Huffpost Weddings

Getting Married In The Bahamas

Posted: Updated:
Newlyweds stroll along the beach in the Bahamas.
Newlyweds stroll along the beach in the Bahamas.

Some couples are content to tie the knot at the courthouse down the road. But for those who are more adventurous, a destination wedding -- and an international marriage -- are a must. The Huffington Post's guide to international marriages will tell you everything you need to know to get legally married in the Bahamas. Read on to ensure all of your paperwork is in order before booking your ticket. --Susan Ory Powers

Residency Requirement And Waiting Period

To marry in the Bahamas, one of the partners is required to be in the Bahamas for at least 24 hours prior to applying for a marriage license.

Intent To Marry

With a marriage license, a bride and groom may marry immediately. However, if they want a Catholic ceremony, the Archdiocese of Nassau requires a Pre-Cana marriage preparation program that may take six months to complete before the ceremony.

The Ceremony

The wedding ceremony may be religious or civil as long as the officiant is authorized to perform ceremonies by the government of the Bahamas. While Catholic services must be performed within a church, other religious and civil officiants will perform ceremonies in a variety of inspired locations. Two witnesses are required. According to Statute Law, either before or during the ceremony, each of the partners must state to each other, "I do solemnly declare that I know not of any lawful impediment why I, A.B., may not be joined in matrimony to C.D." They also must say to the other, "I call upon these persons here present to witness that I, A.B., do take (or have now taken) C.D. to be my lawful wife (or husband)."

The Marriage Certificate

The officiant is responsible for handing over a duplicate copy of the marriage certificate to the newlyweds after the wedding. Another copy goes to the Registrar General for filing.

Legal Documentation

For nonresidents to obtain a license to marry in the Bahamas, they must fill out an application and submit it to the Registrar General's Department and undergo an interview with a registrar or one of five designated officers. A couple must present immigration cards to prove they have been in the country for 24 hours, picture identification such as a driver's license with birth certificate or a passport, divorce decrees or death certificates that show the dissolution of previous unions and an affidavit of marital status sworn to in the Bahamas.

Same-Sex Marriage

Same-sex marriage is illegal in the Bahamas. According to GayWeddingDestinations, relationships between same-sex partners are legal in the Bahamas, but the law affords the arrangements no provisions for marriage or civil union. But attitudes toward gays and lesbians are evolving. According to a June 2011 editorial in The Tribune, "Bahamas' Support For UN Gay Rights Resolution 'A Long Time Coming,'" the Bahamas supported a resolution that "expressed 'grave concern' about discrimination against gays throughout the world and affirmed that freedom to choose sexuality is a human right."

Additional Information

Marrying in the Bahamas puts a couple in some good company. Grammy winner Jewel and rodeo star Ty Murray tied the knot there in August 2008, according to People magazine. And in July 2010, Oscar winners Penelope Cruz and Javier Bardem wed in an intimate ceremony at the island home of a friend.

View the full set of laws and regulations regarding marriage in the Bahamas.

Learn more about getting married abroad here.

CORRECTION: A previous version of this article contained incorrect information about getting married in the Bahamas over the age of 40. The inaccurate information has been removed.