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Top tips for getting married abroad

 Getting married abroad

Getting married abroad has always been the dream for your big day but it can also be pretty stressful to plan and organise the logistics of having your wedding in another country.

To make your dream as stress free as possible we’ve put together some top tips for planning your dream wedding abroad.

Top Tips for Planning a Wedding Abroad //


1. Weather

We all know how unpredictable the weather can be no matter what country your in but if you’re thinking of getting married abroad before you set the date be sure to check the rainy and dry seasons of your chosen destination.  The last thing you want is a raging monsoon putting a dampener on things or a severe heatwave melting your guests on your special day.

It may also be the difference between getting married and home or getting married abroad as choosing to get married in low season could be much more affordable putting your dream in sight.

Top Tips for Planning a Wedding Abroad //

2. Local Wedding Customs

Often getting married abroad means taking on the local customs of the town or country you’ve chose to marry in.  For instance Italian weddings are all day affairs that start at midday and end in the early hours with food and drink flowing throughout.  Make sure you’re happy with the flow of the day and it fits with how your envisaged your big day.

3. Cuisine

We know your wedding should be about you and what you want but unfortunately there are element when your guests likes and dislikes need to be addressed.  Therefore make sure that the menu on offer reflects the country your in as it should but choose dishes that will satisfy the majority to avoid disgruntled guests on your wedding day.

Top Tips for Planning a Wedding Abroad //

4. Accessibility

Before booking anything it’s wise to go research all elements of your big day including how accessible it will be for your intended guests.  Your first choice of location may be the dream but if getting there is difficult you may end up getting married with only a few of your nearest and dearest by your side.

Things to consider when it comes to travel and accessibility:

  • Are there direct flights?
  • Are they regular and affordable?
  • How far is it from the airport to the venue? 

5. Will your marriage be legal

Be sure to check the details of the marriage ceremony you have chosen under local law.  Each country has different laws and it may be that unless you are resident for a number of weeks or months that a legally binding ceremony is not available to you and the last thing you want is to find out your not legally married after everything.

You may also need to provide a number of documents to prove your are single and able to marry.  Our top tip leave no stone unturned when it comes to checking the laws of marriage in your chosen location.

6. The difference between venues home and abroad

Often venues operate differently in different countries and require payment for certain elements of your big day up front even down to paying for the alcohol for the entire day.  Check this when budgeting to avoid any nasty surprises.

Top Tips for Planning a Wedding Abroad //

7. Hire a wedding planner

A wedding planner no matter what the country can be invaluable but especially when you plan to get married abroad. A local wedding planner will know the local area and the best venues as well as being able to source key suppliers and liaise with them in the local language.  Choose an established English-speaking planner who has experience in your chosen region and understands the style you’re looking to create.

8. Visit the venues yourself

Although a local wedding planning can help source the top venues in your chosen region there are certain elements you will have to sort for yourself.  Once you planner has shortlisted a number of venues for you that fit the style of your proposed wedding you will have to go and visit them to be sure they’re for you.

It is vital you get a feel for the place like buying a new home and feel how big the space you’ll have so that you understand when it comes to layout, seating, accommodation and moving your wedding from day to night.

Top Tips for Planning a Wedding Abroad //

9. Book early & send Save the Dates ASAP

Like venues in the UK popular choices can get booked up years in advance.  This is also true of venues abroad.  The additional consideration here though is that if you have chosen to get married abroad and there is travel and accommodation to be paid for by your guests then they will need as much times as possible to plan financially to enable them to join you in your marriage celebrations.

Therefore if you want your family and friends to be part of your big day plan well ahead. As soon as you’ve booked the venue, send out save the dates and if you have venue details or can help your guests book flights and accommodation early doors this will be a huge help and save you lots of time on the phone answering all the possible questions your guest will have.

You may even want to set up a wedding website with all the details you have which can then be updated as your planning progresses to keep you guests informed throughout.  This also enables you to notify your guests of any changes or details they may need to know last minute.

Top Tips for Planning a Wedding Abroad //

Make planning your destination wedding as stress-free as possible…

10. Research your suppliers online

Although your wedding planner will help with preferred suppliers it’s nice to know who your dealing with and what to expect.  So before you officially book anything do your research online, read reviews look for pictures of the weddings they’ve been part of and check any social media accounts they have.

When you find suppliers you like create a relationship via email or Skype call where possible to ensure they understand your vision but also remember that when getting married abroad you will have to embrace some of the local ways that things are done.

Top Tips for Planning a Wedding Abroad //

11. Use Pinterest to communicate with suppliers

Pinterest can be a great way of creating mood boards for your suppliers so when the language barrier becomes too much you can express the vision for your big day visually.  This can apply for the majority of your suppliers including florists, cake designers, photographers, etc to give a clear picture of your tastes and style.

12. Create your invite list with care

It’s pretty much a given that your immediate family will fly out to celebrate your wedding day with you, they may even make a holiday of it.  However the same may not apply to your work colleagues.  On the other hand be careful not to over invite with the hope that some will fall by the wayside, you may be surprised how many people want to be part of your big day.

13. Watch out for extra costs

When sending payments abroad and transferring money there are often fees incurred including the headache of converting the currency and checking the exchange rates.  Take the stress away by choosing a specialist currency transfer service such as  Currency Fair, Transferwise or Revolute.

Top Tips for Planning a Wedding Abroad //

Avoid Last Minute Disasters…

14. Travel out ahead of your guests

Don’t just turn up at your chosen location a day or two before and expect everything to be as it should be.  Make sure you’re their at least a week in advance to finalise things and make any last minute decisions.  This will also enable you to grab a little down time and space to settle in before your guests descend and the madness begins.

15. Make sure you’re insured

There are always risks and unforeseen circumstances when making any plans but your wedding is one of those events that it would be good to ensure you’re covered should the worst happen.

Be sure to be covered for everything even down to an ‘act of God’ after all ash clouds and snow can happen!

16. Book tickets in your maiden name

Unless you’ve changed your name before you leave be sure to book everything in your maiden name to avoid the panic when you realise your tickets and passport don’t match.

Top Tips for Planning a Wedding Abroad //

17. Set aside budget for shipping & hidden costs

If you’re taking extra decorations on the plane or having items shipped across be sure to leave yourself enough time and be aware of an additional luggage charges or customs taxes.

Online items being sent direct to your venue may also take a little more time so allow for this.

18. Create a plan for your wedding dress

With your wedding dress being one of the most important parts of your wedding day after hours of shopping for your dream gown make sure there’s a plan for getting it your wedding location.  How will you transport it?  It may be that it will require a seat of it’s own or the cabin crew may be kind enough to hang it for you in their closet.

It may be that how you need to transport your dress will effect the fabric you choose (choose something that won’t crease easily or can be easily steamed before the ceremony.

19. Be prepared for questions

We want to help you avoid endless phone calls and texts requesting extra information from your guests.  So do your research create a wedding pack along with your save the date or invite or as mentioned before a website could be just the thing.  When getting married abroad and asking people to come along for the ride there really is no such thing as too much information.  Give away as much as possible to reduce your stress levels and those of your guests for a quiet time planning and during the build up to your big day.

Be sure to include accommodation options and costs, flight options, directions to the venue, local hairdressers and make up artists, restaurants, etc.

Enjoy your wedding abroad after all it should be the start of something amazing together

Hopefully our top tips will help you towards the wedding of your dreams with as little stress as possible.  As you can see however there are pros and cons to getting married abroad.  If only it was as simple as hopping on a plane and saying ‘I do’.

There is one thing we can guarantee though it will be well worth all the initial input, so do your homework plan your big day within an inch of it’s life and the more information you can give your guests the better to save all the questions.  Maybe our biggest tip of all before we leave you to start planning…. hire a wedding planner you won’t regret it!

Top Tips for getting married abroad //

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