The Guide to a Cayman Islands Destination Wedding: Tips & Legal Info
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If you've ever dreamed of walking down the aisle barefoot, with toes in the warm sand and the sun on your skin, then a Cayman Islands destination wedding is the perfect choice for you and your future spouse. Whether it's with all of your friends and family, or a small intimate moment for just a few chosen witnesses, getting married in the Cayman Islands is easier than you may think. With tips about where to stay and how to plan your ceremony to advice from local experts about obtaining legal marital status, here's your go-to resource for a Cayman Islands wedding.
In this article:
Why Couples and Wedding Guests Love Cayman Islands Weddings
There are a multitude of reasons why couples choose to marry in the Caribbean, specifically the Cayman Islands. "[This includes] its picturesque beaches, incredible culinary scene and ease of getting around," says Verona Rutty, Director Of Group Sales at The Ritz-Carlton Grand Cayman. "The island itself is incredibly safe and provides a stunning backdrop for a variety of celebrations and events."
In addition, a Cayman Islands wedding means tropical temperatures year-round. For those opting to marry between March and June, good deals are possible, too. "Luxury and unique venues, world class culinary options, friendly locals and pristine beaches that aren't packed with tourists makes the destination truly one-of-a-kind," says Cassie O'Connor, Wedding & Events Team with CELEBRATIONS GROUP LTD. "The process of getting married in Grand Cayman is relatively easy. To have a legal wedding, depending on your country of origin, you need to prepare documents in advance and fill out paperwork upon arrival. Hiring a local planning team… will give you access to the top local vendors, incredible venues and more. Plus, having a planning team means having pros to take care of the details for you, from planning and coordination [to] florals, rental items, décor, production, and more."
The Best Places to Get Married in Cayman Islands
When couples begin planning a Cayman Islands ceremony, a beach wedding is high priority on the list. The destination's oceanfront venues make it fairly easy to find a spot that matches a couple's vision.
Located along Seven Mile Beach, The Ritz Carlton in Grand Cayman is an incredible setting for a beachside ceremony and celebration. "When planning a wedding on island, it is always best to work with local planners and vendors. At The Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman, we sit with each couple and provide a list of reliable and talented vendors they can select from based on their event needs," say Rutty. The team will work with the couple to bring their dream wedding to life, whether it comes together in a year or even just a few weeks.
On historic South Church Street, the Grand Old House is a popular spot to hold a wedding. It's an excellent venue if you're looking for somewhere with beach access for ambiance, but a formal environment for the reception. At the Grand Old House,You can still get those oceanfront photos and exchange vows with the water splashing in the background, while using the resort's beautiful dining areas and dance halls for the celebration afterwards—all of which have air conditioning.
Rum Point may be known for its famous mudslide cocktails, but it also has picturesque views along the opposite side of Seven Mile Beach. It's a spectacular location to exchange vows with each other, with teal water shining in the background and dazzling fine sand to throw some extra glimmers of light on a wedding dress or veil.
Grand Cayman Wedding
If you're looking for a tropical wedding, Grand Cayman is a beautiful location within the Caribbean. With so many all-inclusive resort packages to help simplify your planning, there are a lot of options available to couples looking to do a destination wedding in the Cayman Islands.
The Ritz Carlton in Grand Cayman on Seven Mile Beach already goes above and beyond with service and amenities for guests. In addition to the beautiful pools, beach access, impeccable service, and in-house art gallery, this luxury resort also has a selection of wedding packages that can accommodate a wide range of wedding parties (and actual parties), including the The Cayman Island Royal Ballroom package or the Seven Mile Beach package.
When you're not from the area, it's hard to know who the reliable vendors are when it comes to florists, photographers, and rentals, so having someone on the inside to help is crucial. The Grand Cayman Marriott Resort is equipped with their own certified wedding planners on staff ready to help the couple create their dream island wedding.
The Westin in Grand Cayman on Seven Mile Beach is an idyllic place to exchange vows by the beach. They have experience planning weddings for any number of guests, with beautiful backdrops and a talented culinary team on hand that can accommodate any needs from cocktail hour to a memorable dinner.
When planning your dream island wedding, The Wyndham Reef Resort can plan beautiful ceremonies with ocean views. They generally stick to smaller ceremonies (up to 50 guests), working with couples to accommodate everything they're looking for. This hotel comes with a "water activity host" that can bring guests on snorkeling and scuba diving trips, in addition to a spa where the bride and groom can relax pre- or post-vows.
The Turtle Nest Inn comes with some truly spectacular views from the property. If the bride and groom love water activities, this is a great area to enjoy swimming, diving, and sailing on a mini-moon after the wedding. There's a variety of packages available, depending on the time of year you're looking to visit and the number of guests you're planning to host on your special day.
Cayman Islands Wedding Legal Requirements
If you stay on top of paperwork needed in order to get married in the Cayman Islands, you can essentially tie the knot the moment you set foot on land. According to the legal requirements outlined by the Cayman Islands, if you're holding a legal wedding, each couple needs to provide proof of marital status (including a divorce decree or death certificate if relevant), proof of age, and proof of citizenship with an ID or passport. If you're flying to the island, you'll also need to obtain an immigration department card. (This isn't necessary when arriving by boat or cruise ship.) The couple will also need to have a letter from the marriage officer that plans to officiate the ceremony, at least two witnesses, and a non-resident marriage license.
Legal Weddings vs. Symbolic Weddings
A symbolic ceremony is a route that some couples take if they just want to have the photos and the ceremony on the island, but legalize the marriage before or after their Caribbean ceremony. If couples want to have a legal marriage on the island, they can start the process by taking the previous steps mentioned. For a purely symbolic ceremony, be sure to bring any important religious, cultural, or family items needed for the event.
Required Legal Documents
When planning to have a legal marriage ceremony during your stay, Visit Cayman Islands lays out the rules and regulations to follow to tie the knot. The couple must provide proof of marital status, proof of their citizenship, and proof of their age. Non-residents of the island need a non-resident marriage license in addition to a letter from the authorized marriage officiant and witnesses (at least 2). Non-cruise passengers must provide immigration department cards, and cruise travelers need to provide international embarkation and disembarkation cards.
Legal Marriage Timeline
"In the Cayman Islands, marriages for both residents and visitors are governed by the Marriage Act 1991. Visitors must obtain a Special Marriage License in ordered to be legally married in the jurisdiction," says Joy Basdeo MBE, a Civil Registrar of Marriages and Civil Partnerships in the Cayman Islands who has officiated over 4000 weddings, and has operated her own company Simply Weddings Cayman for the last 16 years. "Fortunately this process is quick, efficient and professional. Most of the due diligence involved is done by your Civil Registrar or Marriage Officer before you even arrive on the island. Your licensed and registered officiant will facilitate getting the Special Marriage License on your behalf," she continues. "After the wedding, your officiant will file your marriage with our public records office ( called the General Registry) and get your Registered Marriage Certificate. This is the legal document you will need many times during the life of your marriage, for example to change the name on your passport, driver's license etc. In most cases, you will receive this important document the next day, or in the case of a cruise wedding, have it mailed to you."
Legal Marriage Cost
As mentioned above, couples must make sure that they obtain a special marriage license before getting married in the Cayman Islands. "Applications for non-resident marriage licenses (US$250) and a list of licensed Marriage Officers can be obtained from the Passport and Corporate Services Office. On Cayman Brac and Little Cayman, this is provided by the District Commissioner's Office," says Verona Rutty, Director Of Group Sales at The Ritz-Carlton Grand Cayman.
Cayman Islands Wedding Planning Tips
Once all of your ducks are in a row, now it's time to get into the planning part of the process, a.k.a. the fun part. Couples looking for some expert guidance on Caribbean wedding options may want to have a dedicated wedding planner, which can often be found directly through your resort or by searching local business listings.
How to Get to Cayman Islands
Getting to the Cayman Islands is possible via flights to Grand Cayman from Miami. Guests can use Cayman Airways and American Airlines to fly into Grand Cayman; the flight is only about 90 minutes from Miami. If you're coming from New York, there's a direct flight through JetBlue that flies to and from Grand Cayman and New York City, taking just over four hours.
Cayman Islands Weather
As with any island locale, the weather can be unpredictable at times, but the general climate in the Cayman Islands is hot and tropical. If you're looking to plan your visit when the weather is a bit cooler, look into December through March. Avoid hurricane season if possible, which generally begins in June and goes until November.
Choosing Your Cayman Islands Wedding Venue and Vendors
We may be biased in saying The Knot Marketplace is the perfect tool to find your perfect Cayman Islands Wedding professionals, but we're also telling the truth! Because every listing has been vetted by experts, there are plenty of trusted vendors who can help couples plan weddings abroad. The resorts and hotels often have planners that can assist, too—for example, The Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman has dedicated wedding planners on staff to handle all the details. Rather work with local businesses? Celebrations Ltd. is a Cayman Islands event planning company that will work closely with couples to plan the perfect ceremony. Simply Weddings Cayman and Joy Basdeo MBE, a Civil Registrar of Marriages and Civil Partnerships in the Cayman Islands, can help couples plan their wedding day, too.
Many factors play into how much a destination wedding costs. First, look at the current exchange rate. (The difference between the Cayman Islands Dollar and the US Dollar is 1 USD is equal to about 0.852747 KYD.) A normal-sized wedding for a destination wedding can hover somewhere around $30,000; if the couple is looking to elope or have a much smaller ceremony, that can cut costs significantly. Time of year also matters; peak vacation season will cost more, and also have fewer accommodations available for guests. A modest, intimate ceremony can keep the price of the wedding down.