10 tips for planning a wedding abroad

12th January, 2016
With one in four couples now opting for a wedding abroad in conjunction with their honeymoon, destination weddings are now more popular than ever. However, should you be planning a wedding abroad of your own, there are a whole host of practicalities to consider before you even think about saying ?I do?. Whether you?re planning a stay at our luxurious riads in Morocco or a lavish ceremony at one of our French chateaux, our advice should ensure that you?re completely prepared for the wedding of your dreams.

Ensure the marriage is legal

With marriage laws varying between countries, it?s important to find out if it?s legal to get married in the country of your choice and if the marriage will be valid both in local and international law. If you?re dead set on a destination where you can?t get legally married, consider holding a blessing overseas instead, and a quick registry office wedding back in the UK to make it official.

Decide on a wedding package or a tailor-made special day

Once you?ve chosen your destination, the next step is to decide whether to opt for a wedding package, where everything is taken care of for you, or to make your wedding more personal by organising it yourself or with the help of a wedding planner. In order to create the best tailor-made wedding for the destination you?ve chosen to get married in, do your research and choose a local wedding planner who has expertise of planning weddings in that area.

Use your wedding planner to their full potential

If you choose to use a wedding planner, ensure your wedding planner does everything they can on the ground to help you secure your perfect weddings, from suggesting beautiful locations to arranging the logistics and booking the registrar.

Ensure you pick the right time of year

Flights and accommodation are easily affected by national holidays and festivals, meaning that during these busy times, a lot of things can become more expensive. Avoid the cost and try to plan your wedding just outside of the peak periods, when you?ll also have more choice and places will be quieter.

Consider the weather

If you?re planning on having an outdoor wedding, it?s crucial to choose the right season ? getting it wrong could mean wind, rain and storms in comparison to a sun-kissed paradise. In case of downpours, make sure you always have a back-up plan ready.

Check flight times

Check which days and times the major airlines fly to your destination, ensuring you leave at least 48 hours between when you land and your wedding day. This way, you?ll have time to adjust to your surroundings and make sure everything?s ready so your big day goes off without a hitch.

Check your airline baggage fee

Though most airlines will let you bring your wedding dress onboard as hand luggage, it will most likely be at an extra cost, so it is worth checking with your airline beforehand. Make sure you buy a good quality dress bag that can be hung or folded to minimise the chances of the dress getting damaged, and, if you have to check your dress in, ensure it is packed securely in a box and marked as fragile.

Keep a checklist of legal documents

Check that you?ve got all of the legal documents required for your wedding overseas, including visas if required, birth certificates and at least six months remaining on your passport. Some countries may also require a certificate of no impediment (CNI), as proof of your single status, when can be obtained from your local register office.

Buy wedding insurance

Alongside your regular travel insurance, it?s also important to make sure you?re covered for your wedding-related valuables such as the dress, rings and gifts in the event that they are lost or stolen. Also check the small print for the value you?re covered up to and details on the excess you?re required to pay.

Tie in your honeymoon

To save money and really get the most out of the place you choose to get married in, try to tie in your wedding and honeymoon together and see your destination wedding as a stepping stone to your honeymoon. Ensure you have plenty of time to relax after the wedding for your honeymoon, and enjoy the holiday of a lifetime!

Image: Merlin Phuket, available under Creative Commons