Weddings

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Weddings

The relative ease of getting married in the Dominican Republic has made it a major destination for Caribbean weddings. There are no residency requirements nor are blood tests mandatory. Original birth certificates and passports are required. The Dominican consulate must stamp divorce certificates. If a woman has been divorced, it must have been at least 10 months ago. That same consulate must stamp single certificates that indicate the bride and groom are indeed single. If either party is widowed, a death certificate must be produced along with the previous marriage certificate. These documents must be translated into Spanish and legalized. You must usually submit documents at least two weeks in advance of your wedding, and the cost for processing is at least $100 per person.

As elsewhere in the Caribbean, civil ceremonies, performed by a judge, are easier and require less documentation than those performed in churches. They'll be in Spanish unless you arrange for an English translator. Similarly, the legalized wedding certificate will be in Spanish and may not be delivered for a week or more. Most couples arrange their wedding ceremonies through a wedding coordinator at their resort. (The all-inclusive resorts are seasoned at handling wedding celebrations, with some like Sunscape and Dreams resorts having wedding coordinators who earn kudos from the brides and their mothers.)

A number of resorts cater to the wedding market and provide a gorgeous backdrop for the occasion. The famed Casa de Campo has handpicked staffers who are near magicians at coordinating celebrity weddings, often in secrecy. Conversely, many young couples have married here surrounded by family and friends hosted in a handful of villas.

At Natura Cabana, in Cabarete, you can be married in the palatial, oceanfront yoga pavilion or on the beach. This ecolodge lends itself to creative, offbeat, wedding celebrations. In nearby SosĂșa, Piergiorgio's (Palace Hotel) is a romantic Victorianesque inn with an amazing view of SosĂșa Bay from a white rotunda, its picturesque wedding gazebo.

For those wanting a more intimate a high-end venue, ultraluxurious vacation villas on the beach provide a lifetime of memories. In Cabrera's Orchid Bay Estates, Villa Castellamonte is designed like an Italian palazzo. Its dedicated wedding coordinator performs magical transformations at this 15,000 square-foot mansion with eight bedrooms, a resort-size pool complex and golden beach. A neighbor in this gated community, Flor de Cabrera, is a multilevel (18,500 square foot) 10-bedroom, exquisitely furnished with a separate master casita for the bride and groom.

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