Essential Documents Needed For A Destination Wedding

Marriage licence infoMany couples make the mistake of not researching what documents they will need when they travel overseas for their destination wedding.

They think that a passport, plane tickets, a second ID and confirmation for the hotel is going to be enough.

And if you were going on a regular vacation, that would be enough.

However, since you are planning a destination wedding, you will need some more additional documents to ensure that your event goes off without a hitch.

While every destination has their own lost of documents needed to get married, the most common ones are listed below.

List of Arrival and Departure Times For All Wedding Guests

Having a destination wedding is simple if your location is within the US. It’s when the location is overseas that wedding guests can get a bit nervous upon arrival. They don’t know what to expect, and may not be familiar with the language.

Do everyone a favor and make sure that you have everyone’s flight numbers and arrival information. Send a few members of your bridal party to greet guests at the airport.

Copies Of Your Wedding Agenda

While most common destination wedding locations have decent internet access, there are many that have spotty service or no service at all. Rather than rely on being able to print anything at the hotel, make copies of things like your wedding agenda ahead of time to hand out to guests.

Activities Information/Contracts

If you have booked group activities for guests, then make sure to have a copy of the contract, vendor information and directions to hand out to wedding guests.

Local Requirements

Did you know that Aruba needs a report with an “apostile” (special seal) from the bride/groom’s country of citizenship that proves their marital status/eligibility to marry. Know the requirements for getting married in your wedding location and make sure you have proper documentation several weeks before departing for the destination wedding.

Religious Requirements

If you are going to have a religious wedding, then make sure you know what documentation is require by the officiant. In this case, it is best to get help from the venue and the officiant that will marry you.

Certified Copy Of Birth Certificate

Some destinations require a birth certificate in order to obtain a marriage license. If you don’t have your birth certificate, you can get a certified copy from your state government. Here is the link.

Remember that guests attending your destination wedding have the same requirements so make sure to pass this information onto them as well.

Plane Tickets and Hotel Confirmations

Remember to take all plane tickets (e-tickets), and hotel confirmation information. The last thing you need at your destination wedding is a sold out hotel that has no rooms left for the bride and groom.

Copies Of All Vendor Information

Create a spreadsheet or just list all the vendors you are working with along with their telephone numbers, addresses, and email information. Once you are at the destination, you will need this information to get in touch. Make sure you take a hard copy with you in the case that internet access is spotty (or nonexistent) at your wedding location.

Copies Of All Vendor Contracts

Did you book 10 hotel rooms for your wedding party or 20?

Is this a question you want to be facing the day you check into the hotel?

Not likely. So make sure that you have a hard copy of all vendor contracts when departing for the destination wedding. This includes catering, florist, baker, photographer, ceremony and reception venues.

Did You Get A Wedding Insurance Policy

If you did, then make sure you bring this along with you. It will come in handy if your wedding is in a location that can be shut down due to weather (ex. during hurricane season in the Caribbean).

Divorce or Deceased Paperwork

If this is a second married due to divorce or due to the death of a spouse then you will need documentation proving this. Make sure you know what paperwork is required (if you need help figuring this out, look at the section of legal requirements for destination weddings) before you depart and have hard copies of everything.


Some countries (like Indonesia) require a visa to be issued before you travel. The state department website provides the latest information of which countries will require you to obtain a visa for a destination wedding. Here is the link to their website. None of the Caribbean islands or Mexico requires a visa, but you will need a passport to enter most of them.

Passport and Drivers License

This one is obvious. If you are planning a destination wedding outside the US, then you will need a valid passport (with at least 6 months left before expiration). If your passport is expired, then just re-apply at a nearby post office. The process to get one can be as long as six months so make sure you and your guests apply well ahead of the wedding.

Take along your drivers license in case you need to drive. It also does not hurt to have it handy as a second form of identification.

As you can see, it is best to be prepared with physical copies of all paperwork. You never know what you’re going to need so it’s best to be ready with a folder that contains all of the above.

What Should You Do Next?

Check out some great locations to have a destination wedding.

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