Finding a fairytale setting for your dream wedding is no easy task, but as destinations go we think Sri Lanka is one of the finest. With stunning sandy shores, lush jungles and beautiful hill top tea plantations you are spoilt for choice when it comes to picture-perfect settings.
It is surprisingly easy to get married in Sri Lanka and it is legally recognised in the UK. You need to make sure you stay in Sri Lanka for at least four days before the wedding and bring the following documents, which must be in English:
•10-year British Passport (valid for a minimum of six months)
•A Single Status Affidavit signed by a solicitor, which proves you are free and single and have never been married before. It must be prepared in the UK before you leave.
•If divorced you will need to provide a decree absolute
•If widowed you need to provide the death certificate and your previous marriage certificate
•If you have changed your name – a deed poll certificate is required (includes divorcees who have reverted to their maiden name)
•If adopted – an adoption certificate will be needed
•If under 18 and not accompanied by a parent or legal guardian, you will need an affidavit, granting permission for the wedding to take place, from your parent, or legal guardian. This must be prepared and sworn in the UK, prior to your date of travel.
Most types of ceremony are available in Sri Lanka, from authentic Christian, Muslim and Hindu ceremonies to a traditional and colourful Buddhist service. Non-denominational ceremonies conducted by registrars are also very popular, as well as blessings and renewing of vows.
The traditional Sri Lankan Buddhist ceremony dates back to the third century BC. It is laden with beautiful rituals and takes place on a wooden base decorated with flowers known as the Poruwa, while the date and time is often chosen with help from an astrologer who compares the bride and groom’s horoscopes. Couples are often accompanied to the Poruwa by drummers and Kandyan dancers and, during the ceremony, seven betel leaf bundles are offered to the Gods with a request that protection is provided to the seven generations that originate from the marriage. Couples exchange rings like British weddings but the groom also dresses the bride with a gold necklace and there is a chanting of blessings, while your small fingers are tied together with gold thread to symbolise the bond and unity. Holy water is poured over your fingers. As you step down from the ‘Poruwa’, a coconut is broken as a symbolic gesture to drive away evil spirits.
Elements of this ceremony can easily be incorporated to church or non-denominational services. Aside from wedding ceremonies, we can also help arrange other services like blessings and Renewal of Vows ceremonies.