Everything you need to know about marriage in the Cayman Islands

16 Jul 2023·19 min to read
Articles
Everything you need to know about marriage in the Cayman Islands 01

Cayman Islands is a British Overseas Territory that is made up of three islands in the western Caribbean Sea. The territory is famous for its rich and diverse variety of arts and crafts as well as various tourist attractions. Every year, over 700 marriages are performed in the territory by both Caymanian nationals and foreigners from other countries. There are three major ways in which marriages are solemnized in the Cayman Islands. Couples can either get married in a civil or religious marriage, and these marriages are generally performed in two different ways. The formalities performed in a church setting are quite different in comparison with those performed at the civil registry. 

The Cayman Islands is one of the richest places in the world, and marriages are celebrated in an extravagant manner. The legal marriage age in the territory is 18 years for both male and female spouses. This age limit applies to both Caymanians and other foreigners, and the only way a person below the age of 18 may perform a marriage is with the provision of parental consent. For spouses who are below the age of 18, they must be either 16 or 17 years old to marry. In the Cayman Islands, there are different ways a wedding ceremony may happen, and many couples plan and organize their own weddings. 

However, some spouses prefer to use a wedding planner to help make their marriage process completely smooth and stress-free. People who want to perform simple weddings usually conduct a civil marriage with only a few close family members and friends. Couples interested in lavish wedding ceremonies can go as big as they want. They can hold symbolic weddings based on their preferences and have a lavish wedding reception. The rest of this article will help you understand more about the types of marriages in the Cayman Islands as well as their customs and traditions. Let’s get started.

Civil marriages 

Civil marriages are recognized and protected under the laws of the Cayman Islands. This type of marriage is officiated by a marriage officer or civil registrar of marriages in a civil registry. The registry used by the couples must be in the same municipality where they reside. There are cases where couples may want to perform their wedding ceremony on a cruise ship, beach, etc.; they may request the permission of the marriage officer to perform the ceremony in a location different from the registry. The marriage officer or civil registrar used must be licensed and authorized by the Cayman Islands Government to conduct marriages under the Marriage Law.

After a civil marriage, Caymanians will be able to obtain a marriage certificate in this territory in about 9 days. For foreigners, couples may be able to obtain a marriage certificate within a day or two. There is a special marriage license that can be obtained from the corporate office of the Cayman Islands government. This marriage license usually attracts an additional fee of about $200. The document was obtained by the marriage officer. During the marriage application process, the form must include the signatures of both spouses. Both spouses are required to confirm they are giving their free will and consent to get married to each other. 

Also, both spouses must not be blood relatives or siblings by direct link, marriage, or adoption. In the Cayman Islands, the legal marriage age is 18 years, with an exception of 16 years for special cases. If a marriage is performed by someone under the age of 16, it will result in the annulment of the marriage as well as legal consequences. An immigration slip or ship card is often required from foreign spouses to serve as evidence that they are visitors. This document will also help in showing the entry date of foreign spouses and how long they have stayed in the Cayman Islands. The wedding of the spouses must be witnessed by two witnesses. In most other countries or territories, the witnesses provided must not be related to the spouses, but the case is different in the Cayman Islands. 

The witnesses provided may be family members of the couple. Before a marriage certificate can be obtained by the couple, they are required to provide a valid means of identification as well as other required documents. Foreign spouses may be required to show evidence that they are eligible for marriage in the Cayman Islands. The official language of the Cayman Islands is English, and all foreign documents in other languages must be translated to English by an accredited translator. The documents obtained must also include an Apostille to show they are legitimate. The documents that both spouses must submit before obtaining a marriage certificate are stated below.

Documents Required 

  • A valid proof of citizenship and age must be provided by both spouses. This includes a photo identification document, a passport, or a birth certificate.
  • Two witnesses must be provided by both spouses during the ceremony.
  • Proof of marital status must be submitted. This includes either a divorce or death certificate to show both spouses are not married to someone else or in any other relationship.
  • Non-cruise passengers are required to provide immigration department cards.
  • The authorized or licensed marriage officer is required to provide a letter of authorization.
  • Cruise passengers must provide international embarkation or disembarkation paperwork.

Religious marriages 

Religious marriages are popular in the Cayman Islands. This type of marriage is officiated by a minister of religion. The Cayman Islands are a multicultural and multireligious territory. The major religions in the territory are Christianity and Hinduism. There are various denominations of Christianity, ranging from the Roman Catholic Church to the Seventh-day Adventist Church, the Presbyterian Church, etc. 

To get married in the church, there are also certain marriage conditions that must be met by both spouses. Couples are often advised to begin their church wedding preparations several weeks or months before the scheduled date so as to ensure the church is fully booked for them. The couple can begin the marriage process in the church by making a public announcement to the whole congregation that they will be getting married. 

Most couples who marry in their church or parish invite the entire congregation to the joyous occasion. The priest will begin the marriage process by conducting an interview with both spouses, where he will confirm if they have given their free consent to get married. There may also be prenuptial marriage classes that spouses must attend before the priest or pastor solemnizes their marriage in the church.

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Cayman Islands marriage traditions

Bridal Shower 

The bridal shower is a popular marriage tradition in the Cayman Islands. Here, a party is organized for the bride by her maid of honor and other close friends. During this party, she is celebrated and wished well as she enters a new era. The guests will often present cartoon-themed gift items to the bride.

Bachelor Party

The bachelor party is a tradition unique to the groom. Here, a wild night of fun is organized for the best man and closest friends of the groom, and a small party is organized to celebrate the last days of the groom as a single man. This party can be held in a bar or a tent, depending on the groom’s preference.

Honeymoon 

The Cayman Islands are beautiful and perfect for both weddings and honeymoons. After the wedding ceremonies and rituals are over, the newlyweds often go on vacation to different destinations in the country, such as top hotels and beach houses. The vacation can last several weeks.

Same-sex marriages 

Marriage between two people of the same sex is not recognized in the Cayman Islands. Homosexuality and same-sex sexual activities have been legal since 2001; however, same-sex couples are not allowed to perform a legal marriage. Same-sex couples may form civil partnerships and enjoy some of the marriage rights and benefits available to all married couples.

Polygamous marriages 

Polygamy is illegal in the Cayman Islands. Marriage may only happen between a single man and a single woman. The country is also dominated by Christians, and polygamy is illegal under Christianity. This crime is known as bigamy, and it can result in legal consequences such as up to five years in prison.

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Marriage Laws and Rights, Costs and Duties

Laws

The marriage law in the Cayman Islands states how marriage must be conducted, who can conduct marriage, what type of marriage is allowed under the law, who is allowed to get married, and who is prohibited from getting married. The marriage law states that for a marriage to take place, it must be attended by an authorized marriage officer and two witnesses chosen by the couple; the chosen witnesses must be at least 18 years of age and must be able to provide valid identity documentation to appropriate authorities. This above law implies that civil marriages are the only legally recognized form of marriage in this British overseas territory; other forms of marital unions are allowed, but they do not hold any legal value. 

According to the marriage law, the minimum legal age for marriage in the Cayman Islands is 16 years. Anyone who has not reached the age of 18 is required by law to provide parental permission before marriage can take place, and in the absence of parental permission, the permission of a legal guardian or a court order is admissible. The law also emphasizes that marriage must be conducted on the free will of the groom and bride; they must give their voluntary consent to marriage before it can take place; if one of the spouses does not give consent to marriage, it would not be allowed to take place; also, if the consent given was obtained through the use of force or violence, the marriage would be void, as the law states that marriage just cannot be contracted with the use of force, threats, or violence. \

Under Cayman Islands marriage law, intending couples must be single, that is, unmarried, divorced, or widowed, before they can contract marriage; bigamy is illegal in the Cayman Islands. If the groom or bride has been married but the marriage ended in divorce or the death of one of the spouses, the concerned spouse must submit the divorce certificate or a valid copy of the divorce certificate or the death certificate of the deceased spouse to that civil registry. Polygamy is prohibited in the Cayman Islands; both the bride and groom are not allowed to marry more than one spouse at the same time. Since the law does not allow same-sex marriages, concerned couples are allowed to contract a civil partnership.

Rights

All marriages conducted in the Cayman Islands are globally recognized; therefore, the rights that come with marriage apply to all couples, whether they are nationals or foreigners. In the Cayman Islands, the law guarantees equal rights to couples in marriage. The groom and bride have equal rights to virtually everything in marriage, whether it is the right to own property, the right to inherit, or the right to participate in politics. 

According to marriage law, the husband and wife have the right to be treated fairly by one another as well as at their respective workplaces, free of any form of discrimination based on their marital status. The husband and wife have the right to assume the role of legal guardians of the children as well as exercise parental authority. The parental rights that are available to couples belong to both the husband and wife, and they cannot be renounced nor should they be abused. 

The couple has the right to procreate and raise the children according to the various moral and religious beliefs of the family. When it comes to decision-making in the family, both the husband and the wife have the right to make important decisions that concern the health and comfort of the family, such as deciding the permanent residence of the family or the moral inclination of the household. The husband and wife both have the right to own, use, and dispose of property as they wish. Couples have the right to own property individually or jointly, depending on the marital regime of property agreed upon at the time of marriage.

Costs

The cost of hosting a wedding in the Cayman Islands is relatively affordable, depending on the status of the couple and their families or how financially stable the couple is. These factors and many more determine the total cost of a wedding in the Cayman Islands. The cost of obtaining a marriage license at the civil registry is estimated to be around CI$150, in addition to an application fee of CI$50. 

In total, couples should expect to spend around $200 on a civil marriage. The cost of hosting a reception is determined by the number of invited guests, the size of the wedding, etc. The average cost of a wedding in the Cayman Islands is estimated to be around CI$2,000–CI$7,000. Couples can decide to have a small, intimate celebration just with family and friends or have a more lavish ceremony.

Duties

The law does not only list out the rights of couples or how marriage should be conducted; it also mentions the duties and responsibilities of the couple in marriage. The husband and wife have a duty to ensure that the family plays its role in the community. Couples have a responsibility to look out for one another and the family as a whole. 

The integrity of the family must be protected by the couple, and they must ensure that no form of dishonor comes to the family. The husband and wife should also ensure that the welfare of the family is catered for. The husband and wife are both recognized as the heads of the household; therefore, household responsibilities are shared equally between the couple. Although there is still a stereotypical mindset that the woman shoulders more of the household responsibilities than the man, many homes have created a balance where such roles and responsibilities are taken on interchangeably. 

The husband and wife have a duty to ensure that the children grow and develop in a good environment that contributes to their proper educational and moral upbringing, which eventually makes them upstanding and honest citizens.

Final Thoughts 

The Cayman Islands is one of the most beautiful places to get married in the world. Couples can either perform a religious or civil marriage, and there is the availability of a special license option for foreigners. This option will speed up the marriage process and give foreigners the option to obtain a marriage license within a day or two.

In the Cayman Islands, there are various customs and traditions that are performed during weddings. Before a male and female spouse are allowed to marry, they must give their full consent. Forced marriages (through coercion and threats) are illegal in the territory. We hope this article has helped you fully understand everything you need to know about marriage in the Cayman Islands.

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