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5 Things You Need To Know For A Wedding In Cuba

Jun 4, 2008
Everyone wants their wedding day to be special, unique and memorable, and weddings abroad are growing more frequent as young couples seek to avoid rainy days at home and seek out the most idyllic spots to say their vows. For those who like the sound of a Caribbean beach wedding, the natural choice is the island of Cuba. The island is so beautiful that plenty of newlyweds are tempted to spend their honeymoon in Cuba as well!

Some people are daunted by the thought of organizing a wedding abroad, but it doesn't have to be so difficult. Here are 5 of the most important things to get right for the perfect wedding in Cuba.

What you need

First, the boring part - paperwork. It may be the last thing you want to think about, but if you miss out a crucial document your day could be ruined! For a wedding in Cuba, the bride and groom both need to have:

- Copies of passports and birth certificates
- Details of their education, home address, employment and the full names of both parents

If the bride or groom is divorced or widowed, they need to have their Certificate of Divorce or their original Marriage Certificate and former spouse's Death Certificate. These need to be translated by the Cuban Consul, and the original copies taken to Cuba when you go to get married. Copies of these documents need to be faxed to your hotel three weeks before your arrival in Cuba.

Also, be sure to note that you need to be in Cuba for at least 72 hours before the ceremony begins, so use that as an excuse to arrive early and relax on the beach for a few days before your wedding in Cuba.

Where to get married

For most couples looking to plan a Cuban wedding, there are two clear choices - the city or the beach. Despite the temptations of a sunny beach ceremony, Havana can be a vibrant and romantic setting for a wedding in Cuba. Getting married in Havana can be like stepping back in time, with old fashioned cars and handsome colonial architecture. Despite the fact that Communism and religion have rarely got along very well, Havana has numerous beautiful stone churches that can be the perfect venue for a wedding in Cuba.

Those who want to get out of the city and have a Caribbean beach wedding will be spoilt for choice. Varadero is the most popular beach resort in Cuba, but Cayo Coco, Cayo Guillermo and Guardalavaca are all fine choices as well. Wherever you go, you are likely to find white sands, blazing sun and balmy tropical weather. But on the subject of the weather...

When to get married

The last thing you want on your wedding day is for it to pour down with rain. This is a problem most people expect to deal with if they are getting married in the UK, but not for a Caribbean beach wedding! It's an easy mistake to assume that Cuba is blazingly sunny all year round; as a subtropical country, it is subject to periodic bouts of torrential rain. The rainy season runs from May to October, and the island sometimes suffers hurricanes during this time as well.

You don't need to worry too much - even in the height of the rainy season in the wettest parts of the country there's rarely more than 7 rainy days a month. But for the best chance of a clear day for your wedding in Cuba, you might want to consider the 'shoulder months' of April or November, when it will still be hot and sunny but the chance of rain is greatly reduced.

What kind of dance

The married couple's first dance is one of the most memorable parts of any wedding, and choosing one of the many Cuban dances will add a little Latin spice to the occasion. There are plenty of styles to choose from, but most couples will be drawn to either Rumba or Salsa.

Guaganco Rumba is an overtly sensual dance where the man tries to 'catch' the woman with a vacunao, which is usually a flick of a handkerchief or a pelvic thrust. If you'd prefer something a little more genteel, Rumba Yambu (often know as "old people's Rumba") is a slower and more traditional way of dancing. For those who want a dance that is relatively simple and great fun, Salsa is the way to go. Whatever dance you choose, be sure to invest in a few lessons beforehand to make sure that you are up to scratch for your wedding in Cuba.

What to do on your honeymoon

If you travelled halfway round the world for your wedding, you might well consider staying for a honeymoon in Cuba as well. If you got married on the beach, a romantic city break in Havana can provide the perfect contrast. Of course, if you held the ceremony in the capital, it's the perfect time to find a cosy getaway on the coast.

For couples who want a more adventurous honeymoon in Cuba, swimming with dolphins, salsa holidays, horse riding and diving are all popular activities on the island. You might even want to time your trip with one of Cuba's big festivals, such as the Havana Jazz Festival in February or the Santiago de Cuba Carnival in July.

Whether you want the perfect beach wedding or a romantic honeymoon, a visit to Cuba can give you an experience to remember for the rest of your life.
About the Author
Emma Lelliott is the general manager of Captivating Cuba, an independent Cuba holiday specialist. With offices in Havana and the UK, Captivating Cuba can help you tailor-make the perfect wedding in Cuba.
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