Everything you need to know about marriage in Grenada

20 Aug 2023·20 min to read
Articles
Everything you need to know about marriage in Grenada 01

Every year, over 600 marriages are performed in Grenada, an island country in the West Indies in the Caribbean Sea. The country consists of beautiful beaches, stunning landscapes, and other natural attractions. Both foreigners and native Grenadians are allowed to get married in the country. Couples may perform their marriage in a civil, religious, or symbolic wedding in Grenada. Both civil and religious weddings are legally binding; however, they are performed in different ways. Civil marriages include the submission of certain documents that prove the identity and legal status of both partners before marriage. 

Religious marriages are based on the principles of marriage under the religious beliefs of the spouses. Grenada is often regarded as a perfect location for wedding ceremonies, and the country is a popular choice for couples who wish to perform a destination wedding. The marriage laws in the country are straightforward, and compared to most other countries, the paperwork required is quite minimal. Couples who wish to perform a civil marriage must obtain a marriage license from the ministry of legal affairs. The marriage ceremony will only be allowed to take place after all required documents have been submitted and a valid marriage license has been obtained. Couples may decide to perform either a legal or non-legal (symbolic) wedding ceremony. 

It may be easier for couples to perform a civil marriage in their country and obtain a marriage certificate. This will allow them to enjoy the various locations in Grenada without having to meet certain criteria or perform the marriage ceremony under certain constraints. With symbolic weddings, couples may decide to have a private ceremony on a romantic sunset cruise at a luxury resort. It gives room for a lot of flexibility in the marriage ceremony. The rest of the article will touch on the marriage laws and rights in Grenada as well as the laws and rights governing them. Let’s get started.

Civil marriages 

To perform a civil marriage in Grenada, both partners must be present. Hood has legal standing with the government. This implies that both partners must be legally permitted to marry and must not be convicted of any criminal offense at the time of marriage. Civil marriages in Grenada are recognized in the country as well as in other countries abroad, and they must be performed by an authorized registrar in the civil registry. Couples need to have been residents of Grenada for a minimum of 30 days prior to the marriage application. In many cases, only one of the spouses is required to fulfill the residency requirement before the marriage is allowed to happen. After the application is made, the registrar may conduct an interview with the couple. 

During the interview, the spouses are asked a variety of questions to demonstrate that they are both entering the marriage of their own free will and are both legally permitted to do so. Forced marriages performed under threats, coercion, etc. cannot be registered in the civil registry. All marriages must be consensual between both spouses. If the marriage officer is not convinced that both partners are within their legal rights to get married, he or she may delay or completely prevent the marriage from happening at the registry. Once the interview is completed, the registrar will inform the bride and groom of the documents to be submitted. 

Both partners must provide certified copies of all the required documents, and they must include an apostille if they were issued by foreign authorities. This serves as an authorization stamp, proving the originality of such documents. The official language in Grenada is English, and all the documents submitted must be in this language. Those in other foreign languages must be translated appropriately by an accredited translator. If both the male and female spouses have never been married before, the waiting time to obtain the marriage license will be two days. If they have previously married, it may take a little longer for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to process all obtained documents. No blood tests are required to get married in Grenada. 

But as a safety precaution, it is advisable for couples to undergo vital medical tests and examinations to know their genotype compatibility as well as the presence of any underlying diseases that may result in further issues. The payment for the marriage license must be made before obtaining the license, and the required fees may be paid at the financial complex, Treasury, St. George's, or the Carenage. The civil registry is closed on weekends and public holidays, and as such, marriages that fall on any of those days cannot be performed. Upon the conclusion of the marriage ceremony, the registrar will issue a marriage certificate to the couple. The marriage certificate will allow the couple to enjoy all the marriage rights and benefits in Grenada. The documents that must be submitted by both spouses are stated below.

Required Documents 

  • A valid means of identification. National ID card for Grenadians and a valid passport for foreigners
  • Proof of residence in Grenada showing that a foreign partner has resided in the country for at least three days
  • A notarized lawyer’s letter of confirmation that both partners are single at the time of marriage
  • Both partners must provide government-issued birth certificates.
  • Absolute divorce papers or a death certificate. Either of these documents must be provided by separated or widowed spouses as proof of the legal termination of a previous marriage.
  • Deed poll. This must be provided by spouses who changed their names prior to the marriage.
  • Two witnesses must be provided by the bride and groom during the marriage registration.

Religious marriages 

In Grenada, religious marriages are widely performed. The predominant religion is Christianity, with about 96 percent of the total population. The Roman Catholic Church is the largest denomination, with over 48 percent of the population. The remaining 4 percent consists of those with no religious affiliation as well as Rastafari and Hindus. Couples wishing to be married in a religious ceremony must first obtain a marriage license from the Registrar General's Department.

Once the license has been obtained, the couple can then have their religious ceremony, which must be performed by a legally recognized religious official, such as a minister or priest. After the marriage ceremony is performed, the religious official will sign the marriage certificate and return it to the Registrar General's Department for registration. Church wedding ceremonies typically last two or three hours and are attended by the bride and groom's families. Most couples invite the whole church congregation to witness their happy day.

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Marriage traditions in Grenada

Fete 

This refers to the traditional reception that is held in connection with a Grenadian wedding ceremony. The fete typically takes place after the ceremony and can last for several hours or even into the early morning. It is a time for the couple to celebrate with their friends and family. During this ceremonial rite, a lot of food and drinks are shared, and it is often a lively and festive event.

Madras and Dashiki

In Grenada, most brides wear a white wedding dress; however, a bride may choose to wear a brightly colored dress or a traditional African garment such as a headpiece like the Madras. The groom may wear a traditional suit or tuxedo, but it is also common for him to wear a brightly colored suit or a traditional African or Indigenous garment, such as a "dashiki" shirt.

Callaloo 

The callaloo refers to one of the traditional dishes served during marriage ceremonies in Grenada. Most traditional foods include dishes such as "oil down" (a stew made with coconut milk and salted meat), "rice and peas" (rice cooked with kidney beans), and "callaloo" (a soup made with leafy greens and okra).

Same-sex marriages 

Same-sex marriages are not allowed in Grenada. Homosexuality and same-sex sexual activity are strictly forbidden and illegal in Grenada. The practice of homosexuality may result in a penalty of up to 10 years in prison. However, this law has not been enforced. There is no protection offered to members of the LGBT community from discrimination and harassment based on their sexual orientation or gender identity.

Polygamous marriages 

Polygamy is illegal in Grenada. Polygamous unions or marriages are not permitted in the country. Since the predominant religion is Christianity, monogamous relationships and marriages are the norm. Polygamy is not allowed under this religious belief, making its practice quite scarce even in most rural areas and communities in Grenada.

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Marriage Laws and Rights, Costs and Duties

Laws

The Marriage Act and the Matrimonial Causes Act outline the laws, procedures, and requirements for marriage in Grenada. According to these laws, to be legally married, the groom and bride must not commit the crime of bigamy. They must not be in any legally binding marriage or relationship while trying to contract a new marriage agreement. The law states that they must be single at the time of marriage. They could either be unmarried, widowed, or divorced. If any of the couple is widowed, he or she is required to submit the marriage and death certificates of the former spouse. In any situation where one of the spouses is divorced, he or she is also required to submit a copy of the original divorce decree to the civil registry. In Grenada, civil marriages and religious marriages are the two officially recognized forms of marriage.

Under the civil laws of marriage, the groom and bride must be at least 18 years old to be able to contract marriage. However, with written parental consent, minors may be allowed to contract marriage. In the absence of parental consent, the couple should obtain judicial permission to contract marriage. The marriage must be conducted in the presence of two witnesses chosen by the couple and by an authorized marriage official. The witnesses must be at least 18 years of age and have valid identification documents. The groom and bride must obtain a marriage license before marriage can take place in Grenada. After contracting marriage, the couple must register the marriage at the civil registry, after which a globally recognized marriage certificate will be issued. The religious laws of marriage are also very similar to the civil laws of marriage. The couple must fulfill the eligibility requirements, such as the age for marriage, the status of singlehood, etc. 

The religious marriage must be officiated by an authorized minister or priest of their religion. The religious marriage ceremony should be conducted according to the customs and traditions of the couple's religion. The couple is required to present certain documents, such as proof of age and proof of single status, to the religious leader performing the ceremony. It is also important to note that a religious marriage certificate is not a legal document, and the couple must also obtain a marriage license from the government and have a civil ceremony performed by a licensed marriage officer in order for the marriage to be legally recognized. There is a general rule for persons who wish to be married in Grenada, which is that they have to be in Grenada for at least three nights before the chosen wedding date. Both partners must also submit a medical certificate and proof of citizenship or legal residency in Grenada.

Rights

In Grenada, the rights of the wife and the rights of the husband are the same in marriage. There is no gender discrimination in determining access to marriage rights for couples. The husband and wife have the same right to own property, right to seek legal assistance and protection from domestic abuse, right to work, etc. The law gives both the husband and wife the same legal guardianship over their children. Marriage confers parental rights on couples, and these rights are a lifelong commitment that cannot be renounced. The husband and wife have equal citizenship rights. They both have the same right to change, acquire, or retain their nationality, as well as confer their nationality on their foreign spouses. However, they do not have the same right to obtain a passport. 

In the event of the breakdown of a marriage, the husband and wife have the right to initiate and finalize divorce. It could be finalized based on mutual consent or based on the fault of one of the couples. They both have the right to custody of the children after the divorce is finalized. The couple has the right to either take on the husband's or the wife's family name or retain their various names altogether. The husband and wife have equal inheritance rights. At the death of one of the spouses, the surviving spouse automatically inherits all the properties and non-land assets of the deceased spouse. Both the husband and wife have the same right to carry out financial dealings and manage property as they wish.

Costs

To determine the total cost of getting married in Grenada, couples need to put together an effective wedding budget and stick to it. The expenses on the wedding budget often include the cost of the wedding venue, accommodations, catering, transportation, decorations, the couple's attire, etc. To be legally married in Grenada, couples have to obtain a marriage license, which often costs EC$100–150 (East Caribbean dollars), which is roughly equivalent to US$37–55.

The cost of having the actual wedding ceremony is estimated to be around EC$100–500 (US$37–185), depending on the location, type of ceremony, and marriage officiant. Couples have the option of choosing a wedding venue for the ceremony. It could be a beach resort or a hotel. It all depends on the choices of the couple. Wedding venues in hotels and resorts can range from around EC$1000 to EC$10000 (about 370–3700 US dollars) for the rental of the venue, and it can easily increase depending on the services provided, the location, and the reputation of the hotel or resort.

Duties

The household duties and responsibilities of couples in Grenada are equally distributed. When it comes to carrying out household duties and responsibilities, there is no gender distinction. The husband and wife are both responsible for the welfare of one another, the property management of the home, and the care of the children. Couples are required to always look out for one another, love and respect each other, protect one another, and ensure that there is commitment and loyalty. The husband and wife are required to be physically and emotionally available for one another and the children as well. 

The resources in the home should be properly managed by the husband and wife. They are expected to jointly contribute to the wellbeing, health, and comfort of the family. The growth and development of the children should be one of the couple's most important duties. The husband and wife are obligated to provide a safe and happy environment for the children and also ensure that they have a proper and sound educational and moral background.

Conclusion 

Grenada, like many Caribbean islands, has a mix of African, European, and indigenous influences in its traditional marriage customs. In the past, arranged marriages were common, and the bride's family would typically provide a dowry to the groom's family.

The process of contracting a marriage in this country is quite easy. Couples have the option of having multiple weddings in the country, and they can choose between a civil and symbolic wedding ceremony. We hope this article has helped you fully understand everything you need to know about marriage in Grenada.

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