For those who want to get married in a warm and tropical climate surrounded by the beauty and peace of a clear blue ocean, Fiji is the perfect location. There are many beautiful beaches on Fiji's 300+ islands that couples can choose from, plus the temperature doesn't vary much between the seasons. The average year-round temperature in Fiji is 25°C (77°F). So whether you want a June or a December wedding, you don't have to worry about the weather becoming cold. And even in the summer months, the thermometer rarely climbs above 32°C (90°F), so it doesn't get unbearably hot, either.
Since Fiji is in the Southern Hemisphere, the seasons are reversed. Summer lasts from November through April, while the winter months are May through October. It is warmer, but also rainier and more humid in the summer months. Many people consider the drier and cooler Fijian winter, to be the best time to visit the islands. However, this is also Fiji's peak tourist season so the prices for airfare and accommodation peak as well, especially in June and July.
Many people imagine a Fiji beach wedding as the ideal location to get married, but you can also choose a rainforest location or other spot. Many hotels and resorts have wedding chapels on their grounds and cater to couples who want to marry in Fiji. And even if you're already married, you can have a "renewal of vows" ceremony. Wedding packages usually include a photographer, flowers and a wedding coordinator.
Requirements and information on obtaining a Fijian marriage license
Weddings in Fiji are legally binding and recognized in most countries. Those coming from overseas locations who are planning to marry in Fiji are required by law to obtain and sign a marriage license at the nearest marriage registry before getting married.
Required documents for the wedding license:
Original birth certificates of bride and groom
Valid passports from each individual
Divorce papers if applicable (if divorce was finalized in the last five years, the individual must confirm current marital status)
Death certificate if a previous spouse died
Parental consent if one or both individuals are under the age of 21
Catholic weddings require a letter of freedom, along with Baptism certificates, sent 2-3 months in advance to the Fijian priest
A certificate of single status or certificate of no legal impediment is required to be produced by (those who have visitor visas are excluded, except for those who were previously married and finalized the divorce in the last five years, as they would have to confirm current marital status) :
Marriage applicants who are former citizens of Fiji
Marriage applicants who are not citizens of but are residing in Fiji
Marriage applicants where one individual is a Fijian citizen and the other is a citizen of a foreign country
Asians who are not citizens of the United States, Canada, United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, Japan and any European country
Girls must be at least 16 years old to obtain a marriage license, while boys must be at least 18 years old.
Consent from the father of the applicant if under age 21, or mother if the father has died or cannot be located.
Applicants who are Japanese citizens are required to produce the KOSEKI-SHOUHON to certify their personal details.
Those from Asian countries, including China, India, Korea, Pakistan and the Philippines are required to apply one month in advance, and both individuals must obtain police clearance and other additional translated personal documents.
Currently, the marriage license fee is $25.00 in Fijian dollars, though this can change. The application for a marriage license takes place at the District Office, which is open weekdays (excluding public holidays) from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Appointments usually last around 15 minutes.
Applicants must marry within 28 days of the date that the license was issued. If they are not married within the 28 days, they can return the license in the envelope provided with it.
The marriage certificate, which must be signed to make the union official, may take about 15 days to arrive after the ceremony.
Special license and apostle stamp
A special license is required if the marriage is to be performed by a Minister of Religion or at a location other than the District Offices or the Registrar General. It is recommended that appointments should be made one to two days in advance. It is valid within 28 days of the date that it was issued, and the cost of a special license is slightly lower than that of a regular marriage license.
Certain individuals may also require an apostle stamp on their wedding certificate. The estimated cost to obtain one is $150.00 in Fijian dollars, though this can change.
Same-sex marriage in Fiji
In short, Fiji doesn't allow or recognize same-sex marriages or civil unions. Also, it is strongly recommended for gay and lesbian travelers to Fiji to not display their affection toward each other in public. In 1997, Fiji became the second country in the world to protect against discrimination based on sexual orientation in its constitution. However, the Fiji Constitution was abolished in 2009 because of another military coup. Since 2002, the law expressly bans same-sex marriage. This is when the Marriage Act was amended to read as "union of one woman and one man to the exclusion of all others."
In 2006, the Fijian High Commissioner in New Zealand confirmed that there is now a policy to not arrest gay men for consensual acts of intimacy. Furthermore, since February 1, 2010, private, adult, consensual and non-commercial male and female homosexual conduct is legal under the Crimes Decree 2010. However, discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity is not banned by Fiji's law until today. In April 2013, Attorney-General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum stated that a new Constitution, which is expected to be finalized in 2013, would ban discrimination based on sexual orientation.