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Can You Elope In The Maldives? (Things You NEED To Know!)

Unfortunately, you can’t elope in the Maldives as marriage ceremonies that take place here are not legally binding – and legal marriage is only made available for the locals. If you and your partner are looking to promise an eternity ‘through thick & thin’ you can elope to the Maldives and have a magical ceremony on the beach with the most breathtaking sunset. But keep in mind that the Maldives does not allow foreign nationals to be legally married even if the ceremony is complete with exchanging vows, rings and a stunning white dress – it will not be considered a legal marriage on paper anywhere (and that means no wedding certificate).

Among the large global wedding industry, the Maldives is one of the top wedding destinations with some of the best beaches making it the perfect spot to exchange vows and promises with your partner. From pink sunset weddings on the beach to luxury yacht weddings, there are a plethora of options to choose from, depending on your budget. In fact, most resorts in the Maldives will offer some of the best packages to celebrate your dream wedding and honeymoon in one go! Imagine your favourite person at your favourite destination, who wouldn’t love that? 

Is It Legal For Foreign Nationals To Get Married In The Maldives? 

All foreign marriages, wedding ceremonies and elopements carried out in the Maldives will not be considered as ‘legally binding’ as only locals are allowed to be legally married. But don’t be discouraged – your dreams can still come true! As the Maldives is one of the top wedding destinations in the world, you can have your dream wedding in these resplendent tropical islands. It will consist of a symbolic ceremony with a celebrant, but you will be advised to officiate the wedding back home and to hold the civil (legal) ceremony elsewhere.

Confused? Here is a simple solution. It is quite common to see that most couples overcome this by having their legal ceremony in Sri Lanka (another beautiful tropical holiday destination in the Indian Ocean, only 1.5 hours away from the Maldives) and their legal procedures will be recognised if you follow the necessary government regulations of Sri Lanka. You can always cross-check with your local authorities about the additional steps you will need to follow to avoid any complications. But once you are officially married in Sri Lanka, you can catch a flight and hop to the Maldives for the beautiful elopement ceremony and a honeymoon to remember for the rest of your lives.

If you are a foreigner marrying a Maldivian local – the process is quite easier. You will be required to apply for Sponsorship Declaration online via IMUGA, the digital platform for immigration services in the Maldives. 

Why Is Maldives A Popular Wedding Destination?

Maldives Beach Wedding

Close your eyes and imagine your dream wedding, and three out of five times it would be a destination wedding on the beach surrounded by pink sunsets and crystalline blue ocean. That is exactly what the Maldives would offer and hence its positioning as one of the top wedding destinations in the world.

The Maldives will bathe you in warm sunshine, and play ocean waves day and night to immerse you in the most romantic experience, and these tropical islands will truly feel like paradise once you dip your feet in the golden sand. This destination accommodates all your wedding needs with a wide range of options to choose from – from a traditional wedding on the beach, on a luxury yacht in the sea, on a rooftop terrace at sunset or at the edge of a pool.

You can spend your honeymoon in a water bungalow with private pools and jacuzzis overlooking the ocean as newlyweds, exploring the sea, land and culture of these paradise islands. 

How To Start Planning A Wedding In The Maldives?

If you have popped the big question and your next step is to plan the big ceremony, always start 6 months ahead. Choose your preferred wedding style and look up travel destinations to pick where you would like to say “I do”. Do you prefer a mix of beach and luxury? Then the Maldives will be your top wedding destination and if you start planning ahead, you will have the advantage of getting the best early bird offers.

The top 5 resorts to have an intimate, luxury dream wedding in the Maldives are Four Seasons Maldives at Kuda Huraa, Shangri-La’s Villingili Resort and Spa, One & Only Reethi Rah, Anantara Veli Maldives Resort and Conrad Maldives Rangali Island. Next, you can choose whom to invite (or not) – and to cover the legalities, at least have an officiant and two witnesses.

The best part is that it doesn’t always need to be expensive – many resorts offer wedding packages starting from $1,000, but keep in mind that this is only the starting price. Your typical wedding costs will include travel, bridal dress and suit, venue, photographer, flowers, cake, makeup, and all costs for a magical honeymoon. Keep reading to find out what is usually covered in a wedding package in the Maldives. 

What Does A Traditional Wedding In The Maldives Look Like?

Setting for Beach Wedding in the Maldives

Maldivian wedding ceremonies are full of vibrant colours that represent joy and exuberance surrounding the celebration. Traditionally, this is accompanied by 20 Bodu Beru drummers with a lead singer dressed in a traditional sarong and short sleeves shirt, singing songs of romance and bravery with drums beating to the rhythm. These Bodu Beru drummers are usually included in the wedding package. The crew will lead the bride to the altar where the groom awaits and the local Gazi (judge) will preside over the wedding ceremony which will be done in Dhiveli – the official language in the Maldives.

The couple will exchange their vows in any language that they prefer. You can always skip the traditional ceremony and have a western wedding – but it will be a wonderful experience to be reminded of this destination wedding in the Maldives with their culture and traditions blended in beautifully. 

Is It Cheaper To Get Married In The Maldives?

Let’s face it, weddings are some of the most expensive milestones that we have to face in life. The average cost of a wedding in the United States hovers around $30,000 and this could double in areas like New York and Rhode Island. With flight tickets and every other expense considered, a wedding package in the Maldives could be arranged for less than $10,000 (even cheaper if you get early bird offers). Most resorts include a honeymoon deal into the same wedding package so you don’t have to cash out extra!

The resorts in the Maldives typically offer wedding packages that include flower arrangements, makeup cake, photography and the venue – even the most basic packages! So, along with your vacation, you get to have your own little wedding planner too, all in one go! For more glamour, you can pick out an expensive bottle of champagne, a relaxing couples massage or a sunset cruise with your new lifelong partner to mark your new journey together.

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