Do you want to escape the stress of a big, white wedding? Do you like the idea of getting married on a near-deserted beach as the sun sets over the Caribbean Sea? Do you want a relaxed but romantic and meaningful ceremony that will give you beautiful memories, for life? Do you hate the thought of a conveyor-belt wedding?
If you answered yes to any of the above, Tobago is the place for you. The benefits of choosing this charming island would fill a guest book...
- Lots of choice of wedding location
- Flexible choice of ceremony time
- Hundreds of stunning photographic opportunities
- Excellent wedding professionals at your disposal
- Friendly suppliers more interested in providing a good wedding than ripping you off
- Diverse enough to give you a hen/stag experience, wedding and honeymoon in one
- Something for every age, religion, marital history, group size, and budget
It is possible to get married on Tobago on a tight budget. The beauty of the island is that commercialism hasn't yet ruined the quaint way of life, the local charm or the menu – people generally don't come to Tobago for burgers and fries, poolside service and cocktails. Sure, you can get that at some of the larger hotels, but you'll have to pay for it.
Ten Top Tips for your Tobago Wedding
- You should carry your dress as special hand luggage. If you're lucky you'll be upgraded and it can be hung in the 'wardrobe' but even if you aren't upgraded, you should ask the flight attendants, who will normally be happy to help
- Hang your dress up as soon as you arrive at your accommodation. Most creases will drop out of your dress in the climate and with a gentle, warm iron on the morning of your wedding
- Don't forget sun protection cream on your wedding day. Don't get frazzled for the sake of ten minutes before you step outside
- Don't forget insect repellent. All over, to the tops of your legs, as well as all around your tummy and concentrating on your ankles and feet
- You can expect a certain amount of local interest in your wedding, just like everywhere else in the world, Tobagonians love a wedding, and so will your fellow hotel guests. Everyone will be wishing you well, so there's no problem. Relax!
- While you might not be especially religious yourself, you should respect the fact that Tobago is a very religious island. If you choose to marry somewhere, you must accept their way of doing things
- Wedding clothes and good quality jewellery are difficult to find on Tobago, although smaller items of wedding paraphernalia are readily available. Decent photographers and videographers do exist, but beware of cowboys. It is best to take the advice of www.tobagoweddings.com
on that one.
- Bear in mind that the pace of life is significantly more relaxed (read: slow) in Tobago. There's no point in being Bridezilla and expecting things to happen at the snap of your fingers. People might be a little bit late, things won't kick off at the exact minute you expect them to and you won't always get an instant response to your queries. Chill!
- Think about the heat when you shop for your wedding outfits. The men should wear cotton (even cotton vests under their shirts) and your dress should be suitable – not too heavy, and sleeveless or strapless is best
- The best time to get married is late afternoon. It will be getting cooler, you'll have the beautiful sun set to witness (what could be more romantic?) and you can go straight into your wedding breakfast – there will be none of the time taken for all the photos as there is at British weddings
Tobago Hotspots: the Best Wedding Venues
- Coco Reef Resort: If you have the budget, then the Coco Reef is the island's premier wedding location. A wide choice of gorgeous beach, garden and hotel locations for the ceremony. Can cater for large numbers and accommodate most requests. Entertainment is easy to organise and nothing's a problem – there's even a hair salon on site
- Castara: The beach is a real favourite with tourists and the village is very traditionally Tobagonian. Some of the best sunsets can be seen at Castara, or from the roads that wind down into it, along the Caribbean coast
- Englishman's Bay: Often deserted, a picture-perfect location – long sandy beach, framed by trees and lapped by the warm Caribbean waters
- Pigeon Point: With its white-sand beach, Pigeon Point is naturally a popular choice for weddings, but given its popularity with bathers, don't expect total privacy. For raw, natural beauty look elsewhere
- Le Grand Courlan: A good hotel with all attendant facilities. No children allowed
- Magdalena Grand Beach Resort: The largest hotel on the island. Good conference facilities. Good for indoor weddings. Being on the Atlantic side, the beach is windy and not so pretty
- The Seahorse Inn: Great food, a good wine list and a very romantic location, set right on the beach. Has a courtyard which is perfect for your ceremony
- The Speyside Inn: If you want a more rural location, then this is it. The real Caribbean, far from the madding crowd
- Private villa locations: Check out your accommodation options for a suitable spot
Where to Stay on Tobago
This will depend on your budget and your group size. For accommodation options, see our accommodation listings.
Most of the hotels will provide help and organise your wedding for you. However, to ensure that your arrangements are given the personal attention they surely deserve, we particularly recommend the service of Tobago's most established professional wedding planner, Christine Brent of www.tobagoweddings.com.
The Legal Stuff
To avoid disappointment, it is important to observe and note the following documentary and legal requirements:
Residency: Both parties must be resident in Tobago (and/or Trinidad) for a minimum of 3 full days before the wedding ceremony. It is important to note that the day of your arrival does not count in the three-day period. The Special Marriage Licence can be applied for from the fourth day and is valid for six months. Some countries require that their intention to marry is registered in their home country and others require an apostille to the marriage certificates. Applications to marry must be made on a weekday as the office is closed at weekends and on public holidays.
Identification: Both parties must produce proof of ID in the form of passports and proof of entry. Visitors with e-tickets should ensure they have a printed copy of their ticket.
Divorced/Widowed: Divorcees must produce the Decree Absolute with court stamp. Widows and widowers must produce the Death Certificate of the former spouse. A certified translation will be needed if either of these documents is not in English.
Age Restrictions: Anyone under 18 years of age must produce a Statutory Declaration, signed and stamped by a solicitor, proving parental consent.
Name Change: If you have changed your name, or are a divorced woman who has reverted to her maiden name, you must supply legal proof signed and stamped by a solicitor.
Ceremonies: Religious wedding ceremonies can be conducted almost anywhere, subject to agreement with the priest or minister. Civil weddings can only be conducted on Wednesdays at the Registrar's office (Victor E.Financial Building, Scarborough). Appointments for civil weddings must be made at least 2 days before the ceremony.
Witnesses: Staff at the Registrar's office can act as witnesses (at extra cost). If you have your own witnesses, they must accompany the bride and groom, and carry acceptable ID, when making the marriage appointment.
Marriage Licence: Available from the Registrar General's office or the Warden's Office (see Contacts below) on production of all necessary documentation. The Special Licence is TT$300, from the Warden's Office and the Marriage Certificates (two) are TT$25 each from the Registrar General's Office. Please note that it can take around a week from application to get them. When applying for a wedding licence, you will be required to make an affidavit or statutory declaration declaring that you are single and free to marry.
Registrar General's Office, Bacolet Road, Scarborough (Tel: +1(868) 635-0858)
Warden's Office, Beacon Building, Scarborough (Tel: +1(868) 639-2410).