Everything you need to know about marriage in Saint Lucia

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

Saint Lucia is an eastern Caribbean island nation famous for its reef-diving sites, luxury resorts, and volcanic beaches. Every year, over 11,000 marriages are celebrated in the country by both foreigners and St. Lucians, proving the adage "Saint Lucia is for Lovers" to be true. Marriage in the country is a beautiful and special occasion, and Saint Lucia is one of the most popular spots for destination weddings in the world. The island has qualities such as its relatively good weather, pristine beaches, and scenery that just make it an excellent pick for spouses from different foreign countries. In Saint Lucia, marriages are performed in a wide variety of ways, and couples may decide to get married in a civil, religious, traditional, or symbolic marriage. 

It is also possible to celebrate multiple weddings. For instance, after the civil marriage has been celebrated, couples may decide to perform a symbolic or religious wedding. Both civil and religious marriages are recognized and widely accepted all over the country. Many couples handle their marriage formalities in their home country, such as marriage registration and obtaining a valid certificate. This gives couples room to fully enjoy their ceremony with the flexibility to perform the wedding anytime, anywhere. Couples may decide to have a nighttime ceremony at the beach attended by close family and friends, as it all comes down to their preference. 

The country does not have residency requirements, implying that couples from different parts of the world may get married within 24 hours of their arrival in the country. This condition makes the process of legally getting married in the country very quick and straightforward for spouses from different parts of the world. To get married in Saint Lucia within 24 hours, couples will be required to obtain a special marriage license. However, for the regular marriage license, couples are expected to have been in the country for 2 days prior to the wedding ceremony. More information about the residency requirements will be touched on as you continue reading this article. Let’s get started.

Civil marriages

In Saint Lucia, civil marriages are regulated by the Marriage Act, which outlines the legal requirements for getting married in the country. This type of marriage is recognized and protected by law in Saint Lucia as well as other foreign countries. A civil marriage in the country is performed by a state-authorized marriage registrar in a civil registry. To begin the marriage application and registration process, spouses need to proceed to the civil registry to make an official declaration of their intention to marry in the country. Upon the completion of the declaration, the spouses will be required to fill out an application form with their correct information and signature. 

The registrar will inform the spouses of the documents that must be submitted during the marriage registration so as for them to obtain a marriage license. There are two types of licenses available to foreign spouses. These are the regular and special marriage licenses. With the regular license, the couple is required to have arrived in Saint Lucia two days prior to the actual wedding ceremony. However, the special marriage license allows couples to perform their marriage registration and obtain a license within 24 hours of their arrival in the country. The license may be obtained from the Ministry of Home Affairs. In Saint Lucia, the legal age for marriage is 18 years old. 

However, there are some exceptions to this rule. If one of the parties is 16 or 17 years old, they can get married with written consent from their parents or legal guardians. Couples who wish to perform a civil marriage must not be related to each other. This includes all relations by blood, adoption, and marriage. Both partners must not be in a marriage with another person at the time of contracting a marriage in Saint Lucia. Foreign spouses may request their documents from the embassy or consulate of their country in Saint Lucia. There may be a need for the submission of additional documents by foreign spouses, depending on their legal status in the country. 

Foreign partners may be required to provide a certificate of no impediment to marriage stating that they are facing no hindrances or legal challenges that may prevent the marriage from taking place. Both partners are required to provide valid witnesses during the marriage registration. The witnesses provided must not be related to them, and they must have reached the age of 18 or above. The official language in Saint Lucia is English, and all documents presented must be in this language. Both partners must provide evidence that the marriage is consensual. The paperwork that is required from both spouses is stated below.

Documents Required

  • A valid means of identification. This includes a national ID card for a Saint Lucian and a passport with a validation period of a minimum of 6 months for a foreign spouse. 
  • Both partners must provide certified copies of their birth certificates stating their names as they are currently addressed.
  • Certificate of Voter Registration This document must be submitted by spouses who have previously changed their names.
  • A written consent from the parents. This applies to spouses below the age of 18.
  • Divorce or death certificates. Either of these must be submitted by previously married spouses.
  • Adoption certificate. This is applicable to spouses who were adopted.

Religious marriages 

Most of the religious marriages performed in Saint Lucia are governed by the principles of Christianity. Over 90 percent of the total population is Christian, with the rest being people under the Rastafari religion and those with no religious affiliation. Church marriages are held with a high degree of importance to Saint Lucians, and different churches have certain marriage conditions that must be met by both spouses before they are allowed to enter into marriages in the country. 

For a lot of couples, the church often seems like the perfect place to solemnize their marriage due to the serenity and atmosphere that guarantee a profound experience. The Roman Catholic Church does not allow marriages to be performed outside the church, and most of the marriage rules, such as the minimum required age and no blood relations, also apply in church weddings. The church service often lasts for about 2 hours, and during the service, there are various ceremonial sites such as the exchange of vows and rings that are performed by the couple.

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Marriage traditions in Saint Lucia

Engagement Ceremony

The engagement ceremony is the first and one of the most important steps in performing a marriage in Saint Lucia. Here, the respective families of the bride and groom meet to formally announce the engagement and begin marriage preparations. The two families come to an agreement and also work together to ensure the marriage is a success.

Blessing of the Hands

This is a ceremonial rite that is still very popular in Saint Lucia. Here, the hands of the couples are blessed by their partners or elders of the family. This rite symbolizes the couple’s union and the support of their families. This ceremonial rite is still common in many regions and communities.

Coin in the bridal shoe

This is a popular marriage ritual in Saint Lucia and other countries in the Caribbean. Here, a dime is put in the shoe of the bride during the wedding ceremony. There is a belief that the marriage ritual will ensure the newlyweds are blessed with wealth and prosperity in their marriage.

Same-sex marriages 


Two people of the same sex are prohibited from contracting marriage in Saint Lucia. In fact, homosexuality and same-sex sexual activity are illegal for males in the country. Females may be allowed to perform same-sex sexual activity; however, they are still subject to legal challenges. There are some discrimination protections for homosexuals on the basis of sexual orientation, but two people of the same sex are not allowed to head households in Saint Lucia.

Polygamous marriages

According to the marriage act of Saint Lucia, marriage is a union between one woman and one man. Therefore, polygyny and other forms of polygamous marriage are illegal. The practice of polygamy in Saint Lucia may result in legal consequences. Only one marriage is recognized under the laws of the country, and if a man chooses to marry multiple wives, the other wives will not have access to any marriage rights and benefits in Saint Lucia.

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Marriage Laws and Rights, Costs and Duties

Laws

St. Lucia's laws of marriage are straightforward, and the requirements are easy to fulfill. Legal marriage in St. Lucia can take the form of a civil marriage or a religious marriage. A civil marriage must be conducted at the civil registry by an authorized marriage officiant. A religious marriage must be conducted by an authorized minister or priest on the premises of the religious institution or at a chosen venue. The civil code in the country makes specific requirements for couples to fulfill before marriage can take place. In accordance with the civil code, marriage must be between one man and one woman. The law requires couples to be single at the time of marriage. They have the option of being unmarried, divorced, or widowed. 

In the event that any of the spouses have been married before, they are required to provide proof that the previous marriage has been dissolved. The death certificate of the former spouse is applicable in the event of widowhood, while a divorce decree certificate is admissible in the event of divorce. According to the Constitution of the country, anyone who has attained the legal age for marriage is allowed to enter into a marriage agreement. The general legal age for marriage in St. Lucia is 18 years old for both males and females. Exceptions are made for minors to contract marriage, but they must provide parental consent. In the absence of parental consent, the permission of a legal guardian is applicable. 

Polygamy is against the law in St. Lucia. Neither the groom nor the bride are allowed to marry more than one partner at the same time. The groom and bride must give their consent to marriage. The consent must be given voluntarily by the couples. It must not be obtained using force or violence. Marriage by proxy is not allowed in St. Lucia; the groom and bride must be physically present to register marriage at the civil registry. The groom and bride are required to ensure that there is no legal impediment to marriage. The marriage license must be obtained by the couple before marriage can take place. 

All necessary documents, such as birth certificates and identity documents, must be up-to-date and submitted to the appropriate authorities for verification. Same-sex activity is legal in St. Lucia, but marriages are illegal and prohibited. Foreigners are allowed to contract marriage in St. Lucia. Mixed marriages are also allowed in the country. The foreign groom or bride must ensure that he or she is eligible for marriage in his or her home country. Anyone who is not capable of marriage in his or her home country is not permitted to get married in St. Lucia. There is no residency requirement for foreigners to fulfill in St. Lucia.

Rights

The rights of couples in marriage in St. Lucia are not based on gender norms. They both have equal access to various rights in marriage. The groom and bride have the right to participate in economic and financial activities, the right to confer their nationality on their children and foreign spouses, the right to inherit, and the right to exit the marriage, among many others. Couples have the right to work and receive equal payment for that work. There should be fair treatment in the workplace. During marriage, the husband and wife have the right to decide the marital regime of property that will be in effect throughout the duration of the marriage. This states how property and assets are to be used, owned, or discarded. 

However, regardless of the marital regime, the husband and wife have the right to own property as they wish. Marriage does not limit couples' access to fundamental human rights. Couples are entitled to exercise their political rights. Both the husband and wife have the right to be actively involved in politics. They have the right to vote and be voted for. The husband and wife have the right to make important decisions concerning the welfare of the family. They are also granted the right to make one another their next of kin. In the event of emergencies, spouses can make important decisions on behalf of one another. 

The husband and wife are entitled to exercise their economic and financial rights. They have the right to own financial assets, open multiple bank accounts, and even invest without having to seek permission. Marriage grants couples parental rights over the children they have together. The right to legal guardianship and the right to exercise parental authority when necessary are conferred on the couple. The husband and wife have the right to decide the moral, religious, and economic inclinations of the family. Spouses have the right to raise children and receive assistance from the government.

 Costs

The total cost of marriage in St. Lucia is dependent on various factors. The cost of hiring a venue, the financial ability of the couple, and the size of the wedding are all important factors that determine a wedding budget in St. Lucia. A civil wedding can only take place after a marriage license has been obtained. 

The marriage license cost 335 East Caribbean dollars, which is roughly estimated to be around $125 USD. However, couples who wish to fast-track the process of obtaining a marriage license should expect to pay more. The marriage license often costs around 540 East Caribbean dollars, which is approximately $200 USD.

Duties

The family is the nucleus of society. The fulfillment of duties in the home by the husband and wife is very important to ensure stability in society. The duties of the husband and wife in marriage are very important; therefore, they must be carried out to ensure the proper management of the family. Married Both men and women are obligated to cater to the needs of the family. Couples often find themselves exhibiting altruistic behaviors by putting the interests of others before their own. The material, emotional, and mental needs of the family must be met according to the means of the couple. 

The groom and bride have a duty to themselves and their children in marriage as well. The welfare of the children should be the couple's priority even after divorce. They have a duty to care for the children, provide them with a sound educational background, and ensure that they have good cultural and moral beliefs. Couples are obligated to mutually assist one another at all times. They should be faithful and committed to the marriage. They should respect each other's opinions, beliefs, and respective family members.

Conclusion  

Saint Lucia is a popular destination for marriages and honeymoons due to its natural beauty and romantic atmosphere. The island offers a variety of options for wedding venues, from lush gardens and sandy beaches to scenic mountain tops and elegant resorts.

Spouses may choose to perform their marriage in a civil or religious setting. Both partners must ensure that they meet all the marriage requirements during the marriage application and registration. Any falsification of information or violation of the marriage laws may result in the nullification of such a marriage. We hope this article has helped you understand everything you need to know about marriage in Saint Lucia.

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