I got married in the US before my destination wedding. I also know personally some other brides who have done the same. If you want to make things easy for you and fiance this is the way to go. You save time and money in paperwork that is not necessaryly. If you decide to get legally married in Mexico most probably you will need to validate or register the mexican documentation in your country of origin anyways. Check with your local courthouse so you can decide what is best for you!
Here is a section of my book "fly to my wedding" about legalizing your marriage. I hope it gives you some insights..
Making It Legal
Please keep in mind this is not professional or legal advice, but is only for purposes of information and illustration. It is recommended to contact an attorney or your local courthouse for legal information.
Getting legally married is a quick and simple process. The truth is that it takes minutes to legally get married. Here is descriptive way to understand the steps.
Step 1: Go with your future husband to the local courthouse in your place of residence and fill out the marriage license. Some simple proof of identity and age needs to be provided. Please check with your local courthouse about the requirements, since they differ per state and country. This usually cost less than $100 in the United States.
Step 2: Then, you are given a marriage certificate. This is the document you will give to your officiant or person authorized by the U.S. law to marry you. Then the officiant, you and your fianc© sign it. This document is valid anywhere between 60 to 90 days, depending on your place of residence. If no one sends the signed certificate to the courthouse or registrarâ€™s office during the timeframe, then your marriage is not registered and you may appear like not married. In this case, you need to start the process all over again.
Step 3: Take the signed marriage certificate to the courthouse and register it. Thatâ€™s it...itâ€™s done and you are legally married.
Note: In some locales, once a marriage license is signed and filed with the county clerk, the license becomes the marriage certificate. In other cases you need to wait several weeks to get the marriage certificate by mail.
When you marry overseas, you donâ€™t have to sweat it about learning and complying with the destination country legal requirements. You can have the event in the destination of choice but donâ€™t have to comply with the local laws. In any case, even if you do everything to have a recognized marriage in both your destination and origin country, the truth is that the U.S. wonâ€™t recognize your marriage as legal until you register yourself and fianc©e and an accepted marriage certificate in your state of residence. Here comes the best advice you can get:
Get legally married at home either few days before you leave or after you return from your destination wedding. This way you save time, money (local fees) and avoid additional work with the local requirements.
Many couples decide on taking this approach because it is easy and simple. For the couples that decide to fly the officiant to the destination, you can bring your U.S. marriage certificate, so you sign it the day of your wedding. Keep in mind that the officiant needs to be authorized by the U.S. or your countryâ€™s law to marry you. Then, once you are back to your place of residence, do Step 3. Take it to the courthouse.
The Truth About Legalizing Your Marriage In The Destination Country
First thing you need to realize is that the legal requirements differ on a country-by-country basis. Some countries are pretty straightforward and easy; some others are more complex. Once you have decided on a country, the best sources to find information from are:
- The hotel that will be holding your event
- The destination countryâ€™s Consulate in your country of residency.
- The destination countryâ€™s tourist office
These organizations should be able to explain the process and provide the latest requirements.
Here is a list of some considerations you need to keep in mind when you decide on having a legal marriage in your destination country. This is a general list from different sources. Some countries are easier than others.
- Copies and translations of birth certificates, certificates of divorce and any other document required by the local officials
- Medical certificate with testing in V.D.R.L., (Syphilis), H.I.V (Aids) and RH (Blood Type). This certificate needs to done locally.
- Medical exams performed by local doctors such as: chest X-rays, blood work
- Period of residence requirement in the destination country
- Fee for the local marriage certificate
- Fee to pay for medical exams, paper work and officiant
TIP: The hotel you selected should be able to provide specific information about the legalities of their country.