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What to Know Before You "Do" in Barbados

By Billy O'Dell

A gorgeous sunset sinks into the calm blue of the ocean. Gentle waves lap against the pristine shore. Light wind rustles your hair and the hem of your lovely bride's tropical-style gown. There's nothing more romantic than a wedding in Barbados, and though it may look simple to execute on television and in the movies, there are a few legalities to consider.

Before you say "I do," there are a few things you need to have in place. First, make arrangements for an authorised marriage officer, Minister of Religion, or Magistrate to perform the ceremony.

Next, you must apply for a Marriage Licence from the Ministry of Home Affairs in Bridgetown. The cost for this is Bds $150 (US $75) with a Bds $25 (US $12.50) stamp.

You will need to present your passports or original (or certified copies) of both of your birth certificates, which you will need anyway to come to Barbados. If either of you were previously married and widowed, an original (or certified copy) of your marriage certificate and a death certificate of the deceased must be presented. If either of you are divorced, the original (or certified copy) of the Decree Absolute must be presented. This is done to prevent fraudulant marriage.

We suggest using the services of an experienced wedding co-ordinator to help you with all of your planning and preparations. A wedding co-ordinator who is familiar with the sometimes quirky Barbados bureaucracy and will ensure a smooth and stress free ceremony. As for the reception, you always have the option of Food Affairs to unsure a delicious and romantic wedding dinner.

Once these legalities are secured, you are free to enjoy your wedding and Barbados honeymoon.

Billy O'Dell, with his wife Carolyn, is the owner of, an online concierge to Barbados. The O'Dells also own Food Affairs, a popular Bajan catering company.

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