PHILIPSBURG, St. Maarten – Romance abounds on the Caribbean island of St. Maarten where couples can create a love story to remember for all time. St. Maarten makes it easy to say “I Do” and begin a new life of marriage surrounded by loved ones.
Couples wishing to get married in St. Maarten can engage the services of on-island wedding planners, who can assist with making the necessary arrangements for a ceremony, and caterers who can plan the perfect reception for the couple. Several hotels on St. Maarten offer complete wedding packages with all of the special ingredients for the big day.
To get married in St. Maarten, couples must submit requests at least 14 days prior to the scheduled ceremony to be conducted by the Registrar as well as arrive on island one week prior to the wedding date. Marriages are performed Monday through Saturday.
There is a fee of US$410 which includes the civil ceremony, marriage book, stamps and certificate. In addition to the fee, the following notarized original documents must be submitted to the Registrar:
• A full abridged birth certificate for the bride and groom. Documents should have an “Apostille” stamp, which can be obtained at the Secretary of State’s Office in the various U.S. states. In Canada, the Minister of Foreign Affairs and the Dutch Consulate have to legalize the documents.
• In the event persons are not of Dutch nationality, a valid passport is required.
• Declaration of marital status, no older than three months.
• Persons must be 18 years of age or older. Minors must have parents’ written permission.
• Addresses and professions of the bride and groom.
• Names of parents, their dates of birth, places of birth, mothers’ maiden names, and the parents’ professions.
• If a widow, a death certificate is necessary, and if divorced, a divorce certificate or a final judgment decree with “Apostille” stamp.
• The bride and groom must have six witnesses if the marriage is performed outside of the Marriage Hall and two witnesses if the ceremony takes place in the Marriage Hall. Foreign witnesses must present a valid passport or a birth certificate with valid photo identification.
Original documents in languages other than English or Dutch must be translated into Dutch. Documents can be officially translated on-island by Cheryl LaBega, certified official translator, Government Administration Building, Clem LaBega’s Square in Philipsburg. Translations could take up to two weeks.
St. Maarten offers couples traditional honeymoon vacation options highlighted by romance packages from resorts across the island or non-conventional getaways that couples create themselves based on their interests.
Starting with hotel accommodations, travelers can choose to stay at an expansive resort, hotel complex, intimate guesthouse or inn, as well as everything in between. Vacationers will find that St. Maarten offers a host of day and nighttime diversions to complete any getaway including watersports (snorkeling, scuba diving, parasailing), daytrips to neighboring islands, duty-free shopping, organized tours, land-based sports (hiking, horseback riding, golf), dining options, dance clubs, beach bars and casinos.
For a complete list of wedding and honeymoon options, visit the official site of the St. Maarten Tourist Bureau at www.VacationStMaarten.com.
St. Maarten is truly a unique island in several ways. It is the smallest island in the world to be shared by two nations, the Netherlands and France, creating a European-influenced vibe with a Caribbean flair. St. Maarten is also the culinary capital of the Caribbean with an eclectic array of elegantly-perfected culinary fusion that keeps “food lovers” returning each year. And with more than 300 restaurants, the island has something for everyone.
Located at the northern end of the Lesser Antilles, the island has 37 breathtaking beaches and is home to many historical and family-oriented attractions including the vastly abundant treasure of rare animal and plant species at the St. Maarten Zoological and Botanical Garden. The historically-pivotal Fort Amsterdam, the St. Maarten Museum and the picturesque and symbolic Mount Concordia, where a treaty and harmonious peace was forged between the island’s two cultures more then 350 years ago, provide other unique attractions.
The Dutch capital of Philipsburg offers duty-free shopping and a bustling city atmosphere in the heart of the Caribbean, while nightlife activities provide endless entertainment at the island’s 14 casinos and numerous nightclubs. For water enthusiasts scuba diving and snorkeling facilities are located throughout the island, which boasts a wide array of marine biodiversity and unique underwater dive sites such as the H.M.S. Proselyte, a notable British frigate which sank in St. Maarten’s waters in 1801.
Accommodations are varied with many designed to exceed the expectations of even the most discerning traveler and include elegant private villas, family oriented resorts, quaint cottages and luxury spa resorts. Air service is available to Princess Juliana International Airport from a number of U.S. and Canadian cities as well as Europe, South America and the Caribbean.
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