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jamaica

Getting Married In Jamaica

Sun-kissed skies, gorgeous white sand beaches, pristine blue water and warm and vibrant people are just some of the features of Jamaica that make it the ideal island wedding destination.  Imagine creating the best picture perfect moment by pressing your lips against those of your new husband or wife against a backdrop of a sunset illuminating the calming sea. Why not take it a step further by experiencing the colorful and diverse Jamaican culture through food, music and dance.  Come and be a part of the Jamaican “Yaadie” experience and create an unforgettable wedding.

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

Jamaica Fact File

  • Size: 10,991 km2
  • Population: Approximately 2.7 million
  • Capital City: Kingston
  • Motto: “Out of Many, One People”
  • Currency: Jamaican Dollar (JMD)
  • Languages Spoken: English and Jamaican creole (also called patois)
  • Main Religions: Christianity and Rastafarianism
  • Major Holidays and Festivals:
    • Ash Wednesday - March
    • Easter - April
    • Labour Day - May 23
    • Heroes’ Day - October 21
    • Emancipation Day - August 1
    • Independence Day - August 6
    • Christmas Day - December 25
    • Boxing Day - December 26
    • New Year’s Day - January 1

Highlights

The average Jamaican wedding takes place in a church filled with loving friends and family. However, being the adventurous traveller you are, you will want to take advantage of the beauty of the island. There are several hotels that offer beach or botanical garden weddings, some of which are highlighted below.

Secrets Wild Orchid - Montego Bay

Nestled in a quiet nook in the island’s second capital, Montego Bay, Secrets is a beautiful resort ideal for weddings and honeymoons. This all inclusive resort offers first class service to its guests and will assist you in making your first few days of marriage a romantic and relaxing experience. Visit their website at http://www.secretsresorts.com/wild-orchid-montego-bay for more information.

Sandals Grande Riviera - Ocho Rios

If you enjoy beautiful beaches and the tranquility of botanical gardens then the Sandals Grande Riviera is the best resort for you. With a wide variety of activities and wedding venues to choose from, this resort will help you take advantage of the beauty of Jamaica. Visit their website at https://www.sandals.com/main/ochorios/or-home.cfm for more information.

Couples Resort - Negril

A trip to Jamaica is incomplete without a visit to Negril. Negril is famous for its incredibly beautiful nine-mile stretch of white sand beaches. Make the beach your romantic oasis as you bask in the beauty and alluring scents of the Caribbean Sea. This resort is eco-friendly and offers visitors with personalized wedding packages. Visit their website at http://couples.com/negril/ for more information.

Although visiting a hotel and lounging on the beach are the features of many island vacations, your Jamaica experience would be incomplete without getting the full “yaadie” experience. The “yaadie” experience is multi-faceted and incorporates various aspects of Jamaican food, music and culture. The following is a list of some of the top places to visit in Jamaica.

Rick’s Café

Located in the beautiful city of Negril, Rick’s Café features a wide variety of food and entertainment choices that give visitors the opportunity to gain a Jamaican experience. It has been said that the best Jamaican sunset can be seen at this lively restaurant. Patrons are able to experience a wide range of menu choices for a variety of palettes from the popular jerked chicken and escoveitch fish to the tamer barbeque chicken and filet mignon. Other menu choices that feature local dishes include rice and peas and Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee. Additionally, this restaurant gives patrons the exhilarating opportunity to cliff dive into beautiful pristine water. Visit their website at http://www.rickscafejamaica.com/ for more information.

Dolphin Cove

Dolphins are some of the most beautiful animals in the world and Dolphin Cove in Ocho Rios offers its patrons the opportunity to interact with these wonderful creatures. However, the experience does not end there. All visitors are able to access a nature trail showcasing various exotic animals as well as a shark show, opportunities to swim with dolphins and sting rays, and a kayak ride allowing visitors to see the beautiful under water features. Also, if you get tired after all of these activities, you can lounge on the beach and be calmed by the beautiful scenery. Visit their website at http://dolphincoveja.com/ for more information.

Dunn’s River Falls

Featured as one of the most popular tourist attractions in Jamaica, Dunn’s River Falls offers visitors with the exciting climb of a beautiful waterfall, as well as kiosks for purchasing local craft items and a beautiful beach with various water activities.  Here, you will be able to extend your activities beyond lounging on the beach and really get up and get moving. Make this attraction a part of your must do list when you visit Ocho Rios. Visit their website at http://www.dunnsriverfallsja.com/ for more information.

Rose Hall Great House

Mysterious and thrilling are just some of the words that you will use to describe your experience at the Rose Hall Great House located in Montego Bay.  The story of this great house is based on the tale of the white witch, Annie Palmer, who killed all of her husbands and slave lovers, and whose ghost still haunts the rooms and gardens of the estate. As you are taken on the tour of the Great House, you will be able to see some of the artefacts and beautiful architecture of the 1800s. However, beware…you never know if you will see Annie Palmer’s ghost lurking around the corner. Visit their website at http://rosehall.com/tours/ for more information.

Usain Bolt’s Tracks and Records

Although this is not a traditional tourist attraction, it is a hot spot for locals and is definitely the place you would want to be if you are in Kingston. Named after the fastest man in the world, Usain Bolt, Tracks and Records is a sports bar filled with flat screen televisions featuring various sporting activities as well as a nourishing menu featuring several Jamaican dishes. A dynamic atmosphere, friendly staff, and great food make Tracks and Records the place to be when you are in Kingston. Visit their website at http://www.tracksandrecords.com/ for more information.

Jack Sprat Restaurant

The Jamaican South Coast is often forgotten because it features far less attractions than the popular tourist spots of the North Coast. Nevertheless, if you are on the South Coast then the Jack Sprat restaurant is the place to go for some great Jamaican seafood. Nestled in a quiet nook in Treasure Beach, Saint Elizabeth, Jack Sprat offers its patrons with the opportunity to bask in the beauty of the Caribbean Sea while eating “finger-licking” food.  It is a popular spot for locals who reside in close proximity and will offer any tourist with the opportunity to truly interact with locals and experience Jamaican seafood. Visit their website at http://www.jakeshotel.com/eat/dining/jack-sprat-restaurant.html for more information.

Weather and Climate

Jamaica experiences a tropical climate which means that there is generally a lot of sunshine with a few bursts of rain.  One of the disadvantages of being located in the Caribbean is the fact that hurricanes can affect the country. The Atlantic hurricane season lasts from June 1st to November 30th. Hurricanes do not occur very often in the country, however, so do not allow the thought of a hurricane thwart your wedding plans. Instead, pay very close attention to weather updates.

Culture and Etiquette

Jamaicans are very lively and expressive people and to a non-local it may be very difficult to understand Jamaican Creole. Below is a list of some common local expressions and their meanings:

Jamaican Creole Meaning
M’aaning Good morning
Wah gwaan? What’s up? Or What’s happening?
Come mek wi do road! Let’s go out.
Mi a forward I’m coming
Pickney Child
Kibba yuh mout’! Be quiet.
Guh down deso Go down there.
Come yaso or Come yah Come here.

Jamaicans will always greet you with a warm smile and great hospitality. Generally, Jamaicans are polite and will say “Good morning”, “Good afternoon”, “Good evening” or “Good night”. This culture originates from deep Christian roots since most Jamaicans are compelled to go to church every Sunday either by their grandmothers or parents.

Food and Drink

Jamaican food is filled with flavor and spices that will take your taste buds or a tantalizing adventure with every bite. The main Jamaican dishes are:

  1. Ackee and Saltfish (the national dish)
  2. Rice and Peas (called red kidney beans in some other countries) and Chicken
  3. Jerk Chicken
  4. Jerk Pork
  5. Festivals
  6. Bammies
  7. Escoveitch Fish

Depending on the restaurant you go to, the service charge may or may not be included in your bill.  For those restaurants that do not include a service charge in the bill, a 10% tip is a reasonable amount to pay.

Money and Wedding Costs

The main currency used for daily transactions in Jamaica is the Jamaican dollar (JMD). However, Jamaica depends heavily on foreign exchange and, as a result, most establishments will accept the United States Dollar (USD). The average cost of a wedding in Jamaica is JMD$1.5 million which is approximately US$14,285.

Additionally, the most comfortable and reliable mode of transportation for you as a tourist would be either a bus chartered by the hotel at which you are staying or a JUTA tours bus. If you wish to have more freedom to travel, you can rent a car but always remember that Jamaican’s drive on the left-hand side and not the right-hand side of the road!

Legal Requirements for Marrying in Jamaica

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

Generally, a tourist can get married one day after arriving in the island as long as they've applied for a marriage licence in advance. Additionally, the following mandatory documents are required for tourists getting married in Jamaica:

  1. A certified copy of your birth certificate that contains your father’s name.
  2. Parent’s written consent if you are under 18 years of age.
  3. Original certificate of divorce (if applicable).
  4. Certified copy of death certificate for widow or widower.

At the end of your wedding ceremony, you and your spouse sign a copy of your Marriage Register. The purpose of this Register is to prove that you are now married but it cannot be used to conduct business. Your official Marriage Register will be processed by the Registrar General’s Department within a week to a month. For further information about the legal requirements for marriage in Jamaica, you can visit the website of the Jamaican Embassy in your country which can be found using the following link http://www.un.int/jamaica/missions.htm.

The Counties and Parishes of Jamaica

Although Jamaica seems like a small speck on the globe, it is the third largest island in the Caribbean. The country is divided into three counties (Cornwall, Middlesex and Surrey) and 14 parishes. Each parish has its own unique features as well as the perfect locations for beautiful weddings.

Find out more about the Parishes of Jamaica or browse our Jamaican Wedding Directory to start planning your dream wedding.