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Destination Weddings – Is the marriage recognised in the UK?

There has been a surge in popularity in having a destination wedding. Guaranteed great weather, the picture perfect backdrop for the ceremony and quite often a trimmed down guest list. The question that often gets asked is whether marriages abroad are recognised in the UK.

  1. Your marriage should be recognised in the UK if you follow the correct process according to the local law of the country you get married in. To understand what the requirements are in the country of your marriage, you are advised to contact the embassy of that country.
  2. An overseas marriage cannot be ‘registered’ in the UK (rules may differ if you are part of the armed forces). If your wedding has taken place in one of the countries which the General Register Office (GRO) can accept formal notification,  a ‘record’ can be created for your overseas marriage by depositing the marriage certificate in the General Register Office. Contact the GRO (details below) to see which countries will accept formal notification.
  3. This ‘record’ can be created at any point after your marriage ceremony.
  4. In order to have your wedding certificate deposited you will need to contact both the British Embassy in the country you were married in as well as the GRO in the UK. When contacting these organisations, you will need to state that you wish to deposit your marriage certificate with the GRO.
  5. When contacting the embassy in the country of your marriage ceremony, you will need to provide them with a copy of your marriage certificate that will be authenticated and potentially translated by the local authority. The British Consular General will then forward this certificate to the GRO in the UK. All this maybe subject to a fee.
  6. Once the documents have been received by the GRO you will be notified. The documents are then held with the GRO. Should you need a copy of your certificate you can contact the GRO.

General Information on Marriages Abroad can be obtained by contacting either of the below organisations:

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Consular Division
King Charles Street
LONDON
SW1A 2AH
Tel: 020 7238 4567
Web : www.fco.gov.uk

Registering your Wedding

Marriages Section
General Register Office
Trafalgar Road
SOUTHPORT
PR8 2HH
Tel: 0151 471 4814
Web: www.gro.gov.uk

If you need assistance in understanding the legal requirements of getting married abroad, please contact info@theweddinglawyer.co.uk

A very quick legal guide to getting married abroad.

It is important to remember that the legalities surrounding an international wedding can be slightly more complex compared to a conventional UK wedding.

Here is our quick guide to getting married abroad:

  1. Documentation – Depending on which country you are planning to get married, you may need to provide certain documentation for your marriage. The information requirements can often vary from country to country. You are able to obtain guidance if you visit the Government Website (https://www.gov.uk/marriage-abroad). The website has a step by step guide to assist you in understanding your obligations as to documentation.
  1. Marriage certificate – You will not be able to obtain a British marriage certificate if you get married abroad. You can still have the marriage recognised in the UK, provided you comply with the local law of the country of marriage. (See Destination Weddings – Are they recognised in the UK?)
  1. Insurance – it is recommended that you take out suitable wedding insurance in the UK which will provide cover for the wedding in the country of choice. Before enrolling onto a policy, ensure you are clear on what the policy covers and what is excluded. Click here for more information about wedding insurance.  In the event that there may be an exchange of high value gifts at the international wedding, guests are advised to check that their travel insurance adequately covers the value of the gifts in the event that they are lost, stolen or damaged. Quite often, we have noticed travellers take out a generic insurance to cover them for the whole year. Therefore, if you are expecting a high valued gift at a destination wedding, ensure your insurance cover is adequate. If need be, consider upgrading your policy. Ensure the hotel / apartment can provide you with a safe big enough to fit any high valued gifts.
  1. Contracts – It is advisable to ensure that any contract you sign for a service being provided in another country contains a “jurisdiction clause” which states that the Agreement shall be governed and construed in accordance with the law of England and Wales. In the event of dispute, this will assist you in resolving the dispute by using the courts in England and Wales.

An example of the clause that should be inserted is as follows:

“This Agreement shall be governed by and construed in accordance with the law of England and Wales. Each party irrevocably agrees to submit to the exclusive jurisdiction of the courts of England and Wales over any claims or matter arising under or in connection with this Agreement”.

  1. Make provision for site visits before the big day – Where possible, aim to visit the venue at least once before the big day to gain an appreciation of the facilities which will assist in managing your expectations for the big day.
  1. Ensure suppliers are fully briefed about the wedding venue and facilities before entering into a contract – In the event of you booking suppliers from the UK, avoid entering any contracts until the suppliers have gained a full understanding of the venue. This may require them to speak with the management of the venue or in some cases going out for a site visit. Problems could occur where you have entered into a contract, only to find the contract price increases after your have committed due to additional equipment being needed which was not appreciated at the time of entering the contract.
  1. Have agreements and emails printed before your leave the UK – Much of the planning for a destination wedding will take place via email. Therefore, before departing the UK to the country of your wedding, ensure you have hard copies of all the agreements, itineraries and plans so you can ensure all agreements have been fully complied with. Do not rely on Wi-Fi or printers at your hotel to assist you in digging out such information once you have arrived at your destination.

For any more information about the legalities of getting married abroad – contact info@theweddinglawyer.co.uk

 

 

 

 

10 habits to prevent family feuds leading up to your big day

Wedding Preparations. Emotions run high. Expectations are not met. This is the perfect setting for an Eastenders episode. However, in binding two lovebirds in matrimony, it is important that other relationships remain as intact as possible. Yes, weddings can bring people together but on numerous occasions they have split people apart. Therefore, we have set out our 10 habits to prevent arguments between family and friends.

  1. It is not what you say, but how you say it.

Whilst you may not like some of the wedding ideas and suggestions by family or friends remember to control your reaction  when you are not agreement. Remember it is not what you say but the manner, tone and the words you use to communicate it.

  1. Form a committee of advisors

Any large project can benefit from a small team of advisors to assist you and your partner to sanity check ideas and plans for your big day. It is worth informally recruiting 2 or 3 trusted friends or colleagues (ideally not family) to act as a soundboard and to provide feedback on any plans/ideas you may have.

  1. List your nearest and dearest and allocate them a responsibility

Family and friends may have huge expectations when someone close to them gets married. Therefore, it is important to manage expectations as best as possible. Start off by creating a list of all the people who are close or who may communicate discontent if they are not involved on your wedding day. Then simply allocate these people with a responsibility before or on the big day. It doesn’t have to be a major role – it could be as simple as allowing them to be an usher. The aim is to make the important people feel included and enrolled on your big day.

  1. Address the elephant in the room

If you find that you have had a dispute or disagreement with a family member or friend about your wedding prep, do not ignore it. Also, avoid the silent treatment. When preparing for a wedding, every day counts and you simply cannot afford to waste planning days due to a disagreement. Aim to get to the centre of the issue as quickly as possible and find a way to resolve it.

  1. Couples come first

As you are the couple getting married, your wishes and desires must prevail over any pressures you may get from family and friends to do something in a certain way. Aim to gain clarity with your partner on how you would like to proceed with your wedding plans before taking on family members who may disagree with you. By being on “the same page” as your partner will give you the conviction and strength to stand your ground.

  1. Take regular breaks from Wedding Admin

Weddings are important but do not let them take over your life. Take breaks from planning and allow yourself to focus on our aspects of your life too. All too often, disagreements are a result of overworked and tired minds that are fixated on certain ideas associated with the big day.

  1. Create rules about guest lists from the outset

A ridiculous number of disputes arise from negotiating with family members about guest lists. From the outset, work out the maximum number of people you are looking to invite followed by setting rules about who makes the cut. Examples may include: not inviting anyone who hasn’t ever spoken to the couple, no long lost aunts and uncles or no work colleagues. By creating rules, this allows everyone to be on an equal footing. An alternative method is to provide each family member with an allocated number of guests they can invite. They are then free to invite anyone as long as they come within the allocation.

  1. Retreat from tradition and be creative

We are living in the 21st century. Your family may place pressure on you to adopt traditions and rituals. These are great but if they are likely to cause the couple to be unhappy, it is worth substituting tradition for a more modern and creative approach. E.g. putting the names of all the parents on an invitation card or forgoing a particular aspect of the traditional ceremony. Remember, a couple should be united on their approach if they decide to depart from a tradition or ritual as it is likely to be greeted with some protest from a family member.

  1. Have a leader to make the final decisions 

In the event of dispute or conflict, there needs to be a bold leader who will make the final decision in order to progress the wedding planning. This may well be the couple or a wedding planner but there needs to be someone who makes the difficult decisions to ensure disputes to not drag on.

  1. Finally, if all else fails consider getting married abroad!

It is fascinating how much simpler it can become when you decide to get married abroad. You can invite more people (knowing many will probably not attend) and a lot of your work could be outsourced to wedding planners in your host country meaning you are free to enjoy the wedding festivities leading up to the big day.