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Was your wedding a fake? Toronto Star article

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Elmvale, Canada
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Was your wedding a fake? Toronto Star article

Interesting article in the Toronto Star this morning (copy and paste in your browser):

www.thestar.com/News/GTA/article/304763

Or here it is:

Bride asks if Dominican wedding was a fake

Local couples fear they may have been duped in fake wedding scam in Dominican Republic

Feb 19, 2008 04:30 AM

Prithi Yelaja

Staff Reporter

Amanda Kusick and Ryan Greene of Toronto got married on an island paradise in the wedding of their dreams – but the aftermath is shaping up to be a potential nightmare.

Against the backdrop of a tropical sunset, dressed in an ivory strapless gown and flip-flops, Kusick exchanged vows with Greene last October as a local judge presided in Spanish. It all took place in the garden gazebo at a resort in the Dominican Republic.

They signed the registry in front of 14 friends and later retired to the honeymoon suite. The trip cost $6,000, including the $2,000 wedding package.

Every detail was perfect, except one – their wedding may have been fake, part of an elaborate scam in which bogus officials are suspected of colluding with hotels to swindle foreign couples.

"We wanted a simple beach wedding. The weather was beautiful. Everything went off without a hitch. Now to think that it might not even be valid is absolutely devastating. Was it all a farce?" asked Kusick, 32.

"I'm just hoping I'm overreacting because, if I'm not, it was just a big fancy party and I was a pretend bride."

More than 200 Canadian and British couples who tied the knot at resorts in eastern Dominican Republic may not be officially married, investigators there say.

Four employees of the government office that oversees civil marriages have been detained though no charges have yet been filed. A probe started after the office received requests for marriage certificates not listed on the books.

Dominican Republic consular and embassy staff in Ontario could not be reached yesterday because of the Family Day holiday.

It's not clear which resorts were involved but all appear to be in the Punta Cana region.

Kusick was among several people who contacted the Toronto Star after the story broke Sunday, frantic to find out more details. All were still waiting for their marriage certificates to arrive; many were too embarrassed to have their names published.

"My wife, though she could still be my fiancée, is a wreck" since hearing the news, said one man. "It's a shock, especially since I have to find out in a newspaper instead of someone calling me from down there."

All told similar stories, of online research and friends' recommendations leading them to Punta Cana, of mailing documents, including passport and birth certificate copies, to the Dominican consulate in Toronto or embassy in Ottawa, and of resorts with busy, well-oiled and lucrative wedding operations.

The couples each paid $455 in registration fees.

Kusick was told her marriage certificate from Oct. 26 would arrive in eight to 12 weeks. Calls and emails to her wedding planner have gone unanswered.

John Bayliss and Liza Taylor of Milton married July 10 at a different resort and, seven months later, they are also still waiting for a marriage certificate.

"I'm still hoping that things are just delayed and our wedding was legitimate," Bayliss said.

"There were 26 people in our wedding party. If this wedding was a sham, all of us got duped. The worst part is not knowing," he said, adding his wife is upset and in a state of disbelief.

Matthew Lalonde and Charlene Marleau of Ottawa are more nonchalant at finding out they may not be married, despite having a ceremony Nov. 1 at a beach hotel.

It's just one more wrinkle in a trip down south that included landing in a hurricane and lost luggage.

"It was a time to remember all right," said Lalonde with a chuckle.

"We're not freaking out over it or anything. It's just a piece of paper right?"

With files from Philip Mascoll and Associated Press

Calgary, Canada
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1. Re: Was your wedding a fake? Toronto Star article

I don't think I would be 'freaking' out if the weddings do in fact turn out to be 'fake' - but I would sure be looking for a refund.

Basingstoke
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2. Re: Was your wedding a fake? Toronto Star article

I'm not saying that the claims are fake otherwise why would the authorities detained some of the goverment staff .. dunno .. lets see what comes out of that..

BUT I must say that just because they have not recieved their marriage certificate yet does not mean the wedding was a fake....

In fact it was announced that the reason why there was a Delay in the processing of marriage certificates is because in the Summer the was a change of Judges? add to that that after a marriages takes places the papers have to be send to the Capital to further process them there?

(this is what I was told by WEDO)

so who knows whats really going on..

but one thing I know the process of getting married there is a pain.. too much burocracy.. hopefully its time to amend the sytem and make it more foreign friendly as DR has become such a popular destination for idillic caribbean weddings it simply does not make sense to have to go through all the translating and having such a limited amount of judges to perform the ceremonies and also the wait of 3-6 months seems to be a turnoff to many couples to be..

Toronto, Canada
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3. Re: Was your wedding a fake? Toronto Star article

I am a destination wedding coordinator in Canada and I help couples with wedding in The Dominican Republic and Mexico.....

Legal wedding information in Punta Cana

ALL WEDDINGS ARE LEGAL, registration will not will not affect the validity/legality of the ceremony"

To the best of my legal knowledge"

Many of the weddings celebrated BEFORE

October 2007 back to July 2007 were not registered because the former Judge's assistant disappered with the money the resorts had already paid for obtaining the Wedding certificates.

All resorts paid again and the new Judge is the One in charge of registering old and new certificates.Couples must be patient as the process is taking longer than usual because of the back log of certificates.

ALL WEDDINGS ARE LEGAL, registration will not will not affect the validity/legality of the ceremony"

The wedding will be registered, and this story "well" very disturbing and shocking is the media taking a bad situation and makeing it worse by blowing things out of proportion.

These couples are married,they have signed the legal register and there doccuments will be registered.

Terry

BBint

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4. Re: Was your wedding a fake? Toronto Star article

Thanks Terry. I am sure that is a BIG relief to alot of young wives out there.

Toronto, Canada
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5. Re: Was your wedding a fake? Toronto Star article

This is for the reporters hounding the many forums today looking for a story. I have written this on another travel forum and I will also print it here.

Directed towards a Canadian news reporter who I will not name

Its people like you and other reporters who cause mass histeria to couples who will not have anything to worry about. Thousand of couples have been getting married in the Dominican Republic for over 15 years now and this is the first incident of corruption.

While this incident is extreamly upsetting lets not make it worse then it already is. the new Judge is the One in charge of registering old and new certificates.

Couples must be patient as the process is taking longer than usual because of the back log of certificates

I will again repeat """ALL WEDDINGS ARE LEGAL, registration will not will not affect the validity/legality of the ceremony"

The government has the certificates and is fixing the problem. The weddings performed will be registered. Please do not ruin other future couples dreams of their Spectacular beach wedding because you need a story of sensationalizum...........

I was married in the Dominican republic 3 years ago and our Wedding is compleatly legal. I also have a company who helps couples get married in The Dominican Republic and all of our couples ARE LEGALLY MARRIED..

With respect

Terry

BBInt

Baltimore, Maryland
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6. Re: Was your wedding a fake? Toronto Star article

Terry...Honey thanks for you love and support for all of the Brides!!!

Its your tireless efforts and love that shine through....

Thanks for coming on have calming the fears for the newly weds...

Hugs,

bb/mt

Basingstoke
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7. Re: Was your wedding a fake? Toronto Star article

Bravo Terry Bravo!....

Uhmm maybe someone should write something on the same lines for reporters looking for a story also on the Issue of Malaria that has been doing the rounds

los angeles
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8. Re: Was your wedding a fake? Toronto Star article

Thanks Terry for the clarification :-)

Chester, United...
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9. Re: Was your wedding a fake? Toronto Star article

Is this not the same newspaper that printed the $25K stolen ring article???

Toronto, Canada
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10. Re: Was your wedding a fake? Toronto Star article

Actually flipflop you are correct..

Hey I guess reporters gotta make a living to eh!

Ter