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As the rain continues to pour in the UK, it is understandable that so many couples take their wedding to warmer climates. Many Brides decide not to leave any part of their big day to chance, so they opt for countries where the weather is more reliable – because no one wants to be soggy and wind swept on their big day!
• Alternatively people may choose to marry abroad because they want a smaller and more intimate ceremony, so only close friends and family travel over and then the wedding becomes a mini holiday too.
• Some people may choose to marry abroad because they have family who don’t live in the UK – this is a lovely way to ensure your family’s culture is included in your big day.
• Perhaps you and your partner had an amazing trip to a certain place, or you met abroad, and you would like to return there to make your vows.
• Maybe you have a certain theme which requires an authentic setting, which can only be found abroad.
Whatever your reason for considering a wedding abroad, there are certain things you should contemplate before booking your big day…
Research is Key
When thinking about a wedding abroad, research really is key to ensuring your day goes off without a hitch. The first thing is to consider is your budget, because weddings abroad can be expensive, especially if you consider the few trips you will need to make before the wedding to check the venue and meet with suppliers etc.
Next you can consider you destination, if you would like a beach wedding for example, research potential destinations, the costs involved, and any reviews from travellers or other wedding parties. Will there be nice places for you and your wedding guests to stay together? How far from the hotel to the beach? Do they offer any special wedding packages to help you plan? If you do use any local providers, make sure they are reputable before handing over any money.
You should also ensure that your chosen destination is safe to visit, for example does the Foreign and Commonwealth Office have any warnings in place? If the destination is exotic there might be certain seasons with extreme weather which should be avoided. Make sure you do plenty of research before choosing your destination.
Another large part of your research should concern the legal requirements of your wedding. For example, some countries may require you to have a special wedding visa to marry in their country; you can usually double check the requirements by contacting the local authorities in your chosen destination. You can also contact the British embassy in your destination just to double check if they have any advice or requirements for you.
Another thing to consider is that if you marry abroad, you will receive a wedding certificate from that country, meaning that you will never receive a UK wedding certificate. It might be worthwhile to seek some quick legal advice before you book, just to double check with a lawyer that your union will definitely be recognised by UK law, however as long as you follow the correct processes everything should be fine.
The next thing to consider is whether all of your loved ones will be able to make a wedding abroad. For example, do you have any elderly or pregnant relatives who are unable to travel? Or who may need to obtain a ‘fit to fly’ letter from their doctor for the airline? Alternatively are you sure that everyone has a valid passport? Many countries will deny entry if your passport has less than 6 months of validity left, so this is definitely something to check with your guests.
You also have to consider how you will transport your wedding attire to your destination – remember that airlines have strict rules on oversized and heavy baggage, so ensure you considering this when booking your flights. Valuables like rings should be kept in your hand luggage and not packed into your hold luggage. Another thing to consider is whether your guests will be transporting your wedding gifts, because if so you will need to pack an extra bag which you can then fill with gifts for the return journey.
Once you have considered all of these points, it is time to start booking your wedding! Just remember, when planning your dream wedding abroad you should always invest in quality and specialist wedding travel insurance, which will protect you and your big day against any potential disasters. For example, cancellation, medical emergencies, lost or damaged wedding attire including your wedding dress, and lost or damaged rings, gifts and photographs.
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