Since 2009, foreign tourists (or non-residents) can get legally married in New Caledonia provided they comply beforehand with a few administrative procedures.
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Wedding in paradise
Young Japanese author Katsura Morimura was so entranced by the idyllic setting and warm welcome she received in Ouvéa, she entitled her bestselling novel, published in 1966, The Island Closest to Paradise. Her romantic legacy lives on and many Japanese couples come here to hold a “symbolic” wedding service. Chapels have been created in magical settings to offer young couples picture-perfect photo opportunities! But visitors from abroad can also get married perfectly legally in New Caledonia. Under the Law of 27 May 2009, foreign couples can be married at a civil ceremony while on a visit to New Caledonia, and they now no longer need to prove a month’s residence in the municipality where the wedding is held.
The “tourist” wedding ceremonies
The future bride and groom simply need to file an application with the Townhall Records Department. The application must include the following documents:
- a letter, dated and signed by both parties and addressed to the mayor, requesting him or her to implement the provisions of article 58 of Law no. 2009-594 on a date specified by the couple;
- a complete and current copy (including previous marriages, divorces...) of each party’s birth certificate;
- a certified photocopy of proof of identity for each party;
- the name, first names, date and place of birth of each party’s mother and father, their addresses and professions;
- the name, first names, date and place of birth of the witnesses (at least two), their addresses and professions.
A wedding tailored to your tastes
An officially approved translator will be present at the ceremony, held in Nouméa Townhall’s gracious wedding hall, so that the young couple can follow the proceedings in their native language. Once married, the newlyweds simply need to go to the Consulate of their own country for a certified transcription of their marriage certificate. The Nouméa Townhall team are on hand to make your day perfect: special decorations, your own playlist, live streaming of the ceremony... all you have to do is ask.
French visitors to New Caledonia can also get married under the provisions of the law if they can provide proof of one month’s residence in New Caledonia. But then a month’s holiday in glorious surroundings is a pretty good way to start your married life!
A tropical wedding
The Isle of Pines, the other “island closest to paradise” is also a favourite destination for Japanese couples intent on holding a tropical “wedding” amidst stunning scenery to fill their photo albums with lavish photos capturing their special day forever. Picture-perfect Ilot Maître, floating on the lagoon just off Noumea, also boasts a chapel providing visitors with an idyllic setting for exotic wedding photo opportunities.