Are you dreaming of a romantic beach wedding in a tropical paradise? Look no further than Vanuatu, a breathtakingly beautiful island nation in the South Pacific. With its palm-fringed beaches and clear waters, vibrant Melanesian culture, and endless guest activities, the 83 islands of Vanuatu offer the perfect backdrop for your holiday wedding. And the capital of Vanuatu, Port Vila, is just a three-hour flight from Australia’s east coast!
But, we get it, planning a destination wedding can seem overwhelming at first, especially if you’ve never visited your country of choice. That’s where we come in! As your ultimate guide to getting married in Vanuatu, we’ll help you navigate the legal requirements, find the perfect Vanuatu wedding venue, and bring your destination wedding dreams to life. From intimate beach ceremonies to luxury resort celebrations, we’ll cover all the essentials so you can focus on creating unforgettable memories with your loved ones. So, let’s start planning your dream wedding in paradise!
How do I get married in Vanuatu?
Couples from Australia and around the world can legally marry in Vanuatu, providing they follow a few easy guidelines. Let’s get into them now (and don’t forget, your wedding planner can always help guide you through the process).
Legal requirements for getting married in Vanuatu
Before you start planning your dream wedding in Vanuatu, it’s important to understand the legal requirements. You’ll need to provide the following documents and ensure you are both in Vanuatu at three days before your wedding (no hardship there!):
- Valid passports
- Birth certificates
- Decree absolute (if divorced)
- Death certificate (if widowed)
- Deed poll (if name changed)
- Parental consent (if under 21 years old)
- Certificate of No Impediment (CNI)
The CNI is a document issued by your home country’s embassy or consulate in Vanuatu, stating that you are free to marry. This must be obtained at least a month prior to your wedding date. It’s important to note that these requirements may vary depending on your nationality, so it’s best to check with your embassy or consulate for up-to-date information.
Choosing the perfect wedding venue in Vanuatu
Wondering where you can get married in Vanuatu? How about a volcano? That’s right, Vanuatu offers a wide range of stunning wedding venues, from secluded white-sand beaches to luxury yachts to five-star resorts to private islands — and, yes, even an active volcano! On the island of Tanna, the Mt Yasur Volcano offers a unique and unforgettable ceremony location for adventurous couples.
For a more quintessential island wedding experience, look to the main island of Efate, home to the colourful hub of Port Vila and the widest selection of wedding venues in Vanuatu. Or try the laid-back island idyll of Espiritu Santo (just under an hour’s flight north of Efate), home to the famous Nanda Blue Hole and some of the best diving sites in the world as well as a selection of wedding-perfect destinations. If you are looking for the best wedding venues in Vanuatu, we have this fabulous guide!
Accommodation options for you and your guests
Vanuatu offers a range of accommodation to suit all budgets and tastes, from luxurious beachfront resorts and boutique island hideaways to thatched-roof farés (bungalows) and budget-friendly guesthouses. If you want your wedding party to stay close, there are plenty of opportunities to house everyone together in a hotel or resort setting. Some venues also offer a ‘buyout’ option so you can book the whole place as your personal Vanuatu playground.
Planning your wedding ceremony and reception
Once you’ve chosen your venue and accommodation, it’s time to start planning your wedding ceremony and reception. Vanuatu offers a range of options for both, from traditional Melanesian ceremonies to modern Western-style weddings.
If you’re looking for a traditional Melanesian ceremony, consider incorporating a custom dance performance, local flowers or a kava ceremony. The Ni-Vanuatu people are known for their warm hospitality and love of celebration, and these traditional customs will add a unique and authentic touch to your wedding. For a more modern Western-style ceremony, your planner can help choose the perfect flowers, decorations, and music to create a memorable atmosphere.
Whichever way you choose to celebrate, you and your guests can indulge in a highlight of any trip to Vanuatu: the food! The local cuisine blends fresh South Pacific flavours with French influences for a delicious modern fusion. Yum!
Your dream team: wedding vendors in Vanuatu
Vanuatu has a community of talented wedding vendors to help make your special day perfect — from florists and photographers to caterers and musicians. Let your venue or planner be your guide when it comes to locking in local vendors or start scrolling to find a creative that aligns with your style.
Activities & attractions for you and your guests
Vanuatu is a top spot to create a wedding weekend or week-long holiday filled with local activities, attractions, and adventures. So, naturally, Vanuatu is also perfect for a honeymoon! There are so many things to see and do in Vanuatu. You and your guests can explore the stunning beaches and rainforests, island-hop your way around the archipelago, experience the local culture and cuisine, and so much more.
Here are just a few ideas for your Vanuatu wedding or honeymoon itinerary:
- Snorkel & dive the region’s stunning coral reefs.
- Explore the lush rainforests, waterfalls & famed ‘blue’ swimming holes.
- Visit a traditional village for a taste of local culture.
- Shop the local markets of Port Vila or Luganville (on Santo) for traditional jewellery and handicrafts, colourful sarongs, French-style pastries and local Tanna coffee.
- Get muddy with a super fun off-road buggy or quad bike tour.
- Sample the delicious local cuisine, including fresh seafood and tropical fruits.
- Picnic on the beach (Champagne Beach is a goodie) or gather for cocktails by the pool.
Our sister magazine, Holidays for Couples, has a comprehensive travel guide to Vanuatu which we really recommend reading!
Budgeting for a Vanuatu destination wedding
Holiday weddings don’t have to be more expensive than local weddings (in fact, with smaller guest lists and great package deals, they’re often cheaper!). With careful planning, you can have your dream wedding in Vanuatu without breaking the bank. Just remember to factor in the following:
- Venue rental fees
- Accommodation for you and your guests
- Wedding planner fees
- Catering & beverage costs
- Floral & decoration costs
- Photography & videography costs
- Travel & transportation costs for you & your guests
- Marriage licence & legal fees
- Honeymoon costs
It’s important to work with your wedding planner to create a budget that works for you and your partner, and to prioritise the elements most important to you.
Tips for a stress-free wedding planning experience
Planning any kind of wedding can be stressful at times but these tips will help create an easy and enjoyable wedding planning experience:
- Hire a wedding planner who specialises in Vanuatu weddings. This local knowledge can’t be beaten!
- Start planning early to secure your dream dates & avoid last-minute stress
- Prioritise the elements most important to you
- Don’t be afraid to ask questions of your vendors
- Make time for self-care & ask for help from friends & family if needed
- Remember the most important thing: your love and commitment to each other
- Enjoy the journey!
Good to know: a few quick facts about Vanuatu
Vanuatu is an 83-strong archipelago with the capital Port Vila located on the largest island, Efate. The official languages are English, French, and Bislama (a kind of ‘pidgin’ English) and the currency of Vanuatu is the Vatu, with credit cards accepted in tourist areas such as Port Vila and Luganville, Santo. It’s recommended to have cash for more rural areas and markets. When is the best time to visit Vanuatu? Many would say the cool, dry season which falls between May and October but if you don’t mind a few showers, the ‘wet season’ offers great deals. In general, Vanuatu has a warm tropical climate with plenty of sunshine.
Why Vanuatu should be at the top of your destination wedding wish list
For a dream holiday wedding experience, Vanuatu offers the perfect combination of natural beauty, warm hospitality, unique cultural experiences, and island adventures. Oh, and you’ll love the choice of wedding venues and accommodation in Vanuatu, from boutique hideaways right on the beach to luxurious five-star resorts.
Whether you’re looking for a traditional Melanesian ceremony or a modern Western-style wedding, Vanuatu has something to suit every budget. You and your guests will treasure your time here, so why wait? Start planning your perfect Pacific island wedding with our guide to some of the best wedding venues in Vanuatu.