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Jamaica / Special Interests / Weddings & Romance

By Sara Macefield

Jamaica for Romance

Jamaica has plenty of ingredients for couples looking for a romantic interlude with scenic beauty, wonderful places to stay, rustic adventures and lots of reggae culture. The size of the island (it is the third-largest in the Caribbean) means there is much to explore, from the Blue Mountains and its stunning landscape of rivers and waterfalls to the rocky cliffs and expansive sandy stretches of Negril. This chilled resort is famous for its beautiful sunsets and the ideal place to spend long evenings with a rum punch in hand as the sky turns vivid orange. Alternatively, there are plenty of invigorating and fun ways to spend a few hours. Splash around in crystal clear and beautifully warm waters while climbing Dunn’s River Falls; take a mountain-biking trip through the Blue Mountains, stopping at waterfall pools to cool off; or gallop along deserted sandy beaches before plunging into the waves and swimming with your horse. Alternatively, sit back and enjoy the glide as you float gently along one of Jamaica’s rivers on a bamboo raft. Couples looking for lots of action can stay at one of the numerous lively resorts, while escapists can take their pick from the hip collection of small, chic hotels in Negril and scattered along Jamaica’s north coast.

The Hon. Edmund Bartlett is proud of Jamaica's position as one of the Caribbean's top destination for weddings and honeymoons. He tells Jane Anderson about some of the benefits of being married in Jamaica.

Wedding in Jamaica

Jamaica is a fantastically beautiful island and so it offers  myriad settings for a truly memorable wedding or renewal of wedding vows. Ceremonies, as simple or as elaborate as you like, can take place in a traditional church, on the beach, by a waterfall and rock pool, in a botanical garden, at your villa or on a boat. Most hotels offer wedding packages, and some have dedicated wedding planners that can tailor slightly to your needs. For villa weddings, you will need to check that the villa concerned is happy to accommodate wedding requests (some do not permit a large wedding reception or a live band for instance). You will also find that villas will generally require that their local manager or a local wedding planner is involved to supervise the event.

But then if you want to arrange something truly original then it is a good idea anyway to draw on local knowledge and experience. A wedding organiser can help you with the planning (most importantly making sure that your ideas are practicable to begin with) and then they can use their contacts to put together the best package according to your needs. Handing over to someone else can also remove all the stress from the day for you.

The services of a wedding organiser will include arranging the officiate, photographer, videographer and flower-arrangers, they might bring in outside caterers if necessary, and a vehicle to go away in (it could be a limo, yacht, helicopter, canoe or a donkey). They can also organise rehearsal dinners, cocktail parties, receptions and wedding dinners, even hen and stag parties if you want. Most importantly, they can do all the official paperwork. You can get married 24 hours after arriving in Jamaica;  however will need to apply for a marriage licence in advance. You hand the whole lot over to them.

It is best that you include your wedding plans at the same time as you plan your holiday. If you are booking via a tour operator, discuss your requirements with them before booking. Alternatively, if you are travelling independently, then you can get in direct contact with a wedding organiser on island.

Our recommended wedding organiser in Jamaica is Glamour DMC which has a dedicated wedding department within their other services as a local organiser and ground- handler. A member of the Association of Bridal Consultants, they have a number of packages, but they can also tailor-make to your requirements. They are based in Montego Bay but are happy to arrange weddings as far afield Dunn’s River Falls, Negril or Oracabessa.

A basic “Simply Jamaican” wedding package with Glamour DMC costs US$1,500 and includes the following. The arrangements for your marriage licence can be made in advance:

Personal on-site wedding planner who will meet you as soon after arrival as wished required to discuss all points and finalise details:

Marriage licence
Marriage officer (non denominational church minister)
Wedding cake with one tier
Bottle of champagne
Bridal bouquet (tropical blooms)
Groom’s boutonniere
Taped/CD music for the ceremony
Photo album with 36 shots (4” x 6”) with negatives
Obtaining registered copy of Marriage Certificate
Two witnesses are required on the wedding day, and will be provided if necessary

This package can be tailored to suit, and covers a garden or beach on hotel property. Church weddings and other off- property weddings carry additional charges.

At all times you will have the full services of the wedding planner, who will accompany you throughout your wedding procedures, having taken care of requirements prior to your arrival.

Glamour DMC also offers two more wedding packages: the “Jamaican Fantasy” which includes a violinist or flautist for the ceremony which will be video taped, and a wedding gift; and the “Ultimate Jamaican” which includes a keyboard player for the ceremony, a two- tier cake, two bottles of Champagne, a three- course dinner for the wedding party, limo transfer, DJ for a three- hour reception, a private cruise for the couple and a wedding gift.

Glamour DMC can also arrange Renewal of Vows Blessings.

Legal requirements for getting married in Jamaica:

You can get married 24 hours after arriving in Jamaica as long as you have already applied for a marriage licence through the Ministry of National Security. This takes about four weeks and can be arranged on your behalf by a wedding planner. The following are the requirements and certified or original documents (in English) must be submitted when applying for the marriage licence:

Full names of the bride and the groom (first, middle and last names).

Full names of the mother and father of the bride and the groom first, middle and last names).

Proof of citizenship - original or certified copy of Birth Certificates for bride and groom.

Occupations of the bride, the groom and both sets of parents.

If divorced, original or certified Decree Absolute papers must be produced.

If widowed, the original or certified copy of the former partner’s Death Certificate must be produced.

If either party is under 18 years of age, written consent must be given by his/her parents.

Legal proof must be presented if either party has changed their name by Deed Poll.

Italians getting married in Jamaica have special requirements to ensure that their marriages are legally recognised back home, and French Canadians must provide both notarised English translations of their French documents and copies of the French originals.

Note that two witnesses are required for the actual wedding ceremony and can be provided by the marriage officer or wedding co-ordinator.

The cost of a wedding licence is J$4,000. The non-denominational Marriage Officer who performs the ceremony at your chosen location will charge a fee ranging from US$100 to around US$250 depending on the individual requirements or arrangements for the ceremony, e.g. location.

According to current Jamaican law, weddings must be performed before 6 pm.

Church weddings may have special requirements requiring documentation from your church or certain arrangements, depending on your denomination. In the case of Roman Catholics, for instance, a letter from your priest at home is required to prove that you have received marriage counselling.

Do think about the time of day you are hoping to get married, and what you are going to be wearing. Is it practical or comfortable to choose full- blown traditional attire and high heels? What about your guests? Does getting sand in your shoes bother you? Most weddings take place late afternoon to avoid the heat and to get sunsets photos in. Think about the practicalities of what you want to do and how it will affect the enjoyment of the event.

Weddings in Jamaica by: Deana Bellamy, James Henderson

Recommended accommodation view more

  • The Caves Boutique/Small Hotels & Inns

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  • Coyaba Beach Resort & Club Boutique/Small Hotels & Inns

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  • Half Moon Hotels & Resorts

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  • Jamaica Inn Boutique/Small Hotels & Inns

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  • Moon Dance Villas Villa & Condo Resorts

    A small villa resort on an excellent stretch of Negril beach. Hidden among the greenery are just six villas - with between one and five bedrooms. Read more

  • Rockhouse Hotel Boutique/Small Hotels & Inns

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  • Round Hill Hotel & Villas Hotels & Resorts

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  • Sea Haven Villa Villas & Villa Living

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  • Strawberry Hill Boutique/Small Hotels & Inns

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  • Silent Waters Villa Villas & Villa Living

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Browse Weddings & Romance on other islands

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Or read our other island guides

Anguilla | Antigua | Aruba | Bahamas | Barbados | Bermuda | Bonaire | British Virgin Islands | Cayman Islands | Cuba | Curacao | Dominica | Dominican Republic | Grenada and Carriacou | Guadeloupe | Haiti | Jamaica | Martinique | Montserrat | Nevis | Puerto Rico | Saba | St Barthélemy | St Eustatius | St Kitts | St Lucia | St Martin/St Maarten | St Vincent and the Grenadines | Tobago | Trinidad | Turks & Caicos Islands | US Virgin Islands

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Looking for inspiration?

  1. Sample some fiery jerk chicken or pork at one of the many stands in Boston - the home of jerk 
  2. Take a tour of Appleton Estate, Jamaica's oldest rum producer
  3. Spend the day exploring Dunn's River Falls & Park
  4. Enjoy a round of golf at one of Montego Bay's five, 18-hole courses
  5. Immerse yourself in local culture and pay a visit to the Bob Marley Museum in Kingston

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