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Ceremony - Legal or Symbolic?

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#1 sillafeliz

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  • 105 posts

    Posted 04 July 2012 - 11:16 PM

    Hello DR Brides!


    Just wondering if you could all help a girl out and give me some opinions.


    At the moment, our flight is booked and we are just in talks with our resort (Melia Caribe Tropical) about the wedding ceremony. One thing I am struggling with is whether to get married legally in Canada before we travel south, or to have the legal ceremony down there.


    I have always thought that I don't want two weddings, and I would hate for our guests to come south with us to a 'fake' wedding. However, the judge may not be available on the day we want our wedding (its a Saturday)...and the paperwork and cost associated with having documents translated would be a huge hassle.


    What is everyone's thoughts? What are you doing?



    #2 Lala32

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    • 43 posts

      Posted 05 July 2012 - 08:41 AM

      Hi!  I struggled with the same thing however we decided to do a symbolic and will get married probably the week before at home. 


      There were a few reasons - the first two being the more important:

      - the cost and effort to translate everything into spanish (including divorce papers as we were both previously married)

      - we'd be at the mercy of the judge's availability.  I am a little flexible with an hour or two before or after my preferred time but to run the risk of him only being available in the AM or some other inconvenient time, wasn't worth it to me

      - getting married legally at home would ensure that it is in fact legal and there will not be problems down the road


      Just seemed easier to split it up, although I agree, the thought of having 2 weddings is odd to me but FH and I decided that we would go to city hall, have a nice dinner after but not make a huge deal out of it.  We wouldn't exchange rings until the 'symbolic' in DR and we'd recognize the symbolic as our wedding day. 

      #3 maridr2012

      • Jr. Member
      • 251 posts

        Posted 07 July 2012 - 07:33 AM

        I'm on the same page as LaLa32. Although we neither of us is divorced, I just didn't want to take the risk of having the judge not be available and having to do a "symbolic" wedding by a resort employee in front of our guests, and then have to sign the legal papers the morning of, day after, or whenever he'd be available. Plus, all the extra costs to do the paperwork and the hassle was just too much, and I've read some brides saying they didn't get their legal docs back from the registry (the judge takes it to the DR registry office for it to be recorded) until several weeks later. I'm actually Dominican - well, born in US but both my parents are from there and even they told me not to bother with it. So, we are legally getting married in NYC at City Hall a few weeks before we leave to DR. Just us 2, our witness will be the clerk, we won't exchange rings and probably just have a nice lunch in a cafe afterwards. We aren't telling anyone about it only our parents and they know not to ruin it by sharing with others, it's our secret. We are having a religious symbolic ceremony performed by a pastor in DR in front if our guests. Nobody will know the difference and it will be just as special.

        #4 JasminB

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        • 32 posts

          Posted 17 July 2012 - 06:40 AM

          I agree We are doing th same thing, we went back and forth but with the cost we are getting married at home and having a religious symbolic ceremony in DR. its the most affordable plus no one has to know unless you tell them.

          #5 safety75

          • Jr. Member
          • 287 posts

            Posted 17 July 2012 - 07:57 AM

            I am getting married in Mexico and planning to sign the papers in the US the week before we leave and then have a symbolic wedding there.  It will be the same to me as we plan to not say vows, kiss, etc.  I'm not telling anyone though unless they ask. The cost and loopholes you have to jump through (blood tests, be in the country 4 business days) to do it legally in Mexico is ridiculous in my opinion. 

            #6 johnm

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            • 19 posts

              Posted 20 July 2012 - 08:43 AM

              We went the full legal route down in the DR and we are glad we did. It was some paperwork and definitely added expenses but we wanted the same thing - one wedding in the DR. Now we did meet with the judge to sign the marriage license and swear before him the afternoon before but to us that was the legal/paperwork side. It wasn't a ceremony really we met with him and our wedding coordinator (and two witnesses) in their offices to "sign the book" and make it legal. Even in the US you have to sign the marriage license to make it legal and that really isn't done during most ceremonies. 


              If you want to do the full legal thing in the DR go ahead and do it. Just be prepared to wait for your paperwork to be processed. We got married at one of Melia's sister resorts and we got our marriage license yesterday and were married on June 7. We were prepared to wait longer so we're happy.


              Any questions I can help with glad to - I'm in the US so it might be a bit different but basically everything they need in the DR is the same.

              #7 alij

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              • 10 posts

                Posted 23 July 2012 - 02:43 PM



                If you don't mind I have a couple of questions as I am going through the same dilema.  I would really like just one ceremony more just to have the one same legal date really.  But how easy is it to get all the papers translated and notarised here in the US.  As it is second time for both of us we also will have to get divorce papers done too.  Just not even sure where I would start with all that.  I know wedo.com provide that service but I am guessing it adds a fair amount to the cost.  Do you mind me asking how much the translating notarising here in the US cost?  Sol Melia is one of the hotels I am leaning towards, that or Dreams La Romana.



                #8 johnm

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                • 19 posts

                  Posted 23 July 2012 - 04:42 PM

                  We didn't use Wedo but I don't think their fees are all that bad. I would contact them for a quote. We're in the NY area so I was able to go into the Dominican Consulate in NYC to do everything ourselves. Here's what you're going to need.


                  1. Statement of Single Status - notarized (cost depends on the notary but maybe $10 per?)

                  2. Official Birth certificates

                  3. Official divorce documents


                  4. All of the above (1-3) will need Apostilles from the states where they are from (if it's different than where you live now) - an Apostille is basically the state's official certification that these documents are legal and valid for international legal purposes - these generally cost us about $30-$40 per document


                  5. Once you have all these documents you will need to have them translated and certified by the closest Dominican Consulate and in NYC that cost us $80 per document but I believe the fees vary by consulate office. Here's a web link with the Consulate offices - if you don't have an office nearby, you might want to consider WeDo or call the closest office to see how you can do it by mail


                  Plus you will want to ask the resort what their fees are associated with a Civil Ceremony as they are higher than a symbolic ceremony.


                  Hope this helps get you started. Let me know if you have any more questions.

                  #9 sillafeliz

                  • Newbie
                  • 105 posts

                    Posted 16 December 2012 - 07:28 PM

                    Well Ladies,

                    Months later and we now have a decision...we're going to do our legal ceremony in Canada and the symbolic in DR. Although I didn't want to have two weddings and was completely against it in the beginning, I found a way that I would enjoy having two. My FI's grandparents' 60th wedding anniversary is two days before we leave for the DR, so we are planning on honouring them by legalizing it on their wedding day. Which also means we will open up the legal ceremony to parents, grandparents, siblings and niece & nephew...but that's not a whole lot! LOL

                    Thanks for your opinions and info!


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