Getting married in Jamaica is very easy. Whether you're planning a big wedding or an intimate one, don't make decisions solely based on Internet sources or information from a planner or travel agent back home. Hire a local wedding coordinator who knows the lay of the land in Jamaica to ensure everything comes together as smoothly as possible. Most large all inclusive resorts have a wedding coordinator on staff. Most smaller resorts will be able to put you in contact with one in the area where you will be staying.

Basics:

* Waiting period: 48 hours which must include 2 days which include the day of arrival, weekends or holidays. For example: if you arrive on Friday you can be married on Sunday. However, most people arrive three or more days before the wedding to relax before the big day and take care of any remaining details.

* No blood tests are required.

* Apply and receive a Jamaican marriage license from the Ministry of Justice. You can call them at 1-876-906-4923 or visit them at 2 Oxford Road, NCB Towers 10th floor/South Tower, Kingston 5. Office hours are Monday to Thursday 9:00 A.M. to 5:00 P.M. and Friday from 9:00 A.M to 4:00 P.M. You can e-mail them at customerservice@moj.gov.jm. If you use a Jamaican wedding planner they will probably arrange for this for you.

* If you use a Jamaican wedding planner they will probably need to have all of the required documents (see below) 45 to 60 days before the wedding.

* There must be two witnesses present at the ceremony. You can provide your own witnesses or most hotels can provide them if required as can most Marriage Officers.

* Your marriage documents will be in English, which is a plus if you are a native English speaker.

* The marriage is legal in the United States as long as it is legally performed in Jamaica.

* Following your marriage in Jamaica, you will be given a copy of the Marriage Register which shows proof of marriage. This is signed by the Marriage Officer, yourselves and your witnesses. The Marriage Register is NOT a legal document. Its more like a receipt to say you got married. You must obtain a certified copy of your marriage certificate from the Registrar General's Department. If you use a Jamaican wedding planner they will probably take care of the registration and getting the marriage certificate to you.

* Couples receive a certified copy of the marriage certificate four to eight months ('months' is not a typo) after your wedding. For about US $50, you can take the Express Option and receive the certificate within four to eight weeks. You can contact the Registrar General's Department via e-mail at information@rgd.gov.jm or by telephone between 8:30 am and 5:00 pm Mondays-Fridays at 1-876-749-0550. Their main office is located at Twickenham Park, St. Catherine, but there are regional offices island wide.

Jamaica Marriage License Fee:  

Cost of the license is approximately US $75-$80 (depending on the exchange rate).

There are non-denominational Marriage Officers who can officiate either at their offices, in their homes or at a place chosen by the couple, and are able to provide witnesses. They are located in Kingston, Montego Bay, Negril, Ocho Rios, Port Antonio, etc. Marriage Officers charge anywhere from US $50 to US $250. Most hotels can put you in contact with one in the local area. 

Identification Needed for a Jamaica Marriage License :  

* Photo identification plus proof of citizenship (certified copy of birth certificate which includes father’s name).

* Certified copy of death certificate for widow or widower.

* Certified copy of divorce decree.

* Certified copy of adoption papers reflecting a name change.

* Certified copy of any other name change documents.

* Parental written consent if either party is under 18.

* Italian nationals must notify their embassy and have a certified copy of their marriage certificate forwarded to their embassy to be legalized and translated.

* French Canadians need a notarized translated copy of all documents and a photocopy of the original French documents.

* Any documents in any language other than English must be translated and the translations certified.

For more information call the Jamaica Tourist Board at (800) 233-4582, or see their web site: www.jamaicatravel.com. Also see the Ministry of Justice web site www.moj.gov.jm and that of the Registrar General’s Department www.rgd.gov.jm.

Resort Weddings:

Most of the major resorts in Jamaica offer wedding services. Many of the all-inclusive resorts claim they offer "free" weddings, but they usually charge around US $200 which they claim is for government fees. However, the actual government fees are around US $75-$80. Nonetheless, these packages are a great deal and your entire vacation including the wedding will be much cheaper that just a small wedding in the U.S. Some hotels may also have their own wedding requirements for the 'free' weddings, such as a minimum number of nights or rooms, minimum room category, etc. Check with your hotel for their specific requirements, if any. The larger resorts 'free' weddings are often rather basic and there often will be additional optional services offered at an additional charge. To get the best wedding package at the best price ask for price quotes from several resorts along with a list of included features in each wedding package. Compare the offerings at several resorts before booking a wedding as the differences in the packages, and the optional services offered, can be large. As a general rule, the larger the wedding party the more one will be able to bargain with a resort to receive the best value. If you stay at a smaller resort that has no wedding coordinator on staff plan on an extra fee for this service or you may need to use a third party wedding planning service not associated with the resort.

Getting married in Jamaica is a great way to have a wonderful trip, memorable wedding, and save a lot of money over a traditional wedding. The packages differ by location but often include processing of your paperwork, witnesses, officiant, lightly decorated site, a small cake and champagne reception, a bouquet and boutonniere, and some extras like massages or t-shirts. Most of these resorts are "wedding mills" of sorts, so you may be the fifth wedding performed that same day at that resort. The fact that these resorts perform so many weddings works to your advantage in many ways, the cakes and flowers are tried and true. This is truly a worry free way to get married. Due to the number of weddings these resorts have, you may have difficulty contacting the resort wedding planner ahead of time. She may not talk to you at all until you're actually in Jamaica. This is not the best place for brides who want to oversee every detail and may not want to "share" their day with other brides who may be seen on the same day. However, if someone wants a worry free, inexpensive wedding and honeymoon in paradise, this is the way to go.

The other alternative is to plan your own Jamaican wedding. Rent a private villa, hire a local wedding planner, and plan your own wedding.