Wilder shores of love: Ready to tie the knot? First the red tape . . .: Getting married abroad

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ABOUT 8,000 Britons plan to marry abroad this year, a quarter more than in 1993.

Most popular destinations: St Lucia, Kenya, Jamaica, Barbados, Antigua, Seychelles, Mauritius, Florida, Bali, Fiji.

Documents you may need:

Full birth certificate (for some countries this must be translated and signed by a solicitor);

Full passport, and copy if necessary (10-year passport in some cases);

If divorced, your decree absolute;

If widowed, death certificate and previous marriage certificate;

'No impediment' certificate or affidavit confirming marital status;

Return air tickets to the UK;

Legal proof of your name if it has been changed by deed poll;

Certificate of 'intent to marry' from the British consulate/embassy in the country in which you wish to marry or from the Foreign Office in London (see number below);

Blood test or medical certificate.

If booking through a travel agent, allow 8-10 weeks for them to process documents. If you are organising it yourself, allow more time. The cost of legalising a marriage, including fees for visas and administration, should come to no more than pounds 70.

Residency laws vary from a day to several weeks. Check with a travel agent or the country's consulate.

Useful Numbers: Foreign Office Nationality, Treaty and Claims Department (071-270 4091).

Office of Population Censuses and Surveys General Register Office, Preliminary Marriage Section

(051-471 4200).

Most large travel agents have a weddings adviser.