Always learning something new...

In order to help service my clients better, I am always working on educating myself and learning about new destinations. This month I decided to make it my goal to complete the Saint Lucia agent training program.

I cannot believe what this beautiful island has to offer. Ask me for more details on what you can expect to experience on your St. Lucian holiday!


It is official! I've become a Certified Destination Wedding, Honeymoon, and Romance Travel Specialist!


HALIFAX, NS., October 26 - Carina Shortliffe (I Do! Dream Destination Weddings by TravelOnly, Halifax, NS.) is now a Certified Destination Wedding, Honeymoon, and Romance Travel Specialist (CDWHRTS) recognized by the Destination Wedding & Honeymoon Specialists Association (DWHSA).

As a DWHSA member, Carina completed all requirements for this designation, including a certification exam covering the basics of planning and managing all types of romance travel (from destination weddings and honeymoons to vow renewals, babymoons, familymoons, engagement trips, anniversary trips, and more).

"We're very proud of Carina's accomplishments," said Lisa Sheldon, DWHSA's executive director. "She deserves her well-earned designation as a dedicated travel professional who continues to enhance her education on romance travel, and her new certification is further proof that she can plan once-in-a-lifetime romantic getaways for every couple who works with her."


Formed in 2013, the Destination Wedding & Honeymoon Specialists Association (DWHSA) is the world's largest network of romance travel professionals, with more than 750 agents in North America and around the world engaged in planning and selling destination weddings, honeymoons, and romantic getaways. More information is available at

Legal Marriage Requirements for Your Destination Wedding Mexico

Part 4: Mexico


Mexico is probably one of the most labour intensive and rule restricting countries to get legally married in when compared to most other Caribbean countries. Couples looking to legally marry in Mexico will need to ensure that the following documents be officially translated into Spanish and notarized:

  • Valid passports

  • Tourist cards given at airport on arrival

  • Birth Certificates

  • Divorce decree or death certificate of previous marital partner (if applicable)

  • Four witnesses over the age of 18 with passports, birth certificates, and tourist cards

  • Locally performed blood tests an chest x-rays

  • Bride and Groom must arrive in Mexico at least 4 working days prior to the wedding date

Mexican Embassy Contact: (416) 368-2875

Mexico Tourist Board Website:

Destination Wedding Mexico

Legal Marriage Requirements For Your Destination Wedding Jamaica

Part 3: Jamaica


Visitors to Jamaica can be married just 24 hours after arrival, provided a prior application has been made for the marriage license. Couples residing in Quebec would need a notarized and translated English copy of all documents accompanied with photocopy of original French documents.

  • Proof of Citizenship

  • Certified copy of both the bride and groom's birth certificates, which include the fathers' names

  • Divorce decree or death certificate of previous marital partner (if applicable)

You can contact the Jamaican Tourist Board for more information:

Toll Free: 1-800-465-2624 / Fax: (416) 482-1730

Email: [email protected]

Or you may contact the Jamaica High Commission:

Tel: (613) 233-9311 / Fax: (613) 233-0611

Email: [email protected]



Legal Marriage Requirements For Your Destination Wedding Dominican Republic

Part Two: Dominican Republic

Dominican Republic

So you have been thinking about getting married in the Dominican Republic! Congratulations! You have chosen a very beautiful and popular country for your destination wedding. Couples looking to legally marry in Dominican Republic will need to provide the following documentation:

a) Proof of Identity: a valid Canadian passport, a birth certificate that includes the names of the parents, and the tourist card received upon entry into the country;

b) Statement of Single Status: you will also need to obtain a sworn affidavit attesting to your single status. This document must be submitted in the Spanish language and legally certified. This can be done prior to leaving Canada by visiting the Embassy or one of the Consulates of the Dominican Republic. You may also visit a notary public in Canada to make this declaration, then have the document translated into Spanish and legalized by the Embassy or Consulates of the Dominican Republic;

c) Divorce Papers: if you are divorced, you must also submit original copies of your divorce papers, along with a Spanish-language translation of the documents. The translation must be legalized by the Embassy or one of the consulates of the Dominican Republic in Canada. Please note that under Dominican law, women who have recently been divorced must wait a minimum of nine months after the finalization of their divorce before they can remarry. This regulation applies as well to Canadian women wishing to be married in the Dominican Republic;

d) Death Certificate: if you are widowed, you will need to present an original copy of the death certificate of your deceased spouse, translated into Spanish and legalized by the Embassy or consulates of the Dominican Republic; and

e) Change of Name: if you have legally changed your name, you must submit original documents to the Embassy or consulates of the Dominican Republic for legalization.

Prior to departure, all above documents must be translated into Spanish, legally certified by a professional, and legalized by the Embassy or one of the consulates of the Dominican Republic in Canada.

Additional Notes:

There are no residency or waiting periods for legal marriages in the DR; however, some resorts have a minimum requirement so they have enough time to prepare for your wedding.

Witnesses: You will require two witnesses. If you are bringing the witnesses along with you they will require their passports. If you are planning on eloping, the hotel can provide you with witnesses.

For further information, please contact the Embassy or consulates of the Dominican Republic.

Embassy of the Dominican Republic to Canada

130 Albert Street, Suite 418, Ottawa, ON, K1P 5G4
phone: 613-569-9893
fax: 613-569-8673
email: [email protected]

Dominican Consulate in Montreal
1470 Peel St., Suite 263, Montréal, QC, H3A 1T1
(514-284-5455 / 1800-563-1611 / email: [email protected]

Dominican Consulate in Toronto
2 Adelaide St. W., Suite 302, Toronto, ON, M5H 1L6 
Phone: 416 369 0403 / 416 369 1685/ email: [email protected]


Legal Marriage Requirements for Your Destination Wedding Cuba


Have you already chosen a destination for your wedding? If so, you'll want to make sure that you familiarize yourself with the marriage requirements at your destination. In this four part blog we will be laying out the requirements for the most popular destinations for Canadian couples. If you are planning a wedding in a country that is not listed please contact us and we can provide you with the information your require on your specific destination.

If you haven't already decided on a destination perhaps taking into consideration the marriage requirements at different destinations will help you to make your choice. The requirements differ significantly from destination to destination.

Part One: CUBA


Cuban Tourist Board

1200 Bay Street Suite 305, Toronto ON, M5R 2A5

Tel: 416-362-0700


Cuban Consulate Canada


If you have never been married before the marriage requirements for Cuba are relatively simple.

All you'll need is:

  • A passport that is valid throughout your stay
  • A tourist card (which you'll receive through the tour operator) and;
  • A sheet that lists the following: names, home address, occupations, level of education, nationality, and the full names of your parents, living or deceased.

You will attach a copy of the photo page of your passport to this sheet and will be required to fax or email copies of all documentation to your hotel in Cuba at least three weeks in advance of your arrival. This will all be coordinated through the wedding planner at your resort.

If you or your partner have been married before you'll require (in addition to the valid passport and tourist card):

  • If divorced: his/her Birth Certificate and Certificate of Divorce;
  • If widowed: his/her Birth Certificate, Certificate of Marriage, and Certificate of Spouses' Death.

Have your birth certificate and any divorce/marriage/death certificates translated into Spanish and certified by a notary public and legalized by the Cuban consul in Canada (service fee applies).

Additional Notes

  • You are required to be in the country for a minimum of 72 hours.
  • Be sure to bring all your original documents with you.
  • Your marriage will be formalized in the name stated on your passport. Your passport must therefore be correct and the name on your passport must match that on all your other documents.
  • After your wedding, your Marriage Certificate will be couriered at the hotel’s expense to the home address on your documents. Your marriage is legalized by the Canadian Embassy in Havana and the Cuban Foreign Affairs department.

For more information, contact the Cuban Consulate in Toronto or Montreal.

5353 Dundas St. West, Suite 401
Etobicoke, ON M9B 6H8
Tel: (416) 234 8181
Fax: (416) 234 2754
Email: [email protected]

4542-4546 Decarie Boulevard, Montreal, Quebec. H3X 2H5
Tel: (514) 843-8897 / 843-7559 / 843-1063
Email: [email protected]
Jurisdiction: Quebec, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, Newfoundland/Labrador

Destination Wedding Cuba

Real Brides, Real Destination Weddings: Kalyn & Andrew January 2014

Kalyn & Andrew Married in a Cuban Paradise!

Iberostar Laguna Azul  Varadero, Cuba

I would like to begin this blog by saying thank you to Kalyn and Andrew for allowing me to start my new "Real Brides, Real Destination Weddings" blog off by sharing their destination wedding story!

I was lucky enough to have connected with Kalyn about a year and a half go on an online destination wedding forum. We were to be married at the same resort only a few months apart from each other. As a new destination bride myself, unfamiliar with the challenges that destination weddings can present, I relied on Kalyn's experience. We shared our wedding plans, ideas, and tips through the entire process. Here we are almost 8 months post-weddings and although a lot has happened to both of us, including the fact that I started I Do! Dream Destination Weddings, we still maintain a connection and share our life adventures and our love of travel.

So thank you Kalyn for not only helping me out with this first blog, but for also helping me maintain my sanity throughout the wedding planning process!

Now without further ado...

Kalyn and Andrew were married at the beautiful 5-star Iberostar Laguna Azul in Varadero, Cuba. For those of you who have been to Cuba, you can understand how easily that country can capture your heart. So it wasn't surprising to me when I asked Kalyn how she and Andrew decided on a destination wedding, that she replied...

"From the very moment Andrew proposed on that beach in Cuba, we said this is where we will be married".
Beach Wedding Iberostar Laguna Azul

Kalyn and Andrew met at a mutual friends party in April of 2005 but nothing came of it until later that year when they both began working at a local clothing store. Kalyn and Andrew instantly hit it off this time. They both knew that there was something about one another that was different from their past relationships. After many years of dating, getting to know each other, and going through the good and bad times together, Andrew finally  proposed on January 24th, 2012 in Cuba on the beach.

Shortly after they returned from their vacation, they knew they would be returning to the beaches of Varadero and the Iberostar Laguna Azul to say their "I Do's"!

Bridesmaid dresses Cuba
Real Brides, Real Destination Weddings

When I asked Kalyn what her favourite memories from their wedding were, she replied...

"when we finally got to see each other at the aisle on the beach. As well as the time we spent alone taking photographs at the Varadero Golf Club... it was a time where we were able to enjoy each other for an hour out of our day.

She also mentioned that their week long celebration was a blast and that family and friends still rave about how much fun they had in Cuba for their wedding week!

Wedding Photos Dupont Mansion Varadero Cuba
Wedding photos Varadero Golf Club

Varadero Beach, Cuba

I asked Kalyn if she could give one piece of advice to couples who are either thinking of a destination wedding or are in the beginning stages of planning, what would it be?

She replied that she would...

"encourage new destination wedding brides to take a deep breathe and let everything fall into place. Don’t stress about not hearing back from the wedding coordinator, they work last minute but they know what they are doing. Everything was perfect and done beautifully for our wedding".

 Lastly Kalyn mentioned that if she were to change one thing if she were to plan the wedding again it would be...

"to not send RSVP’s with stamps with our wedding invitations. You will hear who has put down deposits from your travel agent, which is an RSVP. We only received about two RSVP’s in the mail and we sent out over 100 invitations".

Destination Wedding Iberostar Laguna Azul

Photographer: Alex Quesada  Cuban Wedding Photographer and Videographer

Resort: Iberostar Laguna Azul

Destination: Varadero, Cuba

Colour Scheme: Royal Blue and Purple


How to Choose a Destination Wedding

Congratulations! You have decided on a destination wedding. Your next step is to start thinking about where you'd like to say your “I Do's!”. For some couples this will be an easy decision. You may choose the destination where you met or a destination that has special meaning to you. For others this could be the biggest, most difficult decision you will make throughout the entire wedding planning process.

For those of you who didn't meet somewhere special, have never been anywhere together, or just want to choose a new location altogether, here are some points to consider when making your decision.

1) Length of Travel/ Time to Arrive at Destination

Take into consideration the length of time it takes to arrive at the destination. Are there direct flights or will you be required to transfer flights? Choosing a destination that has short flight times, direct flights and short transfer times (from airport to resort) makes it more appealing for guests to attend. It also means more time at the destination rather then spending your precious vacation time in transit.

2)Time of Year of Travel

You dream of being married on the white sand beach of Mexico on your anniversary in October. This sounds lovely and romantic, but it is important to know that hurricane season in Mexico runs from June to November with the highest incidence of hurricanes occurring in September and October. If you are willing to take a chance on the weather then you will likely be able to take advantage of some great rates. Other couples may decide to rethink their wedding date and/or destination in order to ensure the best possible weather. This is where doing your research and working with a knowledgeable destination wedding specialist will really come in hand.

3) Wedding Venue

Have you always envisioned walking barefoot down the beach or was your dream to walk down an aisle in a large castle? When we think of destination weddings we often picture a beach wedding; however, a destination wedding can be celebrated anywhere in the world and if your dream is to marry in a castle then perhaps somewhere in Europe would be a better fit.

4) Cost/ Budget

I always recommend having a budget in mind before deciding on a destination. If you have an unlimited budget your options are endless and you can choose a destination anywhere in the world! If you are on a budget there are many budget friendly destinations to choose from including the Caribbean, Jamaica, Dominican Republic, and Mexico. Your departure gate will depend on which destinations will provide you with the best value for your budget. Again this is when working with a knowledgeable and experienced wedding specialist will come in hand for you.

5) Marriage Requirements

Lastly and most importantly, you may want to take into consideration the legal requirements for a marriage ceremony at the destination. Every country has their own set of rules that you must follow. Many countries will require you to be in the country for a minimum duration before they can legally marry you (i.e. Jamaica requires a minimum of 24 hours while Cuba requires a minimum of 3 days). Most countries will also require copies of your birth certificates and these may or may not have to be translated into the official language of the country. If you or your fiance have been divorced there are also additional requirements that may need to be addressed. As you can see there are many things to consider when it comes to marriage requirements. Please stay tuned for my next blog on the “Specific Marriage Requirements for Canada's Top Destination Wedding Destinations”!


Is a Destination Wedding Right for You?

Let me guess... you are envisioning the white sand squishing between your toes, your veil blowing in the warm breeze while you walk down the aisle towards your husband-to-be with the sun shining and the turquoise water shimmering in the distance.

Sure this sounds idyllic and romantic. And you are probably excited and ready to jump right into the wedding planning. But have you thought about the logistics of a destination wedding and what it means for you and your guests?

There are a number of things you should consider before deciding if a destination wedding is right for you. I have compiled a list of things to think about, drawn from my personal and expert experience, which I hope will help you make the decision!

1) Ensure your reasons for having a destination wedding are in line with your expectations.

Think of the reasons why you want to have a destination wedding. Is it that you are thinking a destination wedding will be stress-free and less expensive than a traditional wedding? Is it that you and your fiance met at the destination? Does the destination have special meaning to the two of you?

Destination weddings can bring about their own challenges that may cause some stress including objections from friends and family or the stress of trying to plan from a far with vendors where there may be language barriers. And although destination weddings can be less expensive than a traditional wedding it is often because you have less guests attending, not necessarily because the wedding venues or vendors are less expensive. The good news is you can typically make a destination wedding as inexpensive or costly as you'd like.

2) Discuss your plans with your parents and important family members and friends who are on your “must attend” list.

It is important to discuss your plans with your parents and most important family members and friends to ensure that they will be able to attend. You may (or may not) encounter objections from these people and you need to make sure that you will still be happy with your decision even if those people can't attend. Keep in mind that when you have a destination wedding you are asking a lot of people in terms of time and money.

3) Understand that not everyone will be able to attend your wedding.

More often than not when couples announce their decision of a destination wedding to family and friends everyone is on board and so excited for the couple. Don't be disappointed when it comes time to put down deposits on the vacation package and you find that a number of those guests tell you they no longer can attend. Not to say that this will happen, but from personal and expert experience I have found this to be a common trend. But don't take it personally. As we stated above you are asking for people to take time off of work, use their vacation time, and spend a significant amount of money for your wedding. It is not that they do not want to attend, it is most likely a mix of the logistics of getting time off of work, time away from family, and finances. Keep in mind no matter what happens you and your fiancé are there to celebrate your marriage union and you will have the most amazing time with the friends and family members who do attend.

4) Let go of control and relax!

For “A” type personalities planning a destination wedding can be difficult. You will most likely be planning from a distance and will not have complete control over your wedding details. You will have to leave those details to your local wedding coordinator. If you can let go of the reigns and go with the flow though you will have an amazing stress-free and beautiful wedding! And don't worry, you will still be able to add your own personality and finishing touches to the wedding!

5) Have a back up venue / plan for your wedding ceremony.

When we envision a beach wedding we usually see a picture perfect day with the sun shinning and not a cloud in the sky. However, it does rain in the Caribbean. By doing your research and choosing to travel in the “dry” season will help you to limit your chances of rain. Some couples choose to “chance it” and travel during the rainy season because you can often receive great value on your travel packages during this time. We always recommend choosing a resort or venue that has a back up plan in case of inclement weather. This way no matter what mother natures has in store for you on your wedding day you can guarantee yourself an amazing wedding day. It will also help to eliminate any last minute stress if you have a back up plan in place!

If you are still reading this and thinking that a destination wedding is for you, then congratulations!!! You have just made the best and most exciting decision! Destination wedding are special and are amazing experiences for not only you but also your family and your guests! You will not regret your decision and you are well on your way to creating lasting memories of a lifetime for you and your family!

Is a Destination Wedding Right for you?

Cuban Wedding