Why You Should Elope to Djerba, Tunisia
Updated: Jan 20
Are you looking for a destination elopement location? Are you looking to spend your big day somewhere a bit more off the beaten track? Somewhere idyllic but unusual? Djerba, l'ile des Reves 'the Island of Dreams,' in south-eastern Tunisia, has everything you could want with sandy beaches, year-round sunshine, exotic culture, a variety of epic backdrops, local cuisine, adventure, and more.
Where is Djebra, Tunisia?
White Sandy Beaches
Imagine saying 'I do' to the love of your life, barefoot on the soft, warm sand of a palm-studded beach, against a backdrop of the gently-lapping Mediterranean Sea and blue, North African skies. You could even arrive at the venue via a camel or horseback ride along the beach. Djerba is a small island with epic white sand beaches, yet you're also minutes away from epic sandy dunes - how cool to get both in one setting!
While the island of Djerba is situated in the Mediterranean, it has the same desert climate as the Tunisian mainland, meaning that it receives only ~200mm rain annually, and the temperatures generally stay in the double digits year-round. This means that you can be pretty confident that your day won't be a washout, and you can leave the raingear at home.
An Infusion of Local Culture
The island is known for its ceramic center of Guellalla, and you'll see the ubiquitous large amphorae for storing olive oil all around the island, as well as tagines and other earthenware items that would make for great venue and table decorations. Similarly, you will see colorful, ceramic tiles, literally everywhere in Djerba : on walls, floors, tables, bathrooms, gateways, etc. It would be easy and affordable to incorporate some authentic local flavor into your wedding and dinner (or reception if your elopement has guests) venue to create something unique to your day. Add a little extra cultural flair and energy, with a Raqs sharqi (belly) dancer or a traditional performance by Berber horsemen.
Unique Wedding Photos
A Djerban beach-setting will provide you with a sultry backdrop that changes by the hour. The softness of the morning light gives way to vivid blues and stark whites as the sun reaches its zenith, before sinking gently towards a classic, hazy, Djerba sunset.
If you want a bit more grit and a rustic feel, heading inland from the coast, you'll find a dusty-landscape, full date palms, olive trees, and fruit groves, providing you with numerous authentic rural settings. Alternatively, there are countless local villages full of white-washed buildings and traditional domed roofs that could give a unique flavor.
Head to Djerbahood in the center of the island for a pop of culture and color in your photos. A fabulous blend of street art and colorful doorways, with swathes of purple bougainvillea around every corner, you'll be sure to create the perfect soft and romantic and edgy and arty shots with your new spouse.
Speaking of edgy, if Star Wars features prominently in your lives, you could even incorporate the saga into your wedding-day memories by heading down to Ajim, where scenery and buildings are preserved from the filming of the first trilogy.
Delicious Local Food
Tunisian cuisine is a fantastic blend of delicious but light and healthy food that many Mediterranean countries seem to have mastered. We're talking couscous, spices such as cumin, seafood; tomato-based sauces like ouija, the classic spicy harissa; and fresh produce like olives, tomatoes, and dates bursting with flavor and maybe the best you've ever tasted. Your wedding-day dinner will be immensely satisfying but not expand your waistline or make you sick (the various 'belly' maladies that threaten to ruin your stay in other countries is not a thing here).
We all know that 'back home,' the price of a service gets an extra '0' added on the end of the usual price once it becomes a 'wedding 'service, such as bridal hair, nails, and make-up. In Djerba, you'll easily find a qualified local beauty consultant and hairdresser who can make you look fabulous, using quality, often European, beauty products but at regular prices.
Planning a wedding is often stressful, even if you're planning to elope and avoid a lot of the hassle. A spa is just the place to head to soothe your mind and body before the big day or even to unwind afterward, perhaps with a romantic couple's spa day or massage. Djerba is known as a thalassotherapy destination. Thalassotherapy spas use seawater and sea products such as sea salt, mud!!, kelp, seaweed, and algae in their skin and hair treatments, weight loss, and relaxation therapies.
Start Your Honeymoon Right Away
After the nuptials are over, you can either continue to enjoy the island pace of you could take the romance further by escaping to the desert for a night or two. Imagine you and your lover alone, with a bottle of champagne, looking out across the Saharan dunes as far as the eye can see. The sun makes its quick descent to the horizon, sending out all the colors of dusk and ever-lengthening shadows. Then, after the sun has disappeared, the sky darkens further and becomes pin-pricked by millions upon millions of stars, each appearing super-sharp in the desert air. Instead of a hotel, your bed for the night could be a glamping-style desert tent or the cool, comforts of underground troglodyte house.
Maximum 40 Minutes from the Airport
The island of Djerba is one of the largest in the Mediterranean but is still only about 25 x 20 kilometers (12.5 x 15.5 miles) in diameter. This means that door-to-door, your journey time from Djerba–Zarzis International Airport, in the north-west corner, to your accommodation will be a maximum of 40 minutes by taxi.
Marriage Laws in Tunisia
Non-Tunisians are permitted to marry in Tunisia, subject to them completing the right paperwork in advance. Check with your country's embassy for what exactly you need. You'll have to have all the required documents translated into Arabic or French by an official translator, and your wedding certificate will be issued in Arabic. However, a French translation can be provided by the registrar. You would later need to obtain a formal reading back into your native language to register your marriage in your home country.
If you live in the US, we suggest completing your marriage license at home before or after your elopement. View it as a paperwork, and consider the exchanging of vows as your actual wedding day. This way, you have the freedom to elope wherever you'd like without the paperwork getting in the way.
Tips For Eloping In Tunisia
-While the western-style dress is acceptable island-wide, it still has a predominantly Muslim culture. Be considerate of this when heading to local towns and villages and avoid revealing clothing (that also means shirts on men).
- The bright yellow taxis are cheap, reliable, and run on a meter, or you can negotiate a price upfront if you'd prefer (handy if you want to book your driver for a day of sightseeing around the island).
- Leave room for souvenirs. The souks and markets are packed with crafts made by local artisans at low prices. Earthenware and textiles are particularly predominant, though do your research if you want to find something authentic or unique. If the store has signs saying 'prix fixe,' then you generally can't haggle the price. If not, then go for it!
- Always check opening hours of shops and attractions before you set out, particularly around weekends and Ramadan.
Are you looking to have an epic destination elopement? Check out these other places to elope, including Italy, Bali, South Africa, Santorini, and more! If you live in the US and you would like a domestic destination elopement, check out places to elope in colorado and locations to elope in Washington state.
This blog post was guest written by Claire Garner check her out on IG at @onplanetclaire