The definitive guide to living and working in the Cayman Islands
Mar 02, 2015
Last updated: 23nd December 2014
The Cayman Islands, well-known as a tourist mecca, is also one of the most romantic places in the world to get married. Not only does Cayman offer a superb location with stunning views, world class beaches, great weather, wonderful venues and plenty of professionals to help you organise your big day, but getting married in Cayman is also an easy process, leaving you to concentrate on enjoying your big day.
There are two very different processes for getting married in the Cayman Islands, depending on whether you are a resident or a visitor to the island.
Residents must be married by having their Banns of Marriage published by a Civil Registrar or Marriage Officer for seven clear days before the marriage can take place. This is to give anyone who might object to the marriage the opportunity to make their objection known, in writing, to your wedding celebrant.
Visitors must be married under the authority of the Governor’s Special Marriage Licence, which can be arranged as soon as you arrive on-Island. Most people will have selected a wedding celebrant, called a Civil Registrar or Marriage Officer, before they arrive. The reason for this is so that your wedding celebrant can assess your documents and see that they are in order. Doing this in advance will save you disappointment and make sure you have the correct documents to obtain Your Special Marriage Licence.
If one party to the marriage is a resident, and the other party a visitor, then the couple must be married by Banns. The Resident party can apply for the Banns to be published before the visiting party arrives. Banns of Marriage are valid for three months from the date of publication.
Please note the minimum age to get married in the Cayman Islands is 16; however, anyone under 18 must have the consent of a parent or guardian. Weddings must take place between the hours of 6am and 8pm. Also, according to liquor licensing laws, if you get married on a Sunday (on a liquor-licensed premise), then no live music can be played. Civil unions between two men or two women are not legal in the Cayman Islands at the present time.
For more information on marrying in Cayman see the Cayman Islands Government website at www.gov.ky.
VISITORS MARRYING IN CAYMANCouples who are on vacation or are arriving on a cruise ship can marry in Cayman under a special licence. You will need to select a Marriage Officer before you arrive and they will help you arrange a certified copy of a non-residents marriage licence, which is needed to be married in Cayman.
You will receive your "full marriage certificate" from the Cayman Islands Registrar of Marriage at the end of the marriage ceremony. Couples from most places in Europe, except the UK, need to get an Apostille. Your Marriage Officer can take care of this for you. Couples from the USA and Canada don't need an Apostille. See the Once you are Married section at the end of this page.
Applications for non-resident marriage licences (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.
On Grand CaymanPassport and Corporate Services Office
Sussex House, 128 Elgin Avenue
George Town, Grand Cayman, KY1-9000
Tel: (345) 943 7678
On Cayman Brac and Little CaymanDistrict Commissioner's Office
District Administration Building
PO Box 240
Cayman Brac KY2-2101
Tel: (345) 948 2506
You will also need to provide:
For more information on marrying in Grand Cayman contact the Deputy Chief Secretary's office on (345) 949 7900 or for Cayman Brac weddings (345) 948 2222.
- Proof of citizenship and age - Passport or an original/certified copy of birth certificate with photo identification (18 is the minimum legal age without parental consent)
- Proof of marital status (legal divorce decree or death certificate, if applicable)
- Cayman Islands Immigration Department card or Cayman Islands international embarkation/disembarkation card for cruise ship passengers
- Two witnesses at the ceremony (Your marriage officer can provide witnesses if there are just two of you)
RESIDENTS MARRYING IN CAYMANOnce you have decided to be married in the Cayman Islands, contact either a Civil Registrar or a Marriage Officer. Most of the 70 marriage officers in the Cayman Islands are Ministers of Religion and can be contacted through their churches. Refer to the Churches & Religious Services page for a list of churches. You will also find a list of Marriage Officers at www.gov.ky.
Civil Registrars in Grand Cayman work out of their offices where they can be contacted, and where the Banns of Marriage are published, usually on a Public Notice board, outside their office.
Planning your WeddingMost residents get married on Saturdays, which means you should book early to secure the date with your wedding celebrant. You will have to have a preliminary interview with your wedding celebrant and complete a form called a Notice of Marriage. You will need to take your passports and proof of your immigration status (e.g. work permit, residency certificate, etc.) when you attend the interview.
If you have been previously married, you will also need your original divorce decree or spouse’s death certificate. If the decree or certificate is in a language other than English, you will need an English translation certified by a Notary Public.
If you are marrying a Caymanian, your wedding celebrant is required to ask you certain questions to make sure you are not entering into a marriage of convenience. A marriage of convenience is where the two parties enter into the marriage for the sole purpose of obtaining immigration rights as a spouse of a Caymanian. This is illegal in the Cayman Islands, as in most countries. Your Civil Registrar/Marriage Officer will charge a fee for the documentation, preliminary interview, publishing the Banns, conducting the ceremony and filing your marriage with the appropriate government office. The average cost of this service is CI$300. Ministers of Religion may or may not charge a fee if you are a member of their congregation.
The Department of Counselling Services (Tel: (345) 949 8789) offers pre-marital counselling and marriage counselling for couples. All services are provided free of charge by the Cayman Islands Government and performed by qualified professionals.
Wedding DressesUnfortunately, traditional wedding dresses are not sold in the Cayman Islands. For residents getting married in Cayman the options are to travel to the US (or elsewhere) and purchase a dress to bring back to Cayman or buy a dress online and have it delivered here. In both cases you will have to pay the 22% duty that is applicable to all clothing brought into Cayman. If you are bringing the dress in yourself, you can deduct the CI$350 allowance everyone receives when re-entering the country and pay the duty on the balance of the dress. For deliveries to Cayman, you will need to pay the duty on the total amount of the dress. Please note that the duty does not apply to non-residents temporarily bringing in a dress to get married in Cayman.
Wedding Bands, Engagement Rings & Bridal GiftsThere are many elegant and luxurious jewellery merchants in Cayman offering a variety of engagement rings and wedding bands at very competitive prices. You will find every gemstone and style on display - from dazzling diamonds in every imaginable cut and size, to alternatives such as Cayman’s local Caymanite, a semi-precious stone of the ‘dolostone’ family.
Shopping for bridal gifts is easy in Cayman where there is a huge array of jewellery set with crystals, pearls or fashion jewellery. For the groomsmen and male family members, Cayman has a good selection of stores selling Cuban cigars, men’s jewellery, including cufflinks and watches as well as fine wines and spirits.
Island Companies (Tel: (345) 640 5249) has a number of stores across the Island selling a range of luxury items including diamonds, jewellery, watches, designer sunglasses, Cuban cigars, souvenirs and more. Kirk Freeport (Tel: (345) 949 7477) is a world-class duty free retailer that has been built from the roots up by the Kirkconnell family, a Caymanian family that has had great success in business for the last six generations. The company prides itself on professionalism, expertise and devotion to clients and has 25 stores in Grand Cayman, stocking duty free jewellery, watches, fragrances, leather, crystal and china. Magnum Jewelers (Tel: (345) 946 4130) located in George Town, is the exclusive Cayman Islands representative for Harry Winston Fine Timepieces and offers a selection of luxury watches including Audemars Piguet and Roger Dubois, as well as fine jewellery with attendant quality customer service.
Duty on Wedding Gifts Wedding guests coming to Cayman with gifts for the bride and groom are legally required to declare the gifts and pay the relevant duty costs. The duty applies to most gifts, except for books and cameras.
Wedding Cakes & CateringThe hotel resorts on-Island all offer special in-house catering for wedding events at their resort locations. The Cake Studio (Tel: (345) 926 4944) is a bespoke cake shop specialising in couture and custom cake designs. The studio offers a bake-to-order service for weddings, showers, birthdays or any other special occasion. They create custom recipes and cake designs and have even been featured in Cake Central magazine, Volume 4 Issue 7. Cake prices start at CI$85. Visit www.thecakestudiocayman.com or their Facebook page, The Cake Studio Cayman, for inspiration. Mise en Place (Tel: (345) 623 2433) provides delicious catering plus stunning wedding cakes and desserts and The Brasserie Market (Tel: (345) 945 1814) offers gourmet catering.
Wedding Celebrants & PlannersCoordinating your dream wedding in Cayman from a distance — or on-Island — can be a breeze with the assistance of one of our local wedding planners. Most are very adept at planning destination weddings when the hosts live abroad. When choosing a planner to help coordinate your event, keep some of the following considerations in mind:
- Timing: the winter months in the Cayman Islands are the most popular with visitors and hotels. Caterers and wedding planners get booked up fast, so you may need to book your wedding up to a year in advance;
- Sound: make sure everyone can hear you say ‘I Do’ over the crash of waves if you’re planning a beach wedding;
- Outdoor Weddings: can you schedule the wedding to take advantage of sunsets? Do you have a ‘plan B’ for inclement weather? Have you provided for guests’ comfort under the heat of a canopy in full sun? (Parasols can be a romantic option.)
- Style & Theme: will your wedding be modern and clean, vintage or romantic? Does your planner have the props, linen, decor and table settings to tie in with your chosen style?
Simply Weddings can orchestrate every detail for residents, visitors or cruise ship weddings. They also plan romantic wedding vow renewals. Simple, elegant and personalised attention to detail is their motto, providing brides-to-be with peace of mind and impeccable planning. Call (345) 949 9933, email: email@example.com or visit www.caymanweddings.com.ky. You can also view their wedding blog at www.cayman-island-weddings.com.
Celebrations (Tel: (345) 623 2044) can help organise simple beach weddings to the most elaborate wedding weekend.
Wedding FlowersThere are fabulous floral ideas to select from when designing your wedding bouquets and arrangements. When planning your event, it is best to remember that most flowers will have to be flown in for the event, which can become costly. A floral theme based on local varieties lends a uniquely ‘Cayman’ feel to your wedding and might help to keep costs under control. Celebrations’ (Tel: (345) 623 2044) can create beautiful arrangements, bouquets and centre pieces for your wedding. Visit their boutique in Camana Bay. Every Bloomin’ Thing (Tel: (345) 945 1701) caters for weddings, large or small. Trisha’s Roses (Tel: (345) 949 2423) also creates wonderful wedding flowers and has a range of packages.
Wedding LocationsMost brides-to-be dream of marrying on world-famous Seven Mile Beach, which is consistently voted in the ‘Top 10 Beaches in The World’ for romantic weddings but there are many other options including lush, tropical gardens and other uniquely Caymanian locations. The gardens at the National Gallery of the Cayman are beautifully landscaped and offer a perfect space for a wedding and reception. Tel: (345) 945 8111 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Pedro St. James is a historical site close to Cayman’s cultural heart. Spanning seven acres of landscaped tropical gardens and with stunning panoramic ocean views, it is a picture-perfect wedding venue. The three-storey Great House, known as ‘Pedro’s Castle’ is an 18th Century plantation-style house that provides the perfect backdrop for picturesque wedding photographs. The property can accommodate a variety of wedding celebrations, from intimate gatherings to large groups of 800 or more guests. For more information, contact the Tourism Attraction Board on (345) 949 6999, email: email@example.com or visit www.pedrostjames.ky. Boasting 65 acres of tropical gardens, the Queen Elizabeth II Botanic Park is a magical setting for a wedding celebration. Manicured lawns can host as many as 175 people, or a more intimate affair can be held in one of the park’s lush alcoves. Facilities at the park include full access to the air conditioned conference room at the Visitor’s Centre and an EZ-Go vehicle to transport guests, the bridal party and the elderly within the park. Plant rentals and catering options can be arranged by request. Park opening hours are 9am-5.30pm daily, and evening weddings can be booked from 5pm until midnight. Contact the Tourism Attraction Board for more information on (345) 949 6999, email: firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.botanic-park.ky. Camana Bay features its own private island, perfect for an intimate wedding celebration, complete with a wooden promenade deck over the water for a proper nuptial aisle. For more information or to book the island, email email@example.com. Caribbean Club is the perfect wedding and honeymoon location that offers luxurious accommodation combined with an amazing restaurant for the reception. Whether you’re planning a barefoot beach ceremony on stunning Seven Mile Beach or a large traditional wedding, Caribbean Club will anticipate all your needs. Visit www.caribbeanclubweddings.com for more information. The Ritz-Carlton Grand Cayman (Tel: (345) 943 9000) specialises in personalised, high-end wedding celebrations. Sunset Bay in Old Prospect, is a 250 person venue, hidden in the grounds of a quaint colonial-style estate. It features a beautiful garden set right on the water. Visit www.sunsetbay.ky for more information. Kaibo (Tel: (345) 947 9975) located in Cayman Kai is one of the most popular locations in the Cayman Islands for weddings because of its white sand beach, clear water, easy access by boat and staff devoted to making your wedding a deeply personal celebration. Tiki Beach is located on Seven Mile Beach and is a picture postcard setting for a Caribbean wedding. Ceremonies can take place on the sand and the reception can be held in their spacious outdoor restaurant. For more information call (345) 743 6616 or visit www.tikibeachcayman.com. Smith’s Cove, also known as Smith Barcadere, is a beautiful public beach that is a popular wedding location. Many people think that getting married on the beach at their Seven Mile Beach condominium complex would be nice, but believe it or not, not all complexes allow weddings or vow renewals on their beach. Make sure to ask whether your condo will allow a wedding ceremony on their beach before you book. You can also check with Simply Weddings (Tel: (345) 949 9933) to see what their experience with that particular condo has been in the past.
If a private beach location is a pre-requisite for your Cayman Islands wedding, another option is to rent a villa on the beach. Located on the tranquil north side of Grand Cayman, Ocean Paradise is the perfect secluded, beach front wedding venue. Breathtaking ocean views over a white sandy beach make the perfect backdrop for your wedding celebrations. Each of the five 3,000sq ft vacation homes on the property offer elegant furnishings and amenities, as well as a refreshing pool and swim and snorkel sites to enjoy as a couple or with your wedding party. Conveniently located near Stingray City, Rum Point and Kaibo, the villas are affordable and perfectly situated for you to enjoy a magical wedding and vacation in Grand Cayman with your wedding guests. For more information, call (345) 924 9249, email: firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.oceanparadisecayman.com. Contact Cayman Villas (www.caymanvillas.com) for a list of other private villas that are available to rent. Other wonderful venues include Smith’s Cove and Dart Park.
For the true naturalist, Divetech (Tel: (345) 946 5658 or visit www.divetech.com) or Cathy Church’s Photo Centre (Tel: (345) 949 7415 or (888) 690 7072 or visit www.cathychurch.com) can assist you with your plans for a ‘scuba diving underwater wedding ceremony’ surrounded by the true beauty of Cayman. If you would rather opt for a more traditional affair, Grand Cayman boasts over 200 churches for religious ceremonies. Please refer to the Community Life chapter for a list of all the churches.
Wedding Music & EntertainmentOne of many ways to express your personal style on your wedding day is your choice of entertainment and music during the ceremony and celebrations. Cayman Music School specialises in beautiful music for weddings and memorable occasions. Small instrumental ensembles, solo singers and musicians can be arranged for your entertainment needs. Classical and jazz are popular musical styles for weddings. For more information, call (345) 938 3838, email: email@example.com or visit www.caymanmusicschool.com.
If you’d prefer a band, then Business Time is a high energy and versatile multi-part band playing a wide mix of pop, rock, R’n’B and dance from the 60s to the present day. The band is a group of accomplished musicians playing guitars, bass, keyboards, drums and singing four-part harmonies all designed to get the party started. They can also provide beautiful ceremony music, accommodate almost any special requests (with three months notice) and provide all necessary sound equipment for your special day. For more information call (345) 926 0414.
Wedding Photographers & VideographersMeeting the right photographer should feel as powerful as finding the perfect wedding dress. No keepsake from your wedding day will be as treasured as your photographs. You’ll refer to them time and time again, so naturally it is important to choose a photographer who will capture your special day in the style that best complements your personality. Some photographers specialise in a formal portraiture style, while others will shoot in a more candid photo-journalistic style. While photographers are visual artists, the most successful collaborations between brides and their personal photographer actually depend immensely on verbal understanding. Picture This Photography (Tel: (345) 943 3686 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org) creates heart-warming images with an array of talented photographers to choose from. Samples of their portfolios can be viewed at www.picturethis.ky, with links to each photographer’s gallery. They also have a videography department who use the latest techniques to capture your event. Cathy Church’s Photo Centre (Tel: (345) 949 7415 or (888) 690 7072 or visit www.caymanphotographers.com) also provides wedding photography and videography services, highlighting the artistic talents of Tony Mark. He has been a photographer and filmmaker for 20 years, was formally trained at Tisch School of the Arts at New York University and has won an Emmy in film editing and several awards in both filmmaking and photography. Deep Blue Images/Julie Corsetti (Tel: (345) 916 0016) is well known as being one of the most requested wedding photographers in Cayman. She captures the romance, joy and beauty of every occasion. Her team at Deep Blue Images offers a creative and passionate style, making sure the photographs will be treasured for years. Visit www.deepblueimages.com. Cayman Wedding Photography (by Creations Unlimited) offers one to three photographers per wedding to cover every perspective. Visit www.caymanweddingphotography.com. Other photographers include David Wolfe (Tel: (345) 916 4146) and Courtney Platt (Tel: (345) 945 3939).
Wedding Stationery & InvitationsWhen the time arrives to make the big announcement and send save-the-date cards and invitations, Studio Two Sixteen (Tel: (345) 938 8363 or email: email@example.com) creates the most artful designs. Unique announcement cards, envelope designs, social cards, thank you notes and even party favours are all beautifully created to suit your style, using carefully detailed die cutting, foil stamping and premium card stock.
Wedding TransportationCayman Airways offers travel packages for wedding parties, with perks including free upgrades for the bride and groom, complimentary champagne and priority check in. Contact Cayman Airways for complete group discount details and other booking incentives on (345) 949 2311, (800) 422 9626 or visit www.caymanairways.com. Island Air (Tel: (345) 949 5252, www.islandair.ky) offers a complete service for private and chartered aircraft offering a cost effective and hassle free experience for aircrafts arriving in Grand Cayman, including ground handling and refuelling service. They can also act as an intermediary for those wishing to purchase a private aircraft. Island Air offers a VIP meet and greet service which includes full assistance with customs and immigration, luggage handling and transportation both at the private general aviation terminal and/or main airport terminal. Grand Limousine Services (Tel: (345) 943 5466) offers airport transfers. Bookings are available for weddings and special events. Tropicana-Tours (Tel: (345) 949 0944) also offers an airport arrival and departure service as well as customised bus tours of the Island.
ONCE YOU ARE MARRIEDImmediately after you are pronounced husband and wife, you and your spouse, along with two adult witnesses (aged 18 or older) and your Civil Registrar/Marriage Officer, must sign three copies of the Marriage Register.
One copy, called the Certified Copy of the Marriage Register, is yours to keep for your records. Your Civil Registrar/Marriage Officer is required by law to keep one copy in his/her Marriage Book. Again, according to the Marriage Law which governs marriages in the Cayman Islands, the third (duplicate) copy must be filed by your Civil Registrar/Marriage Officer with the Registrar of Marriages at the General Registry as soon as possible after the wedding. The General Registry is located on the first floor of the Government Administration Building. It is the public records office for the Cayman Islands.
It is your responsibility to obtain the Registered Marriage Certificate (RMC) of your marriage from the General Registry, unless you have arranged with your wedding celebrant to obtain this and forward it to you. The RMC has the words ‘secure copy’ on the reverse. On the front it will have the details of your marriage, a watermark of the Coat of Arms of the Cayman Islands and the raised seal of the Registrar General. This document is your legal Marriage Certificate and should be secured with your other important documents. The cost of the RMC is US$20. Contact the General Registry located in the Cayman Islands Government Building or visit www.ciregistry.gov.ky.
European Union citizens (except the United Kingdom and Ireland) may need to have their RMC apostilled (or authenticated). This does not apply to citizens of the United States the or Commonwealth. Asian, South and Central American countries should check with their Embassy or Civil Registrar/Marriage Officer, as to whether an Apostille is required for their country.
You will need to produce your Registered Marriage Certificate when you return home, to get a new passport in your married name, get a Driver’s Licence, get your marital status changed on health and social security documents and for a myriad of other reasons. If you were to get divorced at a later date, it would also be required. It is an important document, so you should make sure you obtain it and keep it safe.
Copyright 2015 The Resident Magazine 2015. All rights reserved.
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