It’s wedding season so it’s a hot topic! Are you considering getting married abroad?
Organising a wedding can be stressful, confusing, tiring and above all, expensive – especially for those who want to travel to exotic places. In reality, weddings can be as simple and affordable as you choose to make them.
If you don’t already have your wedding planned out in minute detail and are perhaps still early into your wedding-planning journey, take a look below. We’ve listed some of the many wedding options available to you – you might just learn something that changes your plans!
Getting married abroad vs. getting married in the UK
Regardless of personal preference, there are so many options available to tailor your day and create something special. Take the time to list the priorities for your wedding day, taking into account any external factors which may affect your decision.
Most often the deciding factors come down to cost and logistics. It’s easier to plan when you can visit locations, suppliers and venues in person.
Don’t let the initial shock of planning an overseas wedding intimidate you. There are professionals whose speciality is to provide assistance when planning weddings in foreign countries. So if it ever seems a bit overwhelming, consider hiring a wedding planner to help you with the paperwork.
Below we’ve listed some of the advantages and disadvantages of planning a wedding abroad that might help you make a more informed decision.
Advantages of getting married abroad
It’s a vacation
An overseas wedding can give your guests the perfect excuse to get away from it all, even if it’s just for a little while. Guests will be more sociable, relaxed and eager to mingle with others.
Less competition for venue hire
Getting married in the UK often sees couples competing for those extra-special wedding venues. Popular venues might ask you to pack up immediately after a ceremony to make space for the next couple. This can make the days leading up to a wedding extra stressful. Getting married abroad opens up thousands of new venues to choose from, making it less likely that your dream venue will have already been booked out on your wedding day.
Disadvantages of getting married abroad
Attendance is difficult
The distance and the overall extra cost of travel and accommodation can be a major put-off for guests, especially those with children. Some important guests might find it difficult to attend.
Logistics can be a nightmare
Language barriers, time-zone differences and a lack of face-to-face communication makes organising supplies much more difficult. You can alleviated some of these difficulties by hiring a local wedding planner to handle part of the responsibility on your behalf.
How much does a wedding abroad cost?
A survey of 2,800 couples conducted across the UK in 2021 revealed the average cost of a wedding to be roughly £31,974. The same survey showed that the biggest costs to consider on the day were venue hires and catering.
The same doesn’t hold true for weddings abroad however, in fact, some reports state that getting married abroad costs far less, as little as £15,000.
In these examples, the main costs couples had to contend with were travel, accommodation, and – depending on country of origin and destination – the exchange rate.
Of course, you may belong to the newer generation of couples who turn up their noses at tradition and opt for a simple civil wedding. There’s certainly an appeal to the idea that the sentiment is far more valuable than any grand display of affection. So, if you’re more concerned with life after marriage, a court-house wedding can be arranged for as little as £200.
Best places to get married abroad
There are plenty of places across the world that make perfect destinations for overseas weddings. Some might visit a location they’re familiar with, while others see marriage as an opportunity to discover something new. If you’re undecided, here are some of our top picks:
The Amalfi Coast
The Amalfi Coast is often overlooked as most think of it as a honeymoon destination. It’s also a perfect wedding destination with mild weather, excellent food, and not as expensive as other parts of the Italian coast.
Santorini has some really stunning views. There are a multitude of unique, exciting venues to choose from.
The people of Santorini are also one of the reasons why it’s so popular, with exceptional service and local cuisine.
Algarve is a short 3 hour flight from the UK, found in Portugal’s southernmost region. This area is known for its perfect summer weather, making it a great spot for overseas weddings.
Dodge the summer crowns by travelling in the Autumn, temperatures are lovely in October and you’ll get better prices on travel and accommodation.
The Lady of the Rock clifftop is one of the top wedding destinations in the region, boasting an amazing view right beside the sea!
What you need to know about weddings abroad
Marriage laws vary from country to country. Some countries only permit residents to be married within their borders. Others dictate what type of ceremonies are permitted and who may carry out said ceremony. Many Eastern European, Central African and Middle-Eastern countries are not LGBT friendly.
It’s worth asking the embassy or consulate about any legal requirements before booking.
For example, in France you must first attend a civil ceremony at a local council office and obtain a marriage certificate before you can book any religious ceremony.
If you get married abroad, your marriage will be considered valid in the UK, so long as both parties meet UK legal requirements to marry.
Depending on your chosen destination, you need to be very careful that you don’t accidentally enter into a prenup! Some countries, such as Taiwan and Brazil, allow couples to enter a statutory matrimonial property regime by simply ticking a box on their marriage certificate. This would still be legally binding in the UK and may affect your ability to make claims later.
You will have to ensure you have the correct official documentation to have your wedding in another country. This includes birth certificates, any divorce documentation and, in some cases, a certificate of no impediment (CNI).
Always contact the local consulate or embassy for details. Certain documents might require to be legalised, authenticated or translated.
After the ceremony be sure to obtain several certified copies of your marriage certificate locally, as these can be difficult to obtain from the UK.
Our tips for planning a wedding abroad
Between travel, accommodation, catering and other costs, weddings abroad can quickly become expensive. You might want to consider a destination where your money might stretch a little further.
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Many forget to take into account the hidden costs involved when exchanging one currency for another.
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