When organising a wedding abroad, many people don’t realise the marriage ceremony may differ from those in the UK.
In most countries, it is possible to write your own marriage vows or get a wedding planner to create some for you. But the legally binding part of the vows can vary hugely.
Here’s a selection of what your clients might be saying if they marry overseas.
The idyllic Cook Islands are perfect for beach weddings, garden weddings and even formal church ceremonies. Couples can marry after spending just three days in the Cook Islands.
Here is a traditional Maori wedding poem translated into English.
My Endless Perfume
To you my endless perfume
The moment has come
For us to be as one
Before the almighty
I present you this ring
As my sacred gift to you
Today, and forever more
During the ceremony the bride and groom exchange two red roses, which symbolise their love for each other.
Sample package:Kuoni offers seven nights’ bed and breakfast at the five-star Crown Beach Resort Cook Islands in May for £1,567 per person, including flights and transfers. A wedding package leads in at £323 per person.
Marrying in Cyprus is popular and the vows don’t vary dramatically from those in the UK.
The bride and groom both say: “I call upon all persons here present to witness that I accept you as my lawful spouse, to love and share with you as from this day, moments of joy and sorrow, wealth and poverty, happiness and unhappiness, throughout our life until death do separate us.”
The marriage officer adds: “This marriage constitutes the fulfilment of your life and links your destinies on good and rainy days.”
The administration fee for the wedding is £200. Extras including flowers, 24 photos in an album, a 30-minute video, cake and champagne, cost £469. Clients can ride to Paphos Harbour in a horse and carriage for £346.
Greek weddings begin with the minister asking the bride and groom if they are happy to “enter into the bonds of marriage”.
He adds: “In common are the duties and the rights of both of you to take care of the growth and education of your children so they will become useful, good citizens and free personalities.”
The groom says: “I will love you as your husband, your lover and your friend, so help me God, one day at a time.” The bride repeats a similar speech.
Planet Holidays managing director Mathilde Robert said: “Most people like the vows but one couple wanted to change the part about the upbringing of their children, perhaps because they didn’t want kids or were unable to have them. They can be amended.”
Sample package:Libra Holidays offers a wedding ceremony at the Santo Winery, in Santorini, with 14 nights at the Panorama Studios in Fira in May 2008 from £4,447 per couple for a bronze wedding package (50 photographs, bouquet of roses, single rose buttonhole, wedding car and sparkling wine), flights and transfers.
An additional £27 per document is charged for the translation of birth certificates, certificates of no impediment and a wedding certificate.
If your clients want a unique wedding with a tailored set of vows, consider selling San Francisco. Kuoni offers the sevices of personal wedding coordinator Kate Talbot, who talks in depth to every couple and then writes them a set of vows.
Couples can marry at famous landmarks such as Golden Gate Bridge, Baker Beach or the Japanese Tea Gardens. The US was Kuoni’s fourth most popular destination to tie the knot in 2007.
Sample package:Kuoni offers a wedding package in San Francisco for £896 per couple, including ceremony, celebrant’s fee, licence, champagne, cake, 36 photographs and a CD and transfers. This package is also available as a commitment ceremony for same-sex couples, although it is not legally recognised.
In Mauritius, wedding vows are a chance for the couple to state how they want their personal goods to be disposed of in the event of divorce or death.
Vows can vary widely according to individual registrars. Elite Vacations said that one couple got upset when they had to pledge to share all their property and possessions, which they weren’t happy to do.
Sample package:Elite Vacations offers seven nights’ all-inclusive at The Maritim hotel for £1,549 per person between May and July 2008, including flights and transfers. A wedding package costs £298 and includes all legal and administration requirements.
Sri Lanka was Kuoni’s number one wedding destination this year, attracting couples with its rich culture, beautiful beaches and abundant wildlife.
Kuoni senior wedding coordinator Fred Harrison said: “Sri Lanka is the place to go for a memorable wedding. It’s good value for money and you can twin it with the Maldives for a honeymoon.”
The vows are fairly similar to those in the UK, but the registrar’s address is sterner when it comes to breaking the vows.
The registrar says: “If either of you before the death of the other shall contract another marriage before the former marriage is thus legally dissolved, you will be guilty of bigamy and be liable to the penalties attached to that offence.”
A wedding package is £620 per couple, including hairdressing, a 30-minute spa treatment and an elephant to greets the couple on arrival.
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