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maldives-wedding-guide

Getting Married In The Maldives

Deep blue seas with beautiful reefs, white sandy beaches with warm shallow waters and lined with palm trees and lush, diverse vegetation. Considered by many to be the premier tropical beach destination in the world, and described by some as paradise on Earth, each island has its own distinct feel and character. The Maldives could be the perfect place for your destination wedding.

An island nation in the Indian Ocean, the Maldives is an archipelago of 1,192 coral islands grouped into a double chain of 26 atolls. The islands lie south-southwest of India and are considered part of Southern Asia.

Fact File Highlights
Weather & Climate Culture & Etiquette
Food & Drink Money & Wedding Costs
Legal Requirements Atolls

Fact File

  • Size: 298 km²
  • Population: Approximately 393,500 people
  • Capital City: Malé
  • Currency: Maldivian Rufiyaa (MVR)
  • Languages Spoken: Maldivian (Dhivehi) is the official language, however English is also widely spoken
  • Main Religions: Islam
  • Major Holidays and Festivals:
    • Islamic New Year - Varies each year as based on Lunar calendar
    • National Day - Varies each year
    • Mawlid al-Nabi (Birth of the Prophet Muhammad) - Varies each year
    • Rorda Mas (Ramadan) - Varies each year
    • Eid al-Fitr (Ramadan Ends) - Varies each year
    • Hajj Day - Varies each year
    • Eid al-Adha (Feast of the Sacrifice) - Varies each year
    • Victory Day - Varies each year
    • New Year's Day - 1 January
    • Independence Day - 26 July
    • Republic Day - 11 November

Highlights

With so many islands to choose from, deciding what to do and where to go in the Maldives can be slightly overwhelming. Here are some of the highlights:

Island Hopping

Part of what makes the Maldives so great is that there's so many islands in such close proximity. Ferries and local "Dhoni" can take you island to island, and you can even explore uninhabited islands.

Diving

The Maldives is home to some of the world's best diving spots. There are tons of sites to choose from, for beginners or the experienced alike. The incredible seabed in the Maldives is filled with colorful corals and exotic species.

Malé

As the capital and most populated place in the Maldives, Malé is a hub of Maldivian culture.  Get lost at a local market, visit one of Malés many mosques, and take advantage of some of the Maldives’ museums. The options are endless here.

Relaxing

Many atolls offer an array of excellent venues with spas, modern amenities, and ocean front views. The sensations of the Maldives offer pure bliss and relaxation that could hardly be achieved anywhere else.

Beaches

The white sand beaches of the Maldives contrast brilliantly among the azure waters. These are some of the most beautiful and sought after beaches in the world. The magnificence of Maldivian beaches are what makes them such a perfect location for a wedding ceremony.

Weather and Climate

There are two distinct seasons in the Maldives; dry season (northeast monsoon) and wet season (southwest monsoon).  The dry season extends from January to March and the wet from mid-May to November.  April and December tend to transitional periods between the two seasons.

Temperatures are almost a constant 30°C all year, with rainfall increasing considerably during the southwest monsoon, particularly from June to August.  It's no surprise that high season coincides with the dry season and lasts from December to April.

Culture and Etiquette

A handshake is the most common form of greeting when meeting a local for the first time, accompanied by the Arabic expression ‘Assalaam Alaikum’. However a simple nod or slight bow will do as many men and women generally do not engage in physical contact. To be sure, let a woman offer her hand first before attempting to shake it.

The majority of the indigenous population not involved in the tourist trade do not mix with the tourist visitors, and live in isolated island communities maintaining almost total privacy.

The resort islands are very relaxed and casual dress is the norm, however beachwear is not acceptable in the restaurants on resort islands or away from the resorts.  Guests will be asked to cover up if they enter a restaurant in swimwear, see-through cover ups, or sarongs made from sheer fabric. Topless sunbathing is against the law.

When visiting the capital Male or local islands a more modest form of dress should be adopted and ensure that shoulders and thighs, at least, are covered.  When entering a mosque the legs and the body, but not the neck and the face, should be covered.

Importing alcohol, pork or pornography (very broadly defined) into the Maldives is forbidden and all luggage is X-rayed on arrival. On the way out, note that exporting sand, seashells or coral is also forbidden.

Food and Drink

A traditional Maldivian meal consists of rice, a clear fish broth called garudhiya and side dishes of lime, chilli and onions. Curries known as riha are also popular and the rice is often supplemented with roshi, an unleavened bread similar to Indian roti, and papadhu, a version of crispy Indian poppadums.

Being an Island nation, Fish (mas) plays a big part in Maldivian cuisine, particularly tuna (kandu mas), which is a staple. Hot, spicy and coconut flavors are the norm.

Pork is banned in the Maldives as most Maldivians are Muslim.  Alcohol is also banned for the local population, however nearly all resorts are licensed to serve it, usually with a steep markup.  Aside from resorts, the only place near Male where people can drink alcohol is at the Hulhule Island Hotel, commonly known as HIH or the airport hotel.  Don't film or photograph Maldivians if you see them drinking alcohol.

Tap water in resorts may or may not be drinkable. It's best to check with management rather than risk it. Bottled water is extortionately priced, with US $5 a bottle being typical.

10% service charge is added to everything so tipping is not compulsory, but it's not guaranteed that this is passed on to the staff, and due to the low salaries earned it's a nice gesture to tip, especially because of the excellent level of service generally offered.

Money and Wedding Costs

The local currency is the Maldivian Rufiyaa (MVR), which can be divided into 100 Laari. By law, resorts price services in US dollars and require payment in hard currency (or credit card), so there's absolutely no need to change money if you're going to spend all your time at the resorts.

The Maldives are expensive compared to many destinations, and there is limited budget accommodation or transport. Resorts charge around $1000 per week per couple for meals, drinks and excursions, above and beyond the cost of flights and accommodation. Practically anything has an arbitrary 10% "service charge" added and tips are expected on top.

Everybody gets a free 30-day visa on arrival, if they have a valid travel document, a ticket out and proof of sufficient funds, defined as either a confirmed reservation in any resort or US$100 + $50/day in cash. This can be extended up to 90 days at Male, but you'll need to indicate where you're staying for that long. Visit http://www.immigration.gov.mv for details.

Legal Requirements for Marrying in the Maldives

Warning The following notes are not comprehensive and are intended as a guide only. Before planning your wedding in the Maldives we strongly advise you to contact the Maldivian embassy in your home country or your country's embassy in the Maldives to obtain up-to-date legal requirements.

Although the Maldives is a fantastic location for a destination wedding, and there is a large wedding industry, it's legally not possible for non-residents to get married there. Most couples choose to have a beautiful, symbolic wedding ceremony in the Maldives and do the legal part of their wedding ceremony in their home country.

The advantage of this is that there's no minimum residency period, and you can enjoy your time in the Maldives without the stress of having to apply for a marriage license, produce documents and have them translated while you're there.

Atolls of the Maldives

The Maldives is grouped into 26 atolls (ring-shaped coral reefs with coral rims which partially or completely encircle lagoons.)  The islands or cays of the Maldives are found on top of the coral rims of each atoll.  Every atoll is unique and contains different and exciting possibilities for your destination wedding in the Maldives.

Find out more about the Atolls of the Maldives or browse our Maldives Wedding Directory to start planning your dream wedding.