Civil Partnerships Abroad
An informative article about the ins and outs of getting a civil partnership while travelling abroad.
Getting civil partnershipped abroad
Ever since Civil Partnerships became a legally binding union and increasing number of people are jetting off to the far-flung corners of the world for the dream wedding they thought they might never have. However, it's important that you check the legalities of civil partnerships at your chosen destination.
The ins and outs
Weddings abroad can be a tricky business, especially if you're not sure if it you will be legally recognised as a couple in your own county. It's advisable to keep in touch with the Foreign Office about the legal issues concerning where you choose to get married - it might not even be legal there. As for whether it will be recognised as legal in the UK, Schedule 20 of the Civil Partnership Act 2004 lists the countries currently recognised by the UK.
At the early stages of the legislation countries such as Belgium and The Netherlands were among the first to be included in Schedule 20.
While the list of countries in the world where you can have a civil ceremony is growing, there are still currently only 16 countries listed in Schedule 20, and that includes only six US States, two Canadian Provinces, and the Australian State of Tasmania.
From 2010 same sex couples have been able to have full wedding ceremonies in Iceland, a legislation solidified in the eyes of the global community by the fact that Prime Minister Johanna Sigurdardottir, the world's first openly gay leader, married her partner.
Iceland may not sound like the first place to go for your wedding, but it's growing in popularity because it has some of the most spectacular scenery, incomparable to anywhere in the world, not to mention it's one of the best places in the world to see the Northern Lights. The Hotel Ranga is a four-star hotel about 100km from the capital Reykjavik; the only building for miles around, and you'll never miss a chance to sip champagne in a hot tub under the greatest light show on earth as the staff will happily wake you at any time of night for that rare opportunity.
It gets pretty cold in Iceland (especially with a constant wind blasting the country), so if you're looking for somewhere a little more hospitable you could try going to the Principality of the Valleys of Andorra, the sixth smallest country in Europe. It straddles the border between Northern Spain and Southern France. Nestled in the Pyrenees it is famous for its ski resorts where the winters are obviously very cold and the summers are cool but pleasant.
These are two of the places where your wedding abroad will be recognised as legal by the UK government but asking the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office about these places, or any other, is still very important so that you know exactly where you stand legally, and not just in front of the congregation for a very expensive party.