There’s no question that the Cayman Islands, especially Grand Cayman, are one of the Caribbean’s foremost honeymoon destinations. Destination weddings are also particularly popular on Grand Cayman, where the larger resorts have wedding planners to help you with the paperwork and details.
Getting married in the Cayman Islands is a breeze, and each year many couples tie the knot here. Most choose to say their vows on lovely Seven Mile Beach, with the sun setting into the azure sea as their picture-perfect backdrop. Underwater weddings in full scuba gear with schools of fish as impromptu witnesses are also possible (kissing with mask on optional). Cathy Church can photograph your underwater wedding. You can literally leave things up in the air, getting hitched while hovering in a helicopter (“I do; Roger and out,” responded one blushing bride over the propeller noise). A traditional church wedding can even be arranged, after which you trot away to your life together in a horse-drawn carriage.
Documentation can be prepared ahead of time or in one day while on the island. There’s no on-island waiting period. In addition to the application, you need proof of identity and age (those under 18 must provide parental consent), such as an original or certified birth certificate or passport; a Cayman Islands international embarkation/disembarkation card; and certified or original copies of divorce decrees/death certificates if you have been married before. You must list a marriage officer on the application, and you need at least two witnesses; if you haven’t come with friends or family, the marriage officer can help you with that, too. A marriage license costs CI$200 (US$250).
The best way to plan your wedding in the Cayman Islands is to contact a wedding coordinator (resorts such as the Reef, Westin Grand Cayman, and Ritz-Carlton have one on staff), who will offer a wide variety of packages to suit every taste and budget. All the logistics and legalities will be properly handled, giving you time to relax and enjoy the wedding of your dreams. The Cayman Islands Department of Tourism keeps a list of wedding coordinators. Or you can order the brochure “Getting Married in the Cayman Islands” from Government Information Services. Vernon Jackson, of Cayman Weddings, is a wonderful marriage officer with a soft accent and a kind heart. You can choose from many different styles of services or rewrite one as you wish.
The Big Day
Choosing the Perfect Place. When choosing a location, remember that you really have two choices to make: the ceremony location and the reception location. For the former, there are beaches, bluffs overlooking beaches, gardens, private residences, historic buildings, resort lawns, and, of course, places of worship (after which you can trot away to your life together in a horse-drawn carriage). Most couples choose to say their vows on lovely Seven Mile Beach, with the sun setting into the azure sea as their picture-perfect backdrop. Underwater weddings in full scuba gear with schools of fish as impromptu witnesses are also possible (kissing with mask on optional). Cathy Church can photograph your underwater wedding. You can literally leave things up in the air, getting hitched while hovering in a helicopter (“I do; Roger and out,” responded one blushing bride over the propeller noise). As for the reception, you can opt for most of the same choices, as well as restaurants. If you decide to go outdoors, remember the seasons—yes, the Caribbean has seasons. If you’re planning a wedding outdoors, be sure you have a backup plan in case it rains. Also, if you’re planning an outdoor wedding at sunset—which is very popular—be sure you match the time of your ceremony to the time the sun sets at that time of year.
Finding a Wedding Planner. If you’re planning to invite more than a minister and your loved one to your wedding ceremony, seriously consider an on-island wedding planner, who can help select a location, help design the floral scheme and recommend a florist as well as a photographer, help plan the menu, and suggest any local traditions to incorporate into your ceremony.
Of course, all the larger resorts have their own wedding planners on-site. If you’re planning a resort wedding, work with the on-site wedding coordinator to prepare a detailed list of the exact services he or she will provide. If your idea of your wedding doesn’t match the resort’s services, try a different resort. Or look for independent wedding planners, who do not work directly for resorts.
Legal Requirements. Documentation can be prepared ahead of time or in one day while on the island. A minimal residency waiting period, blood test, and shots aren’t required.
You need to supply a Cayman Islands international embarkation/disembarkation card, as well as proof of identity (a passport or certified copy of your birth certificate signed by a notary public), and age (those under 18 must provide parental consent). If you’ve been married before, you must provide proof of divorce with the original or certified copy of the divorce decree if applicable or a copy of the death certificate if your previous spouse died. You must list a marriage officer on the application, and you need at least two witnesses; if you haven’t come with friends or family, the marriage officer can help you with that, too. A marriage license costs CI$200 (US$250).
Wedding Attire. In the Caribbean, basically anything goes, from long, formal dresses with trains to white bikinis. Floral sundresses are fine, too. Men can wear tuxedos or a simple pair of solid-color slacks with a nice white linen shirt. If you want formal dress and tuxedo, it’s usually better to bring your formal attire with you.
Photographs. Deciding whether to use the photographer supplied by your resort or an independent photographer is an important choice. Resorts that host a lot of weddings usually have their own photographers, but you can also find independent, professional island-based photographers, and an independent wedding planner will know the best in the area. Look at the portfolio (many photographers now have websites), and decide if this person can give you the kind of memories you are looking for. If you’re satisfied with the photographer that your resort uses, make sure you see proofs and order prints before you leave the island.
Do you want champagne and strawberries delivered to your room each morning? A maze of a swimming pool in which to float? A five-star restaurant in which to dine? Then a resort is the way to go, and Grand Cayman offers options in different price ranges. Whether you want a luxurious experience or a more modest one, you’ll certainly find someplace romantic to which you can escape. You can usually stay on at the resort where your wedding was held. On the other hand, maybe you want your own private home in which to romp naked—or maybe your own kitchen in which to whip up a gourmet meal for your loved one. In that case, a private vacation-rental home or condo is the answer.
InformationCayman Weddings.345/949–8677www.caymanweddings.com.ky.Deputy Chief Secretary.Government Administration Bldg., 3rd fl.,George Town,Grand Cayman345/949–7900, 345/914–2222.District Commissioner’s Office.District Administration Bldg.,Stake Bay,Cayman Brac345/948–2222, 345/948–2506.Government Information Services.Cricket Sq.,George Town,Grand Cayman345/949–8092.Heart of Cayman.345/949–1343, 345/916–2576www.heartofcayman.com.