The other factor that took a lot of consideration is in which jurisdiction we would conduct our legal wedding. Often times, a beach wedding will be held in a different country than the country of origin of the couple which means you will have to decide where to conduct the legalities. What made it even more complicated for us is that we are not only from different countries, but different regions entirely. Also, given that we’re now living in a country (Singapore) that is different than both of our countries of origin (Netherlands and Indonesia) further complicated the situation.
This made it important for us to consider exactly in which jurisdiction we wanted to have our legal wedding. Marriage law can vary considerably and it is important that you do some research around this before you make an official decision where to tie the knot.
In our case, we really only considered three different options with regard to where to have our legal wedding. It was either going to be the Netherlands, Indonesia, or Singapore. The question then became, what did we feel the most comfortable with from a legal standpoint, which required a bunch of research on our part.
Does the Country Support Civil Marriage or Not?
One of the first factors that we looked into is whether the country supported Civil marriage. This was important for us given that both of us have different religions and it may therefore prove difficult to marry through a religious authority. This instantly ruled out Indonesia as an option even though this is where we had planned to hold our beach wedding and ceremony. In Indonesia, all marriages are conducted by a religious authority of an officially approved religion first, and only then are they allowed to be registered by the civil authority. Subsequently, this only left the Netherlands and Singapore as an option for us to choose from.
Does your Country Recognize Your Overseas Marriage?
If you are planning to get married in a country other than your own, the marriage will be registered in that country. The question will be whether the marriage in that country will be recognized by the law of the country where you live, or where you plan to spend your time. If not, you can run into all sorts of problems later on. In our case, our countries of origin are the Netherlands and Indonesia both recognize marriages from Netherlands, Indonesia, and Singapore so that left our options open. It is worthwhile confirming this with the local authorities of the country in question though.
What are the Marriage Requirements in the Country?
As we figured out when we started our research, every country has different requirements when getting married as well and some require a significant amount of preparation beforehand. We’re so glad that we took the time to research this for our legal wedding.
Just some of the things to take into account that we came across:
- Some countries require that the couple has been resident in the country for a specific period of time prior to marriage
- There may be a minimum age for the couple that is being married
- There may be a requirement to do blood test or other medical examinations
- Some countries require parental consent in order to get married
- Many countries require proof and documentation certifying the end of a previous relationship (if any) to be translated into the local language and authenticated
Why get married in a different location and on a different date than your wedding ceremony?
Again, this goes back to the point that we made before with regard to whether the laws of the country in which you are holding work for your personal situation and what you have in mind. In our case, as beautiful and as magnificent our beach wedding will be in Indonesia, the legalities around it didn’t really suit our needs. Some people frown upon getting married in advance of your “actual” wedding day, but we like to think it’s just being practical!
Ultimately, after doing the research it turned out that the most convenient was for us to get legally married in Singapore and that is what we have decided. The legality of it was fairly straightforward, and it would be easier for us from a logistical standpoint as well given that we already live there. We will be holding that well in advance of our actual beach wedding in Lombok, Indonesia so will be able to approach that free from the stress of all the legalities associated with an official marriage!