Weddings Traditions and Requirements in Belize

Before you can host a wedding in Belize, you've got to get your paperwork in order

Photo credit: © Chabil Mar Villas
 

A wedding is an occasion that can take many different forms depending upon the people hosting it, and the country it is held in.  Belize weddings trend towards the modern.

You may find that some of the traditions Belizean brides maintain speak to you in a way that makes you want to incorporate them into your own special day, but regardless, there are a few steps that must be taken before you can legally wed in Belize.

Local Wedding Customs

Maps

Weddings in Belize are not unlike those held in the United States, but they do differ in some ways.  The most significant differences occur before the vows are even said.

It is considered a rite of passage for the bride to walk to the wedding site from her home (or the place where she has been preparing for the big day), and through the streets of Belize.  Family and friends line up along her path, shouting words of encouragement, telling her how beautiful she looks, and showering her with gifts.  This is important because it is the bride's last walk as a single woman.

Once she arrives at the wedding site, the bride will join arms with her father who will walk her down the aisle – maybe.  The bride also has the option of strutting, waltzing, or performing some other type of dance with her father as they make their way toward the groom.

From that point forth, the wedding ceremony is not much different than an American wedding, nor is the reception.  It may be difficult to incorporate the bride's last walk as a single woman into your wedding preparations as the Belizean women do it, but you can add a bit of whimsy to the ceremony with a strut, instead of a walk, down the aisle.

Modern Requirements

Both parties must be present in the country to sign all of the required paperwork in order to be married in Belize.  Forms to request a marriage license (which can be obtained at the General Registry, Supreme Court Building in Belize City, and the Attorney General Building in Belmopan) must be filled out and signed before a Justice of the Peace.  After the couple has been in the country for three days, and the forms have been witnessed and signed, the couple must take their forms and other documentation, plus $100(USD), to the General Registry or Attorney Generals Office.

Required Paperwork:

  • Certified copies of the bride and groom's birth certificates.
  • Certified copies of Divorce Certificate if one or more parties has been divorced.
  • Certified copies of Death Certificate if one of the parties is a widow or widower.
  • Certified copies of adoption certificates that reflect any name changes.
  • Photo identification for each party, such as a passport or drivers license.
  • Proof of date of entry into Belize.

The office of the Attorney General or the General Registry will then approve or deny your request to be married in Belize which can take between two and ten days.  If your request is approved, you must return to the office that approved you to pick up your license.  You may then make it official with a wedding ceremony the next day.

Your wedding in Belize can be whatever you dream it to be.  Whether you choose a very traditional religious ceremony, a service that mimics Belize's typical boisterous affair, or an event that breaths new life into the exchange of vows, a destination wedding will help to bring your special day to a new level.  Gather your paperwork, review Belize's marriage license must-haves, and get ready to begin your the start of a whole new journey with the one you love.

 

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