Destination Wedding: Malta
Couples from the US and Europe are increasingly choosing to make Malta travel plans in order to wed on the Mediterranean island. The main island of Malta and its adjacent islands of Gozo and Comino offer beaches, world-class resorts and restaurants, cathedrals and other sites. The island’s climate features nearly 3000 hours of sun during the year, with hot, dry summers and pleasant winter weather, making it a perfect choice as a wedding destination.
The traditional Malta wedding customs of previous centuries had fallen out of favour in recent decades but are now seeing a revival. Typically the bridal couple led a procession of family and friends from the bride’s home to the ceremony location, shielded by a canopy carried by four men. Singers made up part of the processional, warbling romantic songs to the bride and groom. The bride wore a gnonnella, or a hooded cloak, as part of her traditional bridal wear for the ceremony. Following the ceremony, the wedding reception included gnana, or folklore music and dancing. Today, large crowds of tourists view a traditional Malta wedding each May in the village of Zurrieq.
If a couple desires seclusion after their wedding, Gozo is a great place to escape and perhaps rent a yacht. Destination wedding resorts offer romantic places to get married, relax at a spa and enjoy a luxurious dinner for two. A popular beach, Ghajn Tuffieha, also known as the Riviera Beach, is located on the northwest side of the island. It boasts a world-class sandy beach minus all the usual tourist attractions that’s especially secluded during the winter months. Biking tours around the island are an option for more active couples.
Wedding guests might enjoy the Blue Grotto. This area of underwater caves located near the village of Zurrieq on the south side of Malta shimmers in amazing shades of blue as the sunlight reflects off the water for several hours each morning. It’s also a popular diving location on the island. The Simar Natural Reserve near Valletta is a restored wetland that provides a habitat for a number of different wild birds. If guests prefer historical sites, they can visit the Roma Villa museum in Rabat or the World War II shelter where citizens sought protection from daily bombing raids.
Shopping in Malta can range from the Casa Castelletti Gallery for gifts and souvenirs in the walled city of Mdina to open air markets in Valletta or on the island of Gozo that sell everything from food to clothing and jewelry. Dining on the island offers alternatives ranging from coffee shops, cafes and pizzerias to world-class restaurants known for Mediterranean or other cuisines.
Getting married in a Maltese wedding location isn’t difficult. Citizens of the US as well as most countries in the European Union are legally recognized as married when the ceremony takes place on the island. The couple doesn’t need to fulfill residency requirements before marrying, which is one reason the island is a popular place for a destination wedding. Some paperwork is required to make the marriage legal.
A couple wanting to marry on the island must submit or sign several pieces of paperwork before arriving for the wedding. These include:
– A request for the Publication of the Banns
– Declarations on Oath, signed before a Commissioner of Oaths
– Original long birth certificates for both bride and groom
– Free Status Certificate for a first marriage
– Decree Absolute and previous marriage certificates if either party is divorced
– Certification if either party is widowed that the previous spouse has died and the party has not remarried
– Permission from parents to marry if either party is under 18
– Certification if either party has changed their name
When the couple finalizes their Malta travel arrangements and arrives on the island, they must go to the Marriage Registry in Valletta to complete the paperwork.
A Malta wedding destination can be a wonderful way to celebrate a union with family and friends, enjoy a beautiful Mediterranean setting for the honeymoon and create memories that will last a lifetime. That’s why so many couples are choosing a Malta wedding destination.
Author info: Julia Smith is a freelance article writer for Malta.com.