THE LEGAL DEAL & OFFICAL STUFF
It?s easy to get married in Barbados once you bring the correct documents with you, as well as a breath of patience for the snail?s pace and sometimes confusing processing. Regulations are fairly clear-cut and do not require reams of paperwork.
Applying for the marriage license is made at the island?s Ministry of Home Affairs (246-228-8950), located on the fifth floor of the General Post Office in Cheapside, just on the outskirts of Bridgetown. You enter this building on the Bridgetown side.
You must bring your passport or birth certificate with picture ID as proof
of identity. If you have been married before, you will need the original or
a certified copy of your divorce decree (known locally as the decree
absolute) to confirm any prior divorces. Widowers will need both a
Certificate of Marriage and Death Certificate. If you are coming from a
non-English speaking country, the documents must have certified translations.
You must also present a letter from the officiant that will be conducting
the ceremony. This will be either a religious official, or for civil
weddings, a magistrate, whose letter will come through his or her district
THE CIVIL CEREMONY LETTER
In the case of a civil wedding you will need to go to the district court of
the parish you are getting married in to obtain the letter of intention of
marriage to present to the Ministry of Home Affairs. There may be a fee
depending on which magistrate you select to conduct the ceremony. Once you
have applied for the marriage license at the Ministry of Home Affairs, you
will need to return to the district court to register the marriage. Again,
depending on the magistrate you obtain, there may be a marriage fee of BDS
$100 (US $50) along with a BDS $25 stamp duty.
THE BOOK & WEDDING
Weddings can be conducted virtually anywhere in Barbados. Limitations on
venues exist purely on personal choice by the couple and or the officiant
conducting the ceremony. At the end of the ceremony a large book will
appear, seemingly from nowhere, and it is in this voluminous album that
your marriage will be officially recorded.
WHERE?S MY MARRIAGE CERTIFICATE?
The wedding over, all that is left is to get your marriage certificate.
This is obtained from the Registry Department, whose office is temporarily
located at 33 Roebuck Street in Bridgetown. The official location is in
Coleridge Street, Bridgetown (246-426-3461). The priest or magistrate who
conducted the wedding files the information (taken from the large book)
with the Registry and once it is recorded, you can apply to that department
for your certificate. There is a nominal fee and a few days? wait before
the certificate is ready. If you are leaving the island before the document
is ready, the Registry Department can forward your marriage certificate to
your home upon your request. If you leave Barbados before the marriage has
been recorded with the Registry, then you can simply write to The Registrar
of the Supreme Court, Coleridge Street, Bridgetown, to request your
Barbados has some 70 religions, embracing all elements of faith from Roman Catholic, Anglican and Jewish to Baha?i, Seventh Day Adventist and Pentecostal.
If you are planning a religious ceremony, you should contact the church of your choice to arrange for an official to minister the proceedings and if you also wish to be married in a house of religion. Many of the churches here will happily accommodate visitors in their wish to have a religious ceremony and can advise couples on appropriate religious venues within their faith.
Many churches often request fees or ?offerings? for officiating and/or use of facilities. Some churches and individual ministers may also request a period of counseling beforehand as well.
There is only one way to have a civil wedding in Barbados and that is through the Magistrate?s Court. Barbados operates under a primarily British system of officialdom and therefore, Justices of the Peace do not have the power to conduct weddings in Barbados. Only a Magistrate is empowered with that privilege.
The first thing you must do to arrange for a civil ceremony is establish which parish you wish to be married in. From there you contact the Magistrate?s Court of that parish to find out if there are any available magistrates operating from that parish.
You could wind up with a magistrate from another parish, in which case there is a bit more red tape involved, along with a few additional fees. But many magistrates are very accommodating and will happily oblige couples with their specific ceremonial requests. The actual part the magistrate plays is less than ten minutes long, so you have some latitude in planning your ceremony.
Most magistrates will not conduct a civil service after 6 pm in Barbados. So if you are planning a sunset wedding, you either need to ensure you are pronounced by 6 pm or, find a magistrate who will pronounce after that time. The official ?curfew? on marriages in Barbados, according to the Ministry of Home Affairs, is 9 pm. However, magistrates are not obliged to carry out any duties beyond 6 pm. And while many magistrates are of the belief that a marriage conducted after 6 pm is not legal, this information is incorrect. So for couples planning a sunset affair, feel confident your ceremony is legal in the eyes of Barbados law.