Obtaining a marriage license on St. Lucia is easier than many other Caribbean islands, despite a residency requirement that necessitates couples be on the island for about four days before they may legally be married.
The good news is that during the wait, couples have the time to meet with vendors and explore island culture.
Weddings on St. Lucia tend to mirror the desires of the couple, rather than adhering to any specific cultural norms. In fact, the only tradition of note is one common throughout much of western culture – the bride and the groom feeding each other the first slice of cake at the reception.
Still, if you feel obliged to honor St. Lucia in your own wedding, there are a number of things you can do. First, consider the different cultures present on the island: English, French, and African. Borrowing traditions from these cultures is a great option.
Another option is to pull from the island itself. Serving regional fare is a great chance to showcase the fruitful lands of St. Lucia. The national dish of St. Lucia is saltfish and green fig would serve up quite nicely at your reception, alongside a spiced fruit cake soaked in regional rum (the traditional wedding cake of the Caribbean).
You might also choose for you or your wedding party to wear the official national dress of St. Lucia. The national dress is called “madras” and consists of a white blouse, a colorful outer skirt over a white slip, and matching headpiece. The more formal national dress, more common at weddings, is a long, full-back, colorful dress, often pleated at the waist, and with a heart shape or scoop neck. A head piece is also worn with this form of dress. For your bouquet or boutonnière, consider incorporating some of the national flowers, roses and marguerites.
After being on the island for two days, couples can bring the following documents to a local solicitor:
The solicitor will then apply for a marriage license with the attorney general on your behalf. Although this process used to take 48 hours, guests may now obtain their marriage license in only a few hours. Note that marriages may not be performed on weekend or holidays, and must take place between sunrise and sunset.
Fees associated with marriage licenses include registrar fees, notarial fees, marriage license, and marriage certificate, which cost a total of $250(USD).
Though it may be a lot of work to prepare all the necessary paperwork, couples who have been through the process say it is worth the effort. Whether you choose to incorporate island traditions into your ceremony and reception, or create new customs of your own, the beauty of the island is sure to provide you with a lasting memory.
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