The British Virgin Islands Government has made it easier for foreign couples to get married on the Caribbean nation after it amended the Marriage Act and shortened the residency waiting period from three days to just 24 hours.
Brides and grooms planning destination weddings in the British Virgin Islands can now start the wedding application process online before they arrive by submitting their details through the new Civil Registry Information System (CRIS).
Before the changes came into effect on 3rd September, 2012, couples had to stop at three different locations to get the information for their marriage licence application. Now, all brides and grooms have to do is go to the Civil Registry, show their identification, proof of marital status, apply for the licence, get the marriage certificate, and provide two witnesses.
The Special Licence costs $220 and the Ordinary Licence is $120 and once obtained, couples can host their romantic Caribbean weddings as soon as 24 hours after arrival.
The British Virgin Islands offer plenty of idyllic settings for tropical island weddings and loved-up couples can choose from beach weddings at sunset, ceremonies in fragrant oceanfront gardens, and nuptials in historic ruins.
On this paradisiacal Caribbean destination couples have several picturesque islands to choose from for their weddings abroad including the main island Tortola with its white sandy beaches, ancient ruins and verdant emerald mountains; Virgin Gorda where couples can escape to secluded coves or explore lush national parks; and Anegada, a coral island that is encircled by the thriving Horseshoe Reef and shallow turquoise waters.
The changes to the British Virgin Islands Marriage Act are expected to attract even more engaged couples from abroad, especially as the trend of destination weddings spreads across the world.
According to Mintel Research, one in five couples are now getting married abroad and the Caribbean is one of the most popular wedding destinations in the world. Hotels and resorts in the region offer customised value for money wedding packages and newlyweds can extend the special occasion with a romantic honeymoon where they can relax on pristine beaches, swim in warm turquoise ocean waters, and enjoy a choice of tours, excursions and fun activities both on land and in the water.