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Thread: Civil Wedding w/o a Wedding Coordinator and other questions...

  1. #1
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    Civil Wedding w/o a Wedding Coordinator and other questions...

    Hello. This is my very first thread on any forumÖever. This website has been SO helpful with little tid bits of information about anything and everything (in my case, ďgetting married in ArubaĒ) to do with Aruba. Thank you to its members and administrators. If this thread is too long/detailed, I apologize in advance. I am not quite sure of forum etiquette.

    My issue is this: I am VERY much trying to handle everything with the civil ceremony at the City Hall myself. We are in Aruba Oct 5th Ė 10th (2011) with a planned wedding date of October 6th. I understand the convenience and the practicality of having a wedding planner in Aruba, but we are only having a ceremony at the City Hall and I feel that it should be possible to complete the arrangements without hiring someone to do it. I was able to get a hold of Mr. Christiaans and understand the process and how and when to get him the information he needs for us to be able to get married there.

    I have four main questionsÖ

    ONE: Has anyone ever successfully gotten married at City Hall without a wedding planner or a concierge at their hotel assisting them? I am staying at the Divi and since they have an onsite wedding coordinator it is my understanding I would have to go through them for assistance and they charge, for the civil ceremony alone, almost $500, while Mr. Christiaans tells me the fee (including English translation) is $150.00. We have scraped all our money together to get to do this wedding/honeymoon and to save where we can really means a lot.

    TWO: The greatest fear I have is the translation of the Marriage Certificate and not getting it. Mr. Christiaans said that there is a chance that we would be able to get it while we were still there, but if not I wasnít quite clear on how long it would take to get. I understand from reading other posts that it can be quite difficult to get in touch with City Hall, and I am not sure what I would do it if I had to follow up on it. Has anyone ever kept their Dutch certificate and had it translated back in the states? If not, is the translation handled through City Hall or a private company? If city hall, can you use a private company in Aruba in liu of City Hall?

    THREE: Witnesses. Any suggestions?? The wedding company at my resort offers to provide two at $40 per person, but I was wondering how plausible it would be to go about it a different way (although what way I have no idea.)

    FOUR: If you didnít gather, we are on a very tight budget. I have looked at several threads with amazing photographs from amazing photographers, but we arenít in need of more than an hour or so of time. We would like a few photos at the City Hall, and a few photos at the beach/beautiful Aruba background. Can anyone recommend anyone for this?? Possibly a photography student or assistant who does freelance on the side? Believe me, we would prefer not to skimp and take a hundred photos, itís just not in our budget.

    Again, thank you so much for this forum and taking the time to read all of my concerns/questions.

  2. #2
    Junior Member Dicentra's Avatar
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    Hi SaraO,

    Best wishes on your upcoming marriage! I got married in Aruba in September 2009 and had the civil ceremony. Iíll answer what I can.
    If you have already gotten in touch with Mr. Christiaans and set the date for the ceremony, you're doing really well so far.


    ONE: Has anyone ever successfully gotten married at City Hall without a wedding planner or a concierge at their hotel assisting them?

    Yes, I handled everything myself. We had the civil ceremony and also a beach ceremony. It was just us and my husbandís parents, so I didnít see the point in spending the money for a coordinator. Honestly, there was a time I wished I had hired someone on island, but everything worked out fine.

    TWO: The greatest fear I have is the translation of the Marriage Certificate and not getting it. Mr. Christiaans said that there is a chance that we would be able to get it while we were still there, but if not I wasnít quite clear on how long it would take to get. I understand from reading other posts that it can be quite difficult to get in touch with City Hall, and I am not sure what I would do it if I had to follow up on it. Has anyone ever kept their Dutch certificate and had it translated back in the states? If not, is the translation handled through City Hall or a private company? If city hall, can you use a private company in Aruba in liu of City Hall?

    I needlessly had the same worry about not getting it. If I recall correctly, we could have gotten the translated certificate before we left if we had stayed a few days longer. We got married on a Friday and left the following Tuesday, and I think we could have had it by Thursday. (I could be wrong about that.) Anyway, we received it in the mail (USA) about 5 or 6 weeks later, no problems. I donít know if you can have the translation done yourself, so Iím afraid Iím no help there.

    THREE: Witnesses. Any suggestions?? The wedding company at my resort offers to provide two at $40 per person, but I was wondering how plausible it would be to go about it a different way (although what way I have no idea.)

    We had my husbandís parents to serve as witnesses, but if they had been unable to attend, we had a half-baked idea to befriend some strangers at happy hour, buy them a few drinks and persuade them to be witnesses. Maybe not the best strategy since they might not show up. Thatís all I got for ideas. Sorry Iím not much help there either.

    As for photos, we didnít care about having professional ones, so my father in law took some pictures during both ceremonies and Mr Christiaans was kind enough to take some family photos with our camera.

    I found the most difficult parts were getting all of the necessary paperwork together and getting in touch with Mr Christiaans ( not faulting him, he is a busy man). It was completely worth it.

    Please let me know if you have any other questions or if I can elaborate on anything.

  3. #3
    Aruba since 1979
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    Andrea J.'s Avatar
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    i am so glad to see this post of how it can be done without any kind of assistance from coordinators.
    some folks really do need the coordinator and some do not.

    the translated document always seems to be the concern and by this most recent post, it was received within 6 weeks.

    for those that are having a larger wedding (more than just a few folks) then i heartily recommend an aruba wedding planner.
    check out the wedding section on this aruba.com site and see the list.

  4. #4
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    Dicentra!
    Thank you so much for your reply. You've given me hope!

    If we had our parents or a couple of friends going we would be doing the same as far as witnesses and photos, but at this point we are thinking a long the lines of hopefully befriending some other guests or possibly a couple of locals to be our witnesses and compensating them for their time. If worse comes to worse, I think we will be able to arrange to pay for them through our resort. As far as photos, I'm not giving up that we will be able to find someone who can help us with what we are looking for. <crosses fingers>

    One question about the translated certificate(s) you received...?
    Did you get both the translated English and the Dutch versions? How many pages are they?


    Andrea...I very much agree! If it were more than just us I am pretty certain I would have lost my mind by now.

  5. #5
    Junior Member Dicentra's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SaraO View Post
    One question about the translated certificate(s) you received...?
    Did you get both the translated English and the Dutch versions? How many pages are they?


    Andrea...I very much agree! If it were more than just us I am pretty certain I would have lost my mind by now.
    We received both, the original Dutch document that we signed during the ceremony and the translated English version attached to it. The Dutch version is 1 page and the English is 2 pages as it includes a stamp with a statement that it has been translated and also an apostille.
    Nobody ever questioned it when I presented it at various places in order to change my name, get on my husband's insurance, etc.
    We were also given a charming little white book to take with us the same day, the Trouwboekje (googled, it literally just means marriage booklet or certificate), with our names in it and spaces for the names of children. It's a wonderful keepsake but is not an official document in the US as it is all in Dutch and has no apostille.

    I also agree with Andrea that anyone having guests should hire a wedding planner.

  6. #6
    Senior Member Arubalisa's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dicentra View Post
    the English is 2 pages as it includes a stamp with a statement that it has been translated and also an apostille.
    So let's clarity for everyone, especially future brides...

    The marriage certificate which is translated to ENGLISH in Aruba is the one which has the APOSTILE.
    It is the marriage license you will use once back in the U.S. to show proof of marriage.

    If you simply took the Dutch certificate back to the U.S. and paid a translator in the U.S. you would not have a version with the APOSTILE and it would not be an official document.

  7. #7
    Senior Member photosbyjulia's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Arubalisa View Post
    So let's clarity for everyone, especially future brides...

    The marriage certificate which is translated to ENGLISH in Aruba is the one which has the APOSTILE.
    It is the marriage license you will use once back in the U.S. to show proof of marriage.

    If you simply took the Dutch certificate back to the U.S. and paid a translator in the U.S. you would not have a version with the APOSTILE and it would not be an official document.
    Arubalisa is correct. You need to get the Apostile on the English version of the certificate in order to change your name back home. The US Court House will not recognize a marriage certificate without a raised seal. Your photographer and videographer can be your witnesses.

  8. #8
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    Thanks to all for the info and help! Everyone here is so kind!

  9. #9
    Senior Member Karen Lutzker's Avatar
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    Aruba Civil House Translation

    Might I add that a couple I know that lives in the states had a problem with the MVB trying to change the name of the bride on her drivers license. She did have the Aruba translated document with the Apostle Seal, but that state did not consider the Aruba translated document legal or official. Therefore, the bride and groom had to go to one of the states approved translators and the translated document that they received in their state was official and was able to get the brides name changed on her drivers license. I think it would be a good idea if you live in the United States to check with your home city and state and find out if your translated Aruba marriage certificate is sufficient enough to do the necessary name change. Better to be safe then sorry.
    http://www.cayenaweddings.com
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