Exotic landscapes and thrilling adventures have made Belize a sought-after location for a destination wedding.
Picture saying “I do” against a beautiful blue backdrop, with your feet deep in the sand. Or perhaps you’re saying it while standing at the top of a Maya temple overlooking an expanse of green, or next to a waterfall deep inside a rainforest. These are all possible settings when getting married in Belize. But it’s not just the spectacular scenery that will make you want to tie the knot here. As the only Central American country where English is the official language, planning your wedding abroad is a whole lot easier. As a less crowded and less populated destination than its neighbors, you can choose from a variety of secluded spots–including an island all to yourself. And you won’t have to worry about your family and friends traveling far, as Belize is three-hours or less away from major hubs in North America.
Planning The Big Day
Hotels across the country have caught on to the magic of saying “I do” in Belize and provide couples with an array of packages for their special day. Many prominent beachfront properties in San Pedro are among the most popular wedding locations. Resorts offer experienced wedding coordinators to help plan your big day, from greeting you at the airport to coordinating all of your required marriage paperwork. The lesser-crowded Caye Caulker and the Placencia Peninsula also make for dream wedding locations, with a variety of beachfront boutique hotels. Excellent wedding planners abound to assist with all your needs, from catering and decorating, to photography and entertainment.
Belize’s major advantage as a wedding destination is that it’s just one of a few countries that allow wedding ceremonies to take place on sacred Maya sites. Shrouded in mysticism, it’s no wonder more lovebirds are climbing up these temples to seal their love close to the sky as if celebrating with the gods of this ancient world. Aside from temples, you can journey into the Maya underworld, with an inland ceremony at the entrance of a cave deep in Belize’s jungle, like the Mountain Pine Ridge Reserve. You could also escape to a private island, or share vows across the Caribbean Sea on a chartered yacht, for a more intimate ceremony.
In the excitement of choosing the perfect setting, remember to consider the varying seasons. While Mother Nature can be unpredictable, December through the first quarter of the year is usually the ideal time, with breezy and sunny days. The summer months are the rainiest and muggiest, with the hurricane season running from June through November–but there are plenty of sunny days as well.
Belize’s Wedding Requirements
- Couples are required to stay in Belize for three days before applying for a marriage license. If that’s not possible, there’s the option of applying for a special license, at an additional fee.
- Both parties must show proof of citizenship–with a passport or birth certificate. If either party was previously married, a certified or original copy of a divorce decree or a death certificate is required.
- There’s a one-day processing period to pick-up the marriage license.
- A senior justice of the peace, a boat captain, or a minister of a registered church must perform the wedding ceremony.
- Two witnesses must be present.
- The minimum age of legal marriage in Belize is 18. Below the age of 18, parental or guardian consent is required.
For more information, consult your wedding planner or your chosen destination wedding resort.
The only thing left after a fabulous ceremony is a memorable honeymoon in Belize.
You could charter a helicopter ride to your chosen resort and explore Belize’s abundant natural sights from above. Whether you’re looking for a romantic escape from it all, or an adrenaline-packed adventure for two across the country’s rainforests or barrier reef, the options are endless.
Relax in a private villa, enjoying spa treatments, candlelit dinners under the stars, beach walks, and even a sunset cruise. Go diving or snorkeling along the Great Blue Hole, zip-lining, hiking and exploring Belize’s ancient Maya sites and caves–there’s plenty to discover. Whatever activity you choose, you’ll end your days sharing stories at sunset, and contemplating your next journey.
Photos by Leonardo Melendez. This article was originally published in print.