Posting Banns

How to “post banns”

When we think of marriage, we may think about love, companionship and romance but let’s not forget that marriage is also a legal contract that binds two people together!

Like all contracts, there is an “offer” (typically made by the groom-to-be) and an “acceptance” (typically from the bride-to-be) and as such, there are legal aspects that go into the mix.

The easiest part is making the “offer” and getting it “accepted” but after that, many couples who visit www.trinidadweddings.com, tell me that they aren’t sure how to decipher the rest of the “legal stuff.”

Firstly, regardless of religion, all couples intending to marry, must “post banns.” This is a safeguard measure to find out whether either party may still be married to another person. Sometimes notice of banns appears in the newspaper.

Banns can also be posted (and sometimes read out aloud) in your place of worship. To “post banns,” both bride and groom–to-be, need to apply with valid identification cards or passports at their respective, closest District Warden’s office or at the Registrar General’s Department.

Both parties should apply on the same day or at least during the same week. The cost for this is TT$10.00 and banns will be posted for seven days. Persons who have been previously married need to provide a copy of the Decree Absolute to the Warden’s office personnel.

When you post banns, ensure that you both have correct information about each other on the Registrar of Marriages’ certificate e.g. ensure that middle names are not omitted and that full and correct addresses and occupation titles are given.

Errors will delay your process and you will have to re-fill the forms. A good idea is correspond via cell phone when going to “post banns,” so you can verify information with your fiancé(e) before writing on the forms.

On the eight day, you will need to pay another TT$10.00 to “take down the banns.” At this point, you will be given a marriage license. This license is valid for six months, so be sure you wed during that time, otherwise you will have to renew your license at the Solicitor General’s Office in Port of Spain, for a fee of TT$100.00.

After the ceremony (and once the witnesses have signed the papers), your officiant (Pundit, Priest, Reverend, Imam, Pastor etc.) will send your marriage papers to the Registration House of the Ministry of Legal Affairs. After your wedding (usually within 5-7 days), you will need to go there to collect your Marriage Certificate and pay TT$25.00.

Just for safe-keeping, you should make copies of this document as soon as you receive it. Remember that you’ll need to walk with the original marriage certificate if you would like to change your name on your bank account, passport, driver’s permit or for insurance purposes.