Wedding Legals And Statutory Information

In Vanuatu

Marriages in Vanuatu are recognised in Australia, New Zealand, the United States, the United Kingdom and most other countries.

Unlike Fiji, couples do not have to attend the registry office in person so documentation can be mostly organised prior to departure. Unless arriving on a cruise ship, couples have to be in Vanuatu for three days prior to the ceremony. Final documentation will take place during this time and it is also handy for the bride and groom to meet the wedding coordinator and choose a location.

A month prior to the ceremony, the following must be faxed or scanned/emailed for filing:

  • Copies of both passports
  • Copies of both birth certificates
  • If divorced, the relevant papers
  • If widowed, a Death Certificate is required
  • A completed Certificate of Intended Marriage
  • Completed Witness Forms – 2 witnesses are required but the wedding coordinator can organise witnesses if couples don’t have guests with them.

Please contact us if you would like copies of the Certificate of Intended Marriage and/or Witness Forms emailed to you.

Catholic weddings can be arranged (the priest will go to resorts) but a Letter of Freedom will be required and communication between your priest here and the priest in Port Vila.

As a rule, wedding bookings are not accepted on a Sunday, religious or national holidays, but there can be exceptions and a fee may apply. Some resorts stipulate documentation must arrive 8 weeks prior to the ceremony but that is more for their own coordination than any legal reason.

In Fiji

Weddings in Fiji are legally recognised worldwide.

In order to get married in Fiji, you generally need to visit the registry office on the mainland, which is open 9-4 on Mon – Fri (excluding Public Holidays) and appointments last around 20 minutes. Some resorts may be able to pre-register you and have your licence ready for you on arrival which may negate the visit to the Registry Office. Offices are in Nadi, Suva, Lautoka and Sigatoka and the cost of application is F$25.00.

You need to have the following documentation with you:

  • Current passports
  • Original birth certificates
  • Divorce papers (if applicable)
  • Death certificate of former spouse (if applicable)
  • Parental consent if under 21
  • Catholic weddings require a letter of Freedom sent 2-3 months in advance to the Fijian Priest along with Baptism Certificates.

The wedding must occur within 21 days of the application.

If you choose an island wedding you will probably need a night in Nadi before heading to your chosen resort.

Once the actual wedding ceremony has taken place, your signed documents are sent in for processing, and an official Wedding Certificate will be mailed to you approximately 4 weeks later. Wedding bookings are not usually accepted on Sundays, Religious or National holidays.

In The Cook Islands

Marriages in the Cook Islands are legally binding and internationally recognised. The legal age of consent to marry is 20 years, otherwise written approval by parents is required.

Applications for a Licence must be made in person to the Registrar of Marriages in the Cook Islands at least 3 working days prior to the marriage (this can be shortened for a fee of $50). Application for this licence cannot be made outside the Cook Islands.

The following documents are required:

  • Your passport and birth certificate will be required when filling out the “Notice of Intended Marriage” at the Registrars Office.
  • A copy of the Decree Absolute if divorced
  • If you have been widowed you will need to provide the Death Certificate of your spouse.
  • Catholic couples will need to have completed a course for engaged couples, such as the FOCCUS program, and will need to have Baptism Certificates.
  • All documentation must be in English or translated into English.

You may choose either a celebrant (non-religious) or a Minister to perform the ceremony. Churches on the Islands: Protestant (Methodist, Presbyterian, Anglican), Church of Jesus Christ Latter Day Saints, Seventh Day Adventist, Roman Catholic, Apostolic, Assembly of God and Baha’i).

In Samoa

Marriages in Samoa are legally recognised internationally. To be married you will require:

  • Birth certificate and passports
  • Decree Absolute (Divorce) documentation if applicable
  • Death Certificate of your spouse if applicable
  • Documentation should be in English and clear to read.

Faxed copies of these documents as well as a completed Intent to Marry form should be lodged with the Ministry of Justice at least 14 days prior to your arrival (take originals with you). You will also need to be in Samoa for a few days before your intended date of marriage. A small fee is also payable to the Ministry of Justice in Apia.

Samoa is an Island founded on God. Many if not most of the Christian denominations are well represented in Samoa. You can have a Religious Celebrant (Methodist) or a Non Religious Celebrant perform your special day. Catholic weddings are possible but special permission is needed from the Cardinal’s office in Apia, there will need to be correspondence from your local priest and if previously married, Catholic weddings are not permitted.