Weddings and Honeymoons - Sri Lanka Style!
Sri Lanka is rated as one of the world's top destinations for overseas weddings and 'renewal of vows' ceremonies. It offers an amazing choice of wedding types and locations, coupled with a huge choice of experiences and sightseeing for your honeymoon.
Superb beaches, 5 star resort hotels, cool chic boutique hotels and resorts, spas and well being relaxation, amazing ancient cities and monuments, 'buzzy' cities, great shopping, wonderful restaurants and food, national parks with an astonishing array of wild game that offer 'up close and personal' first hand experiences of Sri Lanka's amazing wildlife including elephants, leopards, sambuk deer, wild bears and boar ... and much more.
Adventure experiences and tours: including hot air ballooning, white water rafting, scuba diving, mountain biking and trekking.. to name just a few... or just flop and read a book by the pool with a daiquiri or three - Sri Lanka is THE wedding destination!
And of course your wedding - you can chose from a traditional western style wedding or a traditional Sri Lankan wedding - or just a quiet peaceful ceremony on the beach at sunset .. with a small group of friends - or just yourself... whatever you want - we can put it together for you! Or - if you really want something TOTALLY unique/different - how about an underwater wedding (!?), a deserted candlelit beach, a private island, a tea plantation, or even a special candlelit jungle ceremony followed by a 6 course candelabra lit jungle dinner - try us - we can do it!
After all - it's YOUR special day - and you deserve it!
So - what does a wedding in Sri Lanka entail? - What paperwork and legalities are involved?
Documents required for the wedding ceremony must be sent to us - to send to the wedding organiser in Sri Lanka at 4 weeks prior to the day of the wedding day, so we require these at least 5 WEEKS prior to your wedding.
Required legalities for your wedding in Sri Lanka
• Wedding ceremonies are carried out in Sri Lanka from Monday to Sunday AND local Public Holidays.
• Minimum legal age to marry in Sri Lanka is 18 years of age and over on the day of the marriage ceremony.
• Valid UK Passport(s) with at least 6 months validity from arrival in Sri Lanka. (If one of the couple are travelling on other than a UK passport please ADVISE us so we may check the procedure). We send a photocopy of passports to Sri Lanka and the original passports are presented to the authorities before the wedding day.
• Original Birth Certificates: We send a photocopy of this to Sri Lanka and the original certificates are presented to the authorities before the wedding day.
• Full details of the lawful names, addresses and occupations of the couple
• Full details of the wedding couples parents' names, occupations and addresses
• A legal affidavit confirming the marital status of bride and groom *prior to the wedding (ie: single, divorced)
• If either party - or both parties to be married are divorced, an original "Decree Absolute" document proving that the previous marriage has been lawfully terminated must be presented prior to the wedding ceremony. (We also send a photocopy of this to Sri Lanka prior to your arrival)
• If either party is widowed, the death certificate of former spouse of the previous marriage must be produced
• If either party has changed their names(s) prior to the wedding, legal proof of their change of name must be produced
• Adoption Papers (if applicable)
Your official marriage certificate will be provided in local Singhalese language along with a certified duplicate copy in English. You will generally receive your wedding certificate 2-3 months after your wedding.
What sort of wedding do you want? What do you wear - do you take your wedding clothes with you or buy them there? Where to stay? What sort of honeymoon do you want? What sightseeing do you want to do? What activities do you want to do? Do you want an 'add-on' holiday to the Maldives seeing you are only 3 hours flying time away? (!)
If you opt for the Sri Lankan version of the "full Monty" (a local Sri Lanka style wedding) - these are styled in accordance with the religion and ceremony that you chose.
The major parts of the ceremony include Kandyan dancers and drummers, the exchanging of vows upon a wedding Poruwa (stage), and if you really want to make it memorable - the groom arrives on an exquisitely dressed and decorated elephant.. or you leave the ceremony - on elephant back .. carrying you both along the beach and into the sunset ...
Weddings are a speciality at most major Sri Lanka hotels and resorts where they all have an amazing choice of national 'themed options' (besides the traditional inclusions such as champagne, wedding cake etc. )with many of the themes based on a traditional Sri Lankan wedding and buffet with Kandyan costumes and tailored saris.
The traditional Sri Lankan "Poruwa" (marriage) ceremony takes about 40-50 minutes and proceeds as follows:
Firstly the bride and then the groom are brought to the ceremony from their room(s) via a colourful procession along with Kandyan drummers and traditional dancers leading the procession . If it is in the evening the use of flaming torches adds a spectacular touch to the procession.
Traditional Sri Lankan wedding ceremonies are usually officiated over by a 'Gurunnanse' or "Master of Ceremonies" ( MC) who then invites the couple up to the marriage platform (Poruwa) by blowing on a conch shell.
In accordance with ancient Sinhala customs the platform is covered with a white cloth and has rice, herbs, coins etc. placed on it to bring good luck and blessings to the couple. The corners of the Poruwa have decorated pots with oil lamps, providing protection and blessings to the couple.
The couple then proceed with the ceremony exchanging not just vows - but also a small sheaf of betel plant leaves that are exchanged 7 times - an ancient tradition signalling their love, bond and unity will last for 7 generations.
The bride and groom then have their index fingers tied together with a gold chain and then their bound fingers are bathed in water by the MC who also chants special blessings from God. This acts to officially symbolise the marriage. After the couple have exchanged rings they then offer each other milk, rice and water - a symbolic pledge to care and protect each other for life. Wedding songs are then sung to celebrate the marriage by young girls dressed in traditional saris.
After this the newlywed couple step down out of the Poruwa amidst the rhythmic chanting and drumming of the 'Raban' by the Kandyan drummers. (This is done to inform the guests that a special occasion is taking place.) As they do this a coconut is broken open to bless them with children (this can be changed if needed... !) The couple then light a traditional oil lamp (which is done with all important occasions in Sri Lanka) to symbolise the light of hope as well as success in a new life.
After this the register is signed by the couple and their witnesses. Leaving the ceremony many couples opt for the ornately dressed elephant ride through the resort gardens or along the beach. (This is rather limited however as it is usually through/along the resort gardens as beach access is limited for this part at most resorts.)
Note that in many cases beach weddings cannot be provided by many of the hotels as for logistics and insurance purposes the ceremonies are performed in the grounds of the hotels .
For your wedding we would suggest you do NOT bring traditional heavy English style clothing but rather opt for local materials - silk, cotton or linen is smart - or even a sari - both very stylish as well as being totally practical and much better suited to the tropical climate. However if you chose to marry in the much more temperate and elevated hill country around Nuwara Eliya you can use western style clothing as it is much cooler and more temperate.
We generally recommend specific luxury hotels and or unique boutique resorts in the Benetota, Mt Levina and Negombo area, Kandy (magical!) or even Sigiriya, and for a glimpse of the old British Raj - Nuwara Eliya in the hill country.
If you do not necessarily want your wedding in a hotel or resort grounds your wedding can be set up as special event in a unique setting - but we do recommend that staying at luxury resort or boutique accommodation nearby is essential both for logistics and to complete the occasion.
And - why not combine your Sri Lanka wedding with a honeymoon in the nearby (3 hours away) Maldives ?
SO - call the team to discuss how we can help you with your wedding and honeymoon - the event of your life!