How to get married in Vanuatu

With a choice of luxury hotels and idyllic white-sand beaches fringed by gently swaying palm trees, Vanuatu offers the perfect spot to say 'I do' – and is the ideal destination for that long dreamt of beach wedding in the South Pacific!

Vanuatu Marriage Requirements

The legal requirements for getting married in Vanuatu are quite straightforward.

Couples do not have to attend a registry office in person, so documentation can be organised prior to arrival.

However, couples do have to be in Vanuatu for three days prior to the ceremony (unless arriving on a cruise ship to marry). Final documentation will take place during this time.

Most resorts offer experienced wedding co-ordinators who can insure that the entire process of getting married in Vanuatu, including fulfilling all legal requirements, is stress free.

Should you decide to use a marriage coordinator, it’s best to allow at least four weeks before the date of your wedding.

Couples are free to choose a religious ceremony conducted by a minister or a non-religious civil service conducted by an approved Marriage Celebrant at a location of your choice. Marriages in Vanuatu are legally recognised internationally.

To avoid any paperwork, you may also have a civil ceremony in your home country and have a romantic devotion ceremony in Vanuatu.

Residency Requirement

Minimum of three days residency before intended wedding date.

Required Documents

Ensure that all documents are in your legal name, and provide affidavits in cases where you are known by another name.

All documents must be in English; if not, they must be translated and notarized.

An Intended Marriage Form must be lodged with the Vanuatu Government at least 28 days prior to the marriage. Documents can be lodged by fax or scanned and emailed to your wedding coordinator or whoever you’ve chosen to perform the ceremony; but remember to bring original documents with you to Vanuatu.

Documents required for getting married in Vanuatu, include…
  • Completed Certificate of Intent to Marry form
  • Copies of both valid passports
  • Certified copy of birth certificates for both participants
  • Certificate of No Impediment to Get Married from country of origin, if required
  • Decree Absolute, if relevant.
  • Death certificate of deceased former spouse, if relevant
  • Parental consent if female is under 16 years and 18 years for males
  • Completed witness forms for two witnesses, who must be over 21 years of age – if you are travelling alone the marriage coordinator can provide witnesses.

Religious Marriage Ceremony

Most Christian denominations are well represented in Vanuatu. Some faiths may require additional documents for a religious service, whether held inside a church or elsewhere. You may want to check this with your wedding co-ordinator or local minister.

Couples of the Roman Catholic faith should allow at least six months before the planned wedding date in order to process all the necessary paperwork (certificates of baptism, dispensations, statements of freedom to marry, etc.).

You should make contact with the priest whom you want to have officiate at your wedding as soon as possible. He will help you complete the necessary paperwork and provide part of your marriage preparation instruction.

Traditional Ceremony

Many resorts are happy to help you incorporate colourful local customs and traditions into your wedding ceremony to provide you with a unique wedding experience.

For instance, you may wish to have a troupe of warriors escort the bride from the floral canoe to the beach – who are then challenged by the groom’s warriors; once the groom formally accepts the bride, peace reigns and all the warriors then join forces to serenade the couple down the beach to the floral arch where the wedding ceremony is held and vows exchanged.

In Vanuatu it’s easy to get married on a beach, in a church, hotel and registry office. However, wedding ceremonies are generally not performed on Sundays, religious or national holidays.

Marriage Certificate

You receive your Marriage Certificate on the day following the wedding ceremony, after signing the Marriage Register in-front of a witness.

Apostille of Marriage Certificate

Citizens of some foreign nationalities may require an Apostille stamp on their marriage certificates, this can be arranged upon request at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Apia.

European Union citizens (except the United Kingdom and Ireland) may need to have their Marriage Certificate apostilled (or authenticated).

This does not apply to citizens of United States, Canada, Australia or New Zealand. Citizens of Asian countries, South and Central America should check with their Civil Registrar as to whether an Apostille is required for your country.

Wedding Planners

Most resorts offer experienced wedding co-ordinators who can insure that the entire process of getting married in Vanuatu, including fulfilling all legal requirements, is stress free.

Please note: while accurate at time of publication this information is for guidance purposes only and liable to change without notice. Please check with your wedding planner at your resort of choice or the relevant embassy of the country in which you intend to marry for up-to-date details before your wedding.

Latest update: How to Get Married in Vanuatu: 14 January, 2023