Why Couples Are Flocking To Belize To Say 'I Do' - Exclusive

After having to put weddings on hold due to living through the COVID-19 pandemic, couples are now ready to say I do in record numbers. In fact, The Wedding Report has estimated that 2.5 million weddings will take place in 2022, the highest number the U.S. has seen since 1984. And after almost two years of elopements and micro-weddings, couples want to go big when it comes to their special day. A recent survey by David's Bridal (via Destination I Do) found that 55% of respondents plan to pull off a destination wedding instead of staying local. 

"Due to the number of weddings happening in 2022 and 2023, couples are struggling to find available venues where they live, so by opening their searches to other locations, they're having more luck," Maggie Lord, head of wedding planning for David's Bridal, told Destination I Do. She added: "The pent-up demand for travel due to people being forced to stay home during the pandemic is a big contributor to the increase of destination weddings."

With so many places to choose from, finding the perfect destination wedding spot can be overwhelming. After all, you want a place that will not only offer a magnificent backdrop for your vows, but also have plenty to do for guests and options that will help your event stand out from the usual tropical ceremonies and receptions. 

For all of this — and more — many couples are flocking to Belize to say I do.

Belize is an easy trip for Americans

For U.S. couples who want to get married in paradise without making their family and friends travel too far, Belize is the perfect destination. It is only a short flight from the states, with direct flights from Miami, Dallas, Houston, Fort Lauderdale, Chicago, L.A., and Denver (via Island Expeditions). That means that guests can easily take a weekend off for your wedding and be back at their desks by Monday morning if needed. 

The couple getting married, however, should be mindful that in order to say I do in Belize, both individuals must be present in the country for a minimum of three days prior to applying for the marriage license, and you'll need your passports, birth certificates, divorced decrees/death certificate — if applicable — per the U.S. Embassy in Belize. But that extra time can definitely be a blessing. "This makes for the perfect opportunity to spend time exploring the jungles, enjoying the sun-soaked beaches, and relishing our unmatched amenities," Julie Kee, director of sales and marketing at The Belize Collection, told The List.

And once you land, there are no language barriers because Belize is the only English-speaking country in Central America (via USA Today). In addition, the country accepts U.S. currency, with a fixed exchange rate.

Couples can plan a one-of-a-kind experience

There is nothing cookie-cutter about getting married in Belize. As Shinellie Linarez of The Ellysian revealed to The List, couples can wed atop an ancient Mayan Ruin, on the sacred grounds of the Mayan underworlds, on a sandy island with azure waters as the backdrop, or on a coastal beach with the best proximity to both jungle and marine life.

Of course, the food is one of the most memorable parts of a wedding reception — and Belize will not disappoint. "Belize is a melting pot of cultures and the cuisine offers a truly authentic Belizean twist when paired with a majestic destination within the country for a wedding," explains Linarez. "Belizeans pay homage to their cultures through the varied cuisines within the country."

With that in mind, a wedding party can have an entire pig cooked beneath the ground and served with fresh handmade corn tortillas on a traditional fogon by a Mayan family, or serve farm-to-table fish in a coconut milk broth with local spices and herbs by a traditional Garifuna family. And others can choose to have a Creole family prepare game meat in stews with a side of rice and beans, fly plantains, and potato salad. When it comes to choosing what to serve to your guests, your imagination is the only limit!

Not sure where to start? Many hotels have wedding planners on-site to help you create the event of your dreams. 

There's so much to do in Belize

While Belize is known for its beyond beautiful beaches, the country has so much more to offer guests than relaxing in the sun — although there's certainly nothing wrong with that! Belize is also home to the only jaguar preserve in the world, has the second largest barrier reef in the world (via Britannica), and boasts the largest concentration of Mayan sites within Central America — with about 12 ruins total (per Slickrock Belize Adventures).

The country is dotted with over 400 islands — or as locals call them, "cayes" — so it's easy to island hop around Belize. Adventurous guests will want to pay a visit to ATM Caves, which is the top sacred cave in the world. "It is an extraordinary Belize adventure and a very rare opportunity to see ancient Maya ceremonial sites and altars as they were and are virtually untouched for centuries," Shinellie Linarez of The Ellysian explains.

Guests can also snorkel around the reef system or they can relax on the beach and bask under the rays of the Caribbean sun. And depending on the location, a visit to the Blue Holes — which has been declared a Unesco World Heritage Site — would be an absolute must. "There's an inland Blue Hole as well as The Great Blue Hole, and they are both completely unique to Belize," says Lizarez. "The Great Blue Hole is one of the most astonishing wonders of Belize and should definitely be placed on everyone's bucket list."

Belize is the perfect place to escape winter

Many couples planning destination weddings choose tropical locations for their idyllic weather. And Belize happens to be the perfect place to go since its ideal weather coincides with the harsh winter months in the United States. In fact, the best time to go to Belize is late November to mid-April during the country's dry season, where the temperatures are typically in the 80s, per USA News.

The rainy season runs from June to December, but travel through early August should be fine, with it raining primarily in the afternoon. Visitors should be aware that there is a risk of hurricanes in the region during mid-August through October — and some businesses even close during this time. If you want to save money, though, this is the time to book a trip to Belize — you will just have to keep a close eye on the weather and be sure to take out travel insurance in case you need to cancel.