you with a veil or some accessories from the bridal shop. This could turn a simple style dress into the wedding dress of your dreams.

White gem crusted wedding cake


Traditional vs non-traditional

If you’re not a traditional gal, then forget traditional style dresses. You may have had your eye on a traditional style dress. That’s ok, you can always spruce it up with some non-traditional style alterations. This way you’ll get the best of both worlds.



Is there such a thing as perfect wedding dress?

You found the “perfect man”, so you’ll find the “perfect dress”. Look for the dress that makes you feel like never before. It's your BIG day!

Expert Tip: Any arrangement for transportation of a wedding dress to Jamaica should be discussed directly with your airline carrier.



The marriage certificate

Following your ceremony, you are given a copy of the marriage register which shows proof of marriage. This is signed by the marriage officer, yourselves and your witnesses (you don’t have to bring your witnesses with you, as this can be arranged for you). The marriage register is not a legal document and as such cannot be used to conduct any business!

With the signed marriage register, given to you by the marriage officer, you can obtain a copy of your official marriage certificate online through the Registrar General’s Department by contacting them at http://www.rgd.gov.jm/.


wedding couple on ocean rocks



Bonus: Sandals amazing wedding venues in Jamaica

Not set on a wedding venue yet? Pick the perfect Sandals Resort to celebrate your big day!

Over-the-water wedding chapel

Sandals South Coast overwater chapel

Sandals South Coast chapel interior

Pictures: Sandals South Coast over-the-water wedding chapel.

Available at:
Sandals Ochi
Sandals Montego Bay
Sandals South Coast

Beachfront wedding

Beachfront wedding in jamaica

Available at:
All Sandals resorts

Oceanfront gazebo

Beachfront wedding gazebo Negril Jamaica

Picture: The Sandals Negril beachfront Gazebo.

Available at:
All Sandals resorts

Garden gazebo

Beaches Negril garden wedding gazebo

Picture: Gazebo garden wedding with beach view at Beaches Negril.

Available at:
Most Sandals resorts

European garden wedding

European-Garden

Picture: European garden wedding setting at Sandals Ochi

Available at:
Sandals Ochi

Intimate resort chapel

Sandals Montego Bay Resort Chapel

Picture: The Sandals Montego Bay wedding chapel

Available at:
Sandals Montego Bay


Getting married in Jamaica at Sandals

Sandals Ochi resort and pools

If you can dream it, the Sandals team can make it happen for you! Getting married at any Sandals resort in Jamaica, gives you access to a full-service wedding boutique, made up of a team of professionals responsible for coordinating your wedding from planning to execution.

Below are just a few benefits of the assistance of a Sandals wedding planner:

  • Reserve accommodations, wedding date, and wedding time.
  • Gathering the documentation required by the local government to apply for your wedding license and marriage certificate.
  • Submit your application, documentation and mandatory fees to the local government office and deliver your marriage certificate to your home.
  • Schedule a local non‐denominational marriage officer to officiate your wedding.

"A wedding planner is the expert and usually takes on various roles during the wedding planning journey – inspirer, motivator, therapist, counselor, listener, and advisor. Depending on what you want during your journey, your wedding planner will be there as your direct guide and support."

  • Organize all of your wedding plans and communicate your wishes to your Resort Wedding Planner in preparation of your arrival.
  • Schedule onsite wedding consultations with your resort wedding planning team, which includes a Wedding Manager and your personal Resort Wedding Planner, on resort wedding photographer, and the Red Lane® Spa boutique hair and makeup stylists.
  • Setup of your customized wedding ceremony, wedding reception, and any additional reserved functions by your dedicated wedding team.

Black and white striped cake



Getting married in Jamaica FAQs

Are you legally married if you marry in Jamaica?

Yes, marriages that take place according to Jamaican law are legally binding, and are recognized in the United States as legal marriages. You should, however, inquire with your local government regarding name change procedures.

Important notice: If you do not live in the United States of America, your country may require the document to be legalized, in order for your marriage certificate to be accepted. In such cases, please contact the embassy which represents your government in Jamaica to have this done. The hotel or Marriage Officer can assist you in this regard. If your country does not have an embassy or consulate in Jamaica, please find out from the Ministry of Foreign (External) Affairs of your country.


What government fees will I have to pay, and when do you have to pay them?

If you are not getting married at a resort the main government fee you will need to pay is the stamp dutey for the marriage license application. This is roughly $4000 Jamaican dollars (JAM), approximately $50 US Dollars (USD), depending on the exchange rate at the time. This will need to be paid when you take the filled out application for the marriage license to the Jamaican Stamp Duty Office. The only other fee you could consider as a government fee is if you hire a marriage officer to preside over the marriage ceremony. Marriage officers can charge anywhere from $50 to $250 USD for their services. You will likely need to pay the marriage officer for their services prior to the ceremony.


What is a minister’s/marriage license?

A minister’s (marriage) license permits the marriage officer to perform the marriage ceremony and is valid for three months. The application is a same-day process.




What is a marriage certificate?

The marriage certificate is proof that the marriage has taken place and is issued after the marriage by the Registrar General’s Department. It should be applied for by the couple.

Applicants may visit the Registrar General’s Department’s website www.rgd.gov.jm or telephone +1 876-749-0550 or +1 876-619-1260 for further information on how to obtain your Marriage Certificate.




Is a blood test required to get married in Jamaica?

The islands of Jamaica, Antigua, Bahamas, Saint Lucia, Grenada and Barbados do not require a medical or blood test to be performed.

Oceanfront-Gazebo

Picture: Oceanfront Gazebo at Sandals Royal Caribbean.

The beach, the water, the breeze, and all the natural beauty that is the Caribbean is what makes Jamaica the perfect location for a destination wedding. Wedding planner or no wedding planner, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a more beautiful setting. Jamaica will truly embody all the characteristics of your perfect wedding day, and the beginning of your happily ever after.

Call Sandals’ bridal team on 1-877-726-3257 to start planning your own wedding Jamaica!


Disclaimer: All information on this article was correct at the time of publishing and may change at any time without prior notice. Sandals is not affiliated with the relevant authorities or their application centres and will not be liable for loss or inconvenience arising from the use of this volatile information. Please double-check all information provided with the relevant application centres, before making any final decisions.

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Kylie Morrow

About Kylie Morrow

Born on the tropical island that is Saint Lucia affords a never-ending source of inspiration. In the past 13 years, Kylie loved to work with various newspapers, magazines and blogs in the Caribbean.

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