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In order to get married in England, there is a residency requirement of seven days before you can apply for a certificate to get married. You must apply for a certificate at the Superintendent Registrar's office after giving the office notice (residency of seven days must be prior to giving notice) and waiting 21 days. So, there is a 28 day period total where the couple must reside in England before the actual ceremony date. Both parties must be 16 or older to get married (parental approval is needed for ages 16-18) and they must present their passports or birth certificates as proof of age. Weddings must be performed at a place that is approved for marriages as of the Marriage Act of 1994. Weddings for non-English citizens are usually civil in nature, as in order to be married in the Church of England you must reside in their parish.
There are relatively few requirements for getting married in Italy. There are just three documents required for your marriage here:
- The Atto Notorio, which requires that you meet in front of the Italian Consulate and declare your marital status.
- Your birth certificate and passport (translated into Italian).
- The Apostille, which can be done by mail, which is a seal by the Notary Public of the State that indicates the paperwork is valid in a foreign country.
- The Nulla Osta, which must be done in Italy three days before the wedding - this document is your final declaration that you are free to marry. Keep in mind that a woman must have been divorced more than 300 days before she can legally remarry in Italy, and that you will need copies of any divorce decrees or death certificates if applicable.
Europe has much to offer the couple who wants a destination wedding. From the castles of France and the United Kingdom, to the sunny shores of Spain, there are many different settings available to couples wanting a European wedding. Although Europe may seem like a natural choice for your destination wedding, many of the countries here do have strict legal requirements for getting married while in their settings. Some of the loosest requirements are in England and the island of Gibraltar off the coast of Spain.
Perhaps the most difficult part of getting married in France is the legal requirement. You must reside in France for 30 days before declaring the “banns”, and then there is another waiting period of 10 days while the marriage banns are posted. All weddings in France must be performed civilly (a religious ceremony can be performed after), and they must take place in the “mairie” or City Hall. In addition, there are a few documents you must present in order to get married: your passport, birth certificate (certified), certificate of celibacy which must be signed before an American Consular Officer in France, an affidavit of Law stating you are legally able to wed (must be done by an attorney who can practice in both France and the US), a medical certificate, and proof of domicile (to show you've been in France long enough). If both members of the couple can meet these requirements, then you'll be able to have that dream wedding in France!
Choosing to get married in Europe can make for a unique wedding. Whether you want to get married in the idyllic countryside of France, or the bustling city of London, a destination wedding in Europe can be a great choice for couples wanting something different for their ceremony. A wedding in Europe can be made even more special by choosing a country that's related to one or both sides of the family. Weddings in Italy and Spain are full of romance and festivities that may not be seen in the US. As long as you make sure to study the legal requirements of the country you're headed for, and plan your wedding well in advance (start reserving rooms and travel arrangements at least nine months before the wedding date), a wedding in Europe can be a great choice.
When traveling to Europe for your destination wedding, there are many more things to consider when booking your accommodations. Rooms here are often smaller and more expensive than their US counterparts, especially around large cities such as Paris and London. Another issue can be finding a block of hotel or resort rooms at one location - hotels and other inns are usually not as large with many guest rooms as they are in other parts of the world. Therefore, you may have to book accommodations for your wedding guests at several different properties. There are also not as many all inclusive wedding options in Europe, so you will benefit greatly from hiring a wedding planner to help you with all of your arrangements. Booking your rooms through a wedding planner also has the effect of getting lower rates than what an individual may receive, so it's very advisable to retain a planners help.
One way to streamline your wedding travel and also have a European-influenced wedding is to get married on a European cruise. One cruise line that offers wedding packages on their cruises to Europe is the Holland America Line. With this cruise ship company, you can choose to get married on board the ship, at your original port in the US, or at port in Europe. Holland America offers the use of their wedding planners to make your ceremony special, and also bundles amenities such as flowers, cake, champagne and other wedding specialties with their wedding packages. The cruises through this line stop at ports in Eastern Europe, Western Europe or the Mediterranean, so you'll be sure to find a cruise route you'll enjoy. Plus, with the all-inclusive format of a cruise, all of your wedding guests will be able to plan their trip easily. Contact the cruise line directly to find out requirements for getting married at sea or at port in Europe, as the legal requirements may differ depending on your choice.
Some areas of Spain have a residency requirement of two years, meaning that one of the parties getting married must have lived in Spain that long before the wedding can take place. Other parts of Spain have a less lengthy 21 day residency requirement, but in these cases, marriage applications can still take up to 45 days. You will need to complete an application form, show your birth certificate (translated into Spanish), complete certificates stating that you're free to marry and showing your residency, and you must post the banns for at least 15 days prior to your ceremony. After these requirements are completed, you'll be able to have a Civil Marriage, or if you choose to do so, a Catholic ceremony. Only Catholic, Protestant, Islamic, Jewish and Civil marriages are legal in Spain. As of June 30, 2005, gay marriages are also legal in Spain.
Italy is a beautiful country, full of romance and history. Getting married in Italy can be a beautiful and memorable experience, no matter which area of the country you choose for your ceremony. While you can plan your wedding on your own, the language barrier can be a problem, so planners are often the way to go with a wedding in Italy.
You can get married in Rome or one of Italy's major cities, or a less crowded area like in the rolling hills of Tuscany. Here, among olive trees and vineyards, wedding planners can help you to get married in historic chapels and villas dating all the way back to the 15th century. The towns of Florance and Siena are among the many villages here that welcome couples who are getting married. Italy is full of different locations to make your destination wedding really special.
The romance of England is well-known. Whether you think of the rose gardens at the palaces or Westminster Abbey, or the castles that are scattered across the countryside, England is known for its sense of history and beauty. The best months to marry in England are from May to September, as this is when the climate is nicest there. In England, wedding settings are only limited by your imagination - you can choose to get married in the sight of Stonehenge, or on the cozy Isle of Wight. You could also get married in London or Leeds Castle, in Kent, is open to private weddings as well, for a truly authentic royal wedding experience. They offer the use of a wedding butler, as well as the choice of The Library, Dining Room, Gate House, and Terrace as their wedding settings. Other services include flowers designed by the castle's florist, and 37 guest rooms for couples who want to stay with their guests at the Castle.
Just as French is considered the language of love, France itself is considered the country of love. Paris is known as one of the most romantic cities on Earth, and the French countryside is home to many quaint towns, castles and vineyards. If you'd like to get married in Paris, you have your choice of beautiful settings. In the area surrounding the Bastille, and the quarter known as Marais, there are many different mansions, cafés and hotels that offer their services to couples wishing to get married. Many of the area's destinations offer wedding packages and the services of wedding planners, such as the Hotel du Nord and many restaurants in the Ile St. Louis. If you prefer the countryside, the area of Provance in France offers vineyards, tiny villages and other historic areas in which to hold your charming French wedding.
Deciding to get married in Spain gives you many different choices of venue and atmosphere. From the city of Madrid to the shores of Marbella, there are enough different settings to satisfy all sorts of wedding needs.
Barcelona is a great option for those who want the climate and style of a beach wedding, along with the beauty and culture of Europe. Having your wedding in Spain also gives you the opportunity to add Spanish culture into your wedding ceremony and reception - such as having tapas (small plates of food meant for sharing) as your reception meal or offering the bride's bouquet in a church to the Virgin Mary. Wedding consultants in Spain often speak English, and are able to help with the translation while planning your day. Whether you choose to have a traditional Spanish wedding or just mix some elements into your own ceremony, you'll have a destination wedding to remember.