Today on the blog, we continue our series on getting married on island colonies in the Caribbean. This time we’re going to look at Getting Married in Saint Barthelemy. Christopher Columbus added St Barthelemy, or St Barts, to his collection in 1493, but the French soon stepped in. Today, the chic Caribbean island, officially a department of France, is a popular winter getaway for people from mainland France, the rest of Europe and North America. Beachgoers can choose between beaches such as Grand Saline, if nude sunbathing appeals, or shady, isolated Colombier Beach.
Much like other french island colonies, Getting Married in Saint Barthelemy is usually done as a wedding celebration after a civil ceremony in the country of residence has already been performed.
To acquire an actual marriage license issued by St. Barthelemy you need: Birth certificate (or copy with raised seal), Letter of Good Conduct (including certification of “single status”), Residency Card (one of the couple must have resided on the island at least one month), Medical Certificate (including blood test) issued within 3 months of marriage, Certified French translation of English documents. A “Bulletin de Marriage” is delivered at ceremony.
If the couple are Roman Catholic and want to bring a minister onto St Barts, they need to seek the permission of Pere Numa. If the couple are Anglican/Episcopalian and want to bring a minister onto the island, they need to seek the permission of Rev Charles Vere Nicoll, St Barts Anglican Church.
In Saint-Barthélemy, the climate is tropical, hot all year round, with a relatively cool season from December to April, called “the Lent”, and a hot and humid season from May to November, called “the Wintering”. Despite the name, the latter is a sultry period, characterized by many sunshine hours, but also by showers or thunderstorms, especially in the afternoon. Because of the lack of mountains and rivers, there is a certain shortage of water available, so the water is collected from the rain, desalinated from the sea, or obtained from incinerators.
The people of St Barts are conservative and proud of their ancestry. Tradition awakens in the great moments of family life: birth, baptism, First Communion, engagement, marriage or funeral. During the 19th century, when the St Barts regained a semblance of normal life, young men discreetly courted young girls under the chaperone’s eye. For all the joyous occasions we took out the accordion, the tambourine and the maracas and a little neighborhood ball was improvised where we tasted the traditional “ti-sec”, the roasted pancake or the “potato pudding”.
For Sunday masses, romantic weddings and processions, we wore the beautiful toilets. The traditional costume is always honored for the patronal feast and folklore events. A few years ago, you could still come across ladies wearing the traditional headdress.