Symbolic ceremonies allow couples a more affordable, hassle-free experience. Marriage licenses are obtained in the U.S. before hosting your ceremony in paradise.

Civil ceremonies are necessary for Catholic weddings and for couples who want a legal ceremony at their chosen destination. This type of ceremony has additional fees and requirements.

Symbolic Ceremony

  • More affordable
  • Most popular
  • Same-sex friendly
  • Commitment ceremony
  • Non-denominational minister
  • U.S. marriage license
  • Couple arrive 2 – 3 days prior

Rules: Marriage Laws by State

Civil Ceremony

  • Requires extra legal and notary fees
  • Notary fees
  • Documentation translation
  • Legal ceremony
  • Performed by judge
  • Catholic ceremonies
  • Couple arrive 3 – 4 business days prior

Rules: Jamaica | Mexico | Dominican | Costa Rica | Hawaii | U.S. Marriage Abroad


Civil ceremony requirements will vary by country, just briefly touched upon above, including additional fees and paperwork. Examples include birth certificates, blood tests, and single status declaration. Same-sex weddings are not permitted in every country; Jamaica does not allow them, and they can only be performed on private property in the Dominican Republic.


At Destify, we specialize in matching couples with the perfect destination and resort to fulfill all of their ceremony needs. Some of our preferred brands for same-sex weddings include AM Resorts, Royalton, Sandos, Hard Rock, Alsol, Playa, and RIU resorts. For Catholic ceremonies, we recommend the classic Spanish chapel at Majestic Colonial, the elegant Mediterranean-inspired chapel at Dreams Tulum, and the stunning oceanfront chapel at Panama Jack Cancun with its panoramic glass.

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