What You Need to Know About Getting Married in India

A Guide for Foreigners Planning an Indian Wedding By Sharell Cook, About.com – This is a nice and quite informational article, I loved it.. BTW, I am also looking to getting married, except I can’t seem to find the perfect woman..

India, particularly the states of Goa and Rajasthan, has become extremely popular as a wedding destination for visitors. The excitement and ambiance of getting married in a far away place can be very appealing.

Here’s all you need to know to about getting married in India.

Where to Get Married in India

Goa and Rajasthan are India’s hottest wedding destinations – Goa for its beaches, and Rajasthan for its palaces.

Many people choose to have a sunset beach wedding in Goa. However, plenty of other options are available including getting married at a lagoon, in the jungle, on a boat, on a hill top, or more traditionally, at one of the beautiful old Portuguese style churches.

Really, when it comes to getting married in India, your options are limited only by your imagination. Some of the most extravagant weddings have included processions of elephants, helicopters showering rose petals on the wedding party, fire dancers, and performances by Bollywood celebrities.

When to get Married in India

The most popular time of year for weddings is from October to February, when the weather is dry and sunny. However, weddings are commonly held throughout the year from September to May.

The peak months of December and January are extremely busy. As well as being much more expensive, accommodation and availability are also scarce during this time.

Cost of a Wedding in India

The cost of getting married greatly depends on the time of year and how elaborate the occasion will be. The price soars around December and January, particular during the Christmas and New Year period.

During the off season, it’s possible to have a small and simple wedding in India starting from around $500. Otherwise, during the season the minimum price is around $1,500, for less than 100 guests. This includes a party on the eve of the wedding, boat cruise, wedding ceremony, dinner on the beach, theme décor, music, and decorations.

How to Get Married in India

Most five star hotels offer spectacular wedding set-ups and special honeymoon packages. The five star hotels usually get their décor and planning done by wedding planners, but organize the banquet and table decorations themselves.

If you’re not intending to get married at five start hotel, it’s a very good idea to hire a wedding planner of your own to oversee the arrangements for the wedding. You’ll find that the extra cost is well worth the time and frustrations saved if you were to try and make the arrangements by yourself. Not only will a wedding planner take care of the decorations, they’ll facilitate the complex legal requirements as well.

Legal Requirements for Getting Married in India

Getting legally married in India is a lengthy and time consuming process, and you should allow to spend around 60 days in the country. As a result, many people prefer to take care of the legal part of the wedding at home and just have the wedding ceremony in India.

In India, civil weddings are governed by the provisions of The Special Marriage Act (1954). There’s a 30 day residency requirement, which means that either the bride or the groom has to be living in India for at least 30 days prior to applying to the local registry office to get married. For foreigners, this is evidenced by a certificate from the local police station.

You’ll need to submit your intention to get married to the registry office, along with the residence certificate, certified copies of passports and birth certificates, and two passport sized photographs each.

In addition, evidence of eligibility to be married is usually required. Anyone who hasn’t been married should obtain a single status affidavit (in the US), a Certificate of No Impediment (in the UK), or Certificate of No Record (in Australia). If you’re divorced, you’ll need to produce the Decree Absolute, or if you’re widowed, a copy of the death certificate.

If no objections to the marriage are received within 30 days of the application, a civil ceremony at the registry office can then take place. Three witnesses are required, who have to provide passport sized photographs, as well as identification and proof of address. The marriage certificate is usually issued a couple of weeks after the wedding.

Unfortunately, the legal process for foreigners getting married in Goa, which has its own Civil Code, is even longer and more onerous. There’s a 30 day residency requirement for both the bride and groom, who will need to obtain a residence certificate from the local municipality. In order to get married, the couple (along with four witnesses) must apply before a Goan court, which will grant a provisional wedding certificate allowing the marriage to go ahead.

This certificate is taken to the Civil Registrar, who’ll affix a Public Notice inviting objections within 10 days. If none are received, you can then get married. If you’re leaving Goa before the 10 days expire, it’s possible to get the period waived by applying to the Assistant Public Prosecutor. This will enable you to get married right away.

For a Catholic church wedding in Goa, the bridge and groom will need to obtain a “No Objection” certificate from their Parish priest acknowledging the wedding and giving permission to get married in a church in Goa. Baptism certificates, confirmation certificates, and a letter of intent will also need to be provided. In addition, it’s necessary to attend a wedding course, either in your own country or in Goa.

Tips for Getting Married in India
* Plan your wedding at least a year in advance for the best options.
* Check out a range of options before you decide.
* Seriously consider hiring a wedding planner to take the stress out of organizing the event.
* A civil wedding can be arranged faster than a church wedding, although it also requires paperwork to be in order.

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