Vanuatu Beach Wedding
As a wedding destination, the islands of Vanuatu offer a magical backdrop for a beach wedding. A choice of beachside resorts are usually 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.
Obtaining a wedding licence
Most documentation can be organised prior to arrival in Vanuatu, as couples do not need to attend the registry office in person. However, couples do need to be in Vanuatu for at least three days prior to the wedding ceremony, at which time final documentation takes place.
Marriages in Vanuatu are recognised in Australia and New Zealand. Choose a civil marriage before a District Registrar, a religious marriage before a minister of religion, or according to tribal custom (usually by a custom chief). Should you decide to use a marriage coordinator in Vanuatu, it’s best to allow at least four weeks notice before the date of your wedding.
Both marriage parties must provide the following documents 28-days prior to the wedding ceremony (documents can be faxed to whomever you’ve chosen to perform the ceremony, which are available from most wedding coordinators):
- Copy of birth certificates (bring original or certified copies with you to Vanuatu)
- Copy of passport
- Copy of Decree Absolute document (divorce papers), if relevant
- Copy of Death Certificate of deceased former spouse, if relevant
- A completed Certificate of Intent to Marry form
- Completed witness forms – two witnesses are required. If you are travelling alone (without guests) the marriage coordinator can provide witnesses
- Parental consent if under 21 years of age. The valid marriage age in Vanuatu is 16 years for females and 18 years for males.
Location – The Vanuatu Islands are located in the South Pacific Ocean some 1750km east of Australia and southeast of the Solomon Islands, near New Guinea.
Getting there – Fly direct from Brisbane and Sydney to Port Vila on Virgin Blue, Air Vanuatu and Qantas Airways with connections from all major Australian airports.
Flight time 4 hours from Sydney, 3 hours from Brisbane, 8 hours from Perth (via east coast)
Flying in – Bauerfield International Airport is located 11km from Port Vila on the island of Efate. Hotels and resorts provide courtesy transport for guests. Taxis and hire cars are also available.
Entry requirements – A valid passport and return or onward ticket. Australian citizens do not need a visa for a stay of 30 days or less.
Getting around – Between islands: Air Vanuatu domestic offers scheduled services to island destinations. Inter-island ferries operate frequent services from Port-Vila and Espiritu Santo to the northern and southern islands. On land: Minibuses are cheap and often the drivers are good guides; taxis are plentiful and metered; hire cars are also available. Roads are either compacted coral or dirt tracks. Traffic drives on the right.