St. Barth has relaxed its regulations a bit for couples dreaming of getting married in St Barth
St. Barth is the romantic capital or the world (albeit that I might be a bit prejudiced). We know a lot of couples who want to get married in this paradise. Who can blame them? Some couples want a Destination Wedding with 200 guests while others want to have a more intimate gathering. It used to be quite an ordeal with strict residency requirements before a bride and groom could even attempt to plan any type of legal wedding in St. Barth. Quit your job for 6 months and come here while you wait it out? Sounds wonderful but not very practical. Now with the relaxed regulations and a healthy dose of marriage equality, brides and grooms, brides and brides and grooms and grooms (have I missed anyone?) have a wealth of new options.
In the past we had to advise couples wanting to be married here that they needed to get legally married elsewhere and then they could “fake it” by having a wedding ceremony in front of their guests at a hotel, a private villa or at a church and those attending wouldn’t know any better. Most couples had a legal ceremony at home and kept it a secret. Many still do. BUT if you are looking for the real thing, a wedding in St. Barth, it can be done! It is not easy but it is simpler than before. Perseverance is the key. The best part? You do not have to wing it alone. Our Concierge in our St. Barth office, Magda Votava will assist you throughout the entire process and will become your Wedding Concierge.
We will also arrange accommodations for you as well as for your guests and enlist our service partners to assist with all the frills that go with the wedding too. Flowers? A vintage Fiat Spider for the bride and groom? Rehearsal dinner? No problem. Other activities? Our pleasure. Julia Hurd our Concierge in our US office will coordinate everything with Magda so as to ensure that your St. Barth wedding will be wonderful.
We organized a glorious, intimate family wedding for some quite famous Brits recently. I got to know the bride (Mary) so well during the planning of the event that she asked my husband and me to stand up for them as witnesses.
We started the process by selecting a villa where most of her guests could stay. Mary fell in love with Villa Sky so she planned the date of the wedding around its availability. (Returning guests have the first right to rebook their villa for the following year, so we had to wait for that period to expire before we could reserve it.)
Once the booking was made, we secured other villas and hotel rooms for the guests and the process began. Magda went to the Hôtel de la Collectivité (City Hall) and asked them to reserve the date of the marriage on their calendar and we asked the church to do the same. Magda gathered all of the documentation (See below) that would be necessary for the marriage to take place here in St. Barth. Mary did her part and sent everything to Magda when it was a little less than 6 months before the wedding. My husband and I had to give copies of our passports because we were to be the witnesses.
The official legal ceremony must take place at the Hôtel de la Collectivité. It is only open on weekdays so weekend weddings are not the custom in France. The date and time were set for a Thursday at 10:00 am. The church wedding took place at 4:00 pm that afternoon which worked out perfectly because Mary had time to get her hair styled in between events.
The wedding went perfectly as did the private dinner on the beach at the Hotel St. Barth Isle de France afterwards. I arranged for the newlyweds to spend their honeymoon night in an intimate pool suite at the Hôtel Le Toiny which they loved.
Would you like to get married in St. Barth? We are here to help you make that dream come true! When you call us, we will ask if you have a specific date in mind. It is best to wait until we discuss your needs and budget and give us a “ballpark” of dates that would work. Do you want a winter wedding so that your guests can escape the cold? A spring, summer or fall wedding would work too (and Value Season pricing would be in effect). We can then research options.
Once you set your date and have chosen your villa or hotel as well as the venue for the ceremony, we will get you booked and can secure some better rates in the hotels if your guests book multiple rooms. Then all you need to do is send a “Save the Date” invitation to your potential guests with my contact information or the contact information of one of our St. Barth Specialists with whom you are working and we will assist them with their accommodation, car rental and inter-island flights.
What to do:
As soon as you have set the date:
Magda will send a letter dated and signed by you and addressed to the civil registry on St. Barth requesting the wedding date you have chosen.
Six months (or less) but at least 30 days before the wedding:
- Official copies of the birth certificate (with the raised seal) for each person (issued and dated no more than six months before the wedding). Certificates issued by foreign authorities must be translated. (We can have them officially translated locally for you at reasonable rates.)
- Official copies of your passports. (If a visa is required for you to travel to St. Barth, the visa (or the request for a visa needs to accompany it).
- Last names, first names of your parents with date of birth, where they were born as well as their addresses and professions.
- Last names, first names, date of birth, where born, as well as their addresses, professions as well as copies of the passports of the two witnesses.
An officially accepted translator/interpreter of your choice needs to be there to ensure that the marriage ceremony is translated into your language so that you understand what is being said; this person’s name will be mentioned in the marriage documents. (We will do this for you.)
OTHER REGULATIONS FOR MARRIAGE THAT MUST MEET THE RULES OF THE CIVIL CODE
Legal age to be married: 18
Freedom of consent
You must both be present at the marriage ceremony.
Marriage between direct relatives (brother and sister, uncle and niece, aunt and nephew, etc.) is prohibited.
Prohibition of polygamy. Civil authorities must provide a document stating that neither person is married if your home state or country requires it. (Proof of divorce is necessary if married before.) Otherwise just present an official document stating that neither person is presently married.
Celebration of the marriage will be performed by a public official. (We will arrange that, too.)
Don’t get discouraged! St Barth Properties will assist you throughout the entire process. After you get this paperwork over with, you will be so happy that you took the time to do it. A Wedding in St. Barth is so worth the little extra effort it takes to make it happen. As Dean Martin sang, “Memories are made of this.”