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Get Married Here

…a memorable place

When marrying, ask yourself this question: Do you believe that you will be able to converse well with this person into your old age? Everything else in marriage is transitory.
Friedrich Nietzsche

If you want an unusual place for your wedding, choose St Helena.

This page is in indexes: Island Detail

Get Married Here Saint Helena Island Info

Below: Who can and cannot get married herePhotosSome historyRead More

Who can and cannot get married here

While it is already perfectly possible for non-residents to get married on St Helena, at present there are a few restrictions in relation to where you can get married and who can get married. These were intended to be removed by the Marriage Ordinance 2016 (the first significant revision of this Ordinance since it was first enacted - in 1851!), but Legislative Council is having difficulty passing this Ordinance because it also extends full marriage to everybody, regardless of sexual orientation{1}, to which the Church and some religious-minded Legislative Council members object (see our Saints page to understand why this is).

The Marriage Bill was first debated by Legislative Council on 11th December 2016, but Legislative Council became confused about its responsibilities and the bill was withdrawn.

Following a period of Consultation in late 2017, in which a petition was widely circulated by leading Church-members opposing same-sex marriage, but was only signed by 5% of the resident population, on 5th December 2017 Executive Council decided to re-present the 2016 Marriage Bill to Legislative Council for discussion on 19th December.

We will update this page when we have new information.

So at present, you can only get married in either a Church or in The Castle, and only if you are heterosexual - one man and one woman.

If the Marriage Bill is passed you will be able to get married in any place licenced for the purpose - expected to include the island’s more interesting hotels and other historic buildings - and marriage will be open to everybody.

If you want to get married in St Helena under the current restrictions you should first contact the Tourist Office.

Wedding party in the Charabanc Saint Helena Island Info Get Married Here
Wedding party in the Charabanc{a}

Photos

At present, whether you get married in The Castle or a church, the normal place to take the wedding photos is Castle Gardens, but this was not always the case. Here are some example older wedding photos:

1911 unknown location Saint Helena Island Info Get Married Here
1911, unknown location

1911 Homagee wedding Saint Helena Island Info Get Married Here
1911, Homagee wedding

1941 St. James’ Saint Helena Island Info Get Married Here
1941, St. James’

1970s Consulate Reception Saint Helena Island Info Get Married Here
1970s, Consulate Reception

Some history

Until the middle of the 19th Century people were married here exclusively by the Governor, on simple payment of a fee. The couple could then hold a service in church if they so wished.

In 1847 Robert Gray was appointed by the Anglican Church as Bishop of Cape Town, and hence the island’s Anglican Bishop. One of his first actions was to challenge how marriages were arranged here. Bishop Gray argued that licences were issued indiscriminately and wanted to impose Anglican Church rules on all marriages. This was not acceptable to the Government. The dispute continued until sometime between 1852 and 1857 when it appears a compromise was arrived at; the Church could marry people without the Governor marrying them first, but those seeking marriage outside the church could still seek marriage by the state. This is more-or-less the position today, except that today non-Anglican churches can also marry people; if your church has twelve householders you can apply to marry couples.

You can download and read the 1851 Marriage Ordinance.

Official marriage records began in St Helena in 1849. The Church may have kept records before that. If you want to trace old marriages, see our page Family & Friends.

19th Century wedding photo (bride on the right) Saint Helena Island Info Get Married Here
19th Century wedding photo (bride on the right){b}

Read More

More stories on our page Read articles about St Helena.

Article: Same-Sex Marriage - The Facts

Issued by the Equality & Human Rights Commission, published in the island’s newspapers 3rd November 2016{2}

E&HRC Logo Saint Helena Island Info Get Married Here

There has been, and almost certainly will be more passionate discussion about the subject of the proposed Marriage Bill that should go to LegCo on 09.12.2016. These are the facts: Our Constitution states that the people of St Helena are committed to government in partnership with the UK, to democratic principles and the promotion and protection of fundamental human rights and freedoms (preamble, letter l). While the Constitution does not specifically refer to a right to marriage by same-sex couples, it does state at section at section 14 that Every man and woman of marriageable age (as determined by or under any law) shall have the right to marry and found a family. It does not say that a man and a woman must marry each other, but that they as individuals have the right to marry. I would say that when you read this with section 5 of the Constitution, then you have it: same sex couples should be allowed to be married.

Section 5 protects the fundamental rights and freedoms of every individual. These rights exist for everyone without distinction of any kind, such as sex, sexual orientation, race, colour, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, association with a national minority, property, age, disability, birth or other status, so long as those rights do not stop other people from exercising their rights.

This means that same-sex couples should be afforded the same opportunity to be married if they so wish. Why? Because marriage is a passport to a lot of things that otherwise you would need lots of pieces of paper to achieve the same result. For example, the automatic right to inherit property on the death of your spouse, rights to make decisions as next of kin, etc. If our councillors do not wish to allow marriage to same-sex couples but would want to extend to them the protections that marriage covers, then the councillors would need to revise many of our Ordinances - this would be a long and expensive process, an unnecessary expense when this small change the Marriage Bill can address this quickly and cheaply.

Under the Marriage Bill proposed, no church will be forced to conduct marriage services if they do not wish to, nobody will be forced to attend the wedding and it goes without saying that nobody can be forced to marry anyone they do not want to marry. So allowing any couple the right to marry does not interfere with anyone else’s rights.

In fact research has shown that there are benefits for everyone. Research shows that gay and lesbian people experience higher-than-average levels of stress and mental health problems as a result of legal discrimination and social exclusion, particularly when that discrimination and exclusion occurs in a core institution like marriage. Studies confirm the highest risk group are young gay and lesbian people for whom legal discrimination and exclusion can contribute to suicide. There is also a growing body of research showing that married partners, including same-sex married partners, are, on average, healthier, happier and longer lived than their cohabiting peers, or singles.

Allowing same-sex couples to marry may boost the economy through expenditure on weddings, and an increase in overseas visitors coming to St Helena to marry. There are many Saints who have left the island because they have not felt able to be the person they are; their talents are needed here. Many of their friends and family miss them and our community is the poorer for their absence. Not recognising and valuing them in their diversity is in effect a breach of their right to private and family life.

There are so many reasons why same-sex marriage is a good thing, everyone has a right to live fulfilled and happy lives. Nobody should be denied that right.

This website supports equality in marriage Saint Helena Island Info Get Married Here
This website supports equality in marriage

Closing Humour Saint Helena Island Info Get Married Here

Laugh at funny Get Married Here humour LOL Saint Helena Island Info

A reference to the unusual Nicknames encountered on St Helena.


Credits:

{a} Corker’s Tourist Services

{b} Hilary Maidment, 3rd Great Granddaughter of James Ellick.



Footnotes:

{1} As required by our Constitution and by various Human Rights Treaties.

{2} Reproduced for educational non-commercial use only; all copyrights are acknowledged.



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