THE TRUTH ABOUT GETTING MARRIED ABROAD
Lots of couples choose to get married abroad these days and this can be for any number of reasons. Sometimes its a special place that drives you across the pond, it's often cheaper than doing it in the UK, or perhaps you want guaranteed sunshine (remember nothing is guaranteed, my brother got married in Rome in September and it rained ALL DAY!). Whatever the reason, a wedding overseas can be amazing but there are three things we think are worth considering before you make the final decision – legality, cost and planning.
Photo: Cristiano Brizzi of Facibeni Fotografia
The legal requirements for a wedding are different in every country and vary in time, cost and complexity so you need to thoroughly research the requirements if you want to get legally married abroad. Allow yourself plenty of time to do this and be aware that you might even have to be in the country for a certain number of days before you’re eligible to get married.
An easy way round this is to get married in the UK and have a blessing abroad. Once you take the law out of it you can do the blessing however you want. In fact, your guests need be none the wiser that it isn't a legal ceremony if you follow the conventions of a UK civil or religious wedding service. However, this also gives you the freedom to get married in the way you want to because you have no pesky laws to follow.
Getting married abroad can often be cheaper than getting married in the UK, you’ll find you can get a lot more for your money but do factor in travel and accommodation not just for you but for your guests.
Now we’re firm believers of doing what you want to do on your day but let’s face it, wedding politics exist and not everyone will be happy with your decision (whether they have a right to an opinion or not) but you can avoid ‘weddinggate’ if you spin things the right way from the start. If you’re getting married further afield than a long weekend then you’re eating into your guests holiday allowance and budget. Its worth thinking about making the days around the wedding more affordable by paying for some activities for your guests or perhaps even offering to cover some accommodation costs. People will be grateful that you’ve thought about their needs as well as your own and it will make them more appreciative of their invite. Sure its a slight hit to your wedding budget but the beauty of doing it abroad means you've got more money to play with anyway.
Another option is to keep it small and invite only your nearest and dearest and then have a party with everyone else when you're back on British soil. Doing it this way means no one can guilt trip you for using up their holiday allowance and you get two celebrations!
You know how planning a wedding is up there in the top ten most stressful things you can do in your life, well try planning one abroad. In many cases you don’t know the area, you might not speak the language and what is cheap for locals could come at tourist prices for you. A lot of venues will have a dedicated co-ordinator and wedding packages but if you want something a little more bespoke it is a good idea to hire a wedding planner. Yes, of course we’d say that, but you will cut out so much stress and time of trying to do the legwork yourself. Either look for a UK based planner or one in the area where you're getting married and they'll be able to make the whole planning process run a lot smoother so you avoid last minute hiccups.
Getting married abroad can be a great experience, for everyone. And if you’ve got your heart set on it then go for it, just consider the above first to make sure its the right option for you without being too stressful to plan.