Getting Married Abroad

More and more people are opting to get married away from home, with the lure of stunning beach weddings or exotic ceremonies. However, getting married abroad can be quite difficult; if you have not done the correct research and finalised the right paperwork, your wedding may not go ahead. In this article we have compiled a handy guide to all things you will need to consider before getting married abroad.


Planning a wedding abroad

Before you start planning your wedding, it’s a good idea to firstly check that you can get married in your country of choice. The UK Government website has a great quick quiz tool that will tell you what you need to do before getting married in your chosen country. We recommend that you contact the authorities for your desired country and check what processes and procedures you need to follow. If you do these correctly, your marriage will be recognised when you return to the UK. Depending on which country you want to get married in, you may be asked to obtain certain documents from the British government beforehand.

Once you have selected your date, you need to choose the right destination for that time of year. For example, you may like the look of Bali, but if you plan on getting married in their monsoon seasons it is best to give it a miss. It is also good to remember that while long haul flights cost more, you may get more for your money while you’re over there thanks to the exchange rate.


Legal requirements

Before getting married in another country, you should ensure that your marriage will be recognised when you return to the UK. You should research the country you plan on wedding in, and then contact the foreign embassy for that country to find out accurate information on their legal requirements. In the case that it won’t be valid in the UK, many people choose to have a quick legal ceremony at the registry office upon their return home.

You will need to check that you meet not only the legal requirements of the country you want to get married in, but also those of your home country. Common documents that you may need include having at least six months validity on your passport, certificate of no impediment and proof of residence.

In some countries, civil ceremonies are the only type of ceremony that have a legal status. In this instance, if you wish to have a religious ceremony you will also need to have a civil one to validate your marriage.

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Local customs and traditions

Getting married abroad will add culture to your wedding, and there is no reason why you can’t embrace the local traditions during your ceremony! With so many different countries having many extraordinary traditions, it’s always good to do your research on them and choose ones which will suit your style. Some examples of these are:

• In the Philippines, the bride and groom release a dove each to symbolise their peaceful and long life together
• Brides and grooms in Germany saw a log in half together to show that they are able to overcome any obstacles that they may face in their lives together
• The Scots have a ceremony called the ‘Blackening of the Bride’ which includes throwing ash, tar, feathers and other substances over the bride to avoid evil spirits
• In Poland, any man who dances with the bride will pin money to her dress to help pay for the honeymoon. This is called the Money Dance
• Mexican brides carry two bouquets, one for herself and one for the Virgin Mary

You can find extensive lists of traditions online that will give you all of the information that you need including the history behind them and their meanings. Take a look at the country you want to get married in and see what fun customs you can work into your day!


Top destinations for weddings

Usually when people are looking to get married abroad, it is because they want to get away from the unpredictable English weather and into the sunshine. There is no surprise that Caribbean islands and exotic locations are the most popular destinations for weddings abroad.

Cyprus features picturesque beaches, lush green grounds and perfect blue skies, which makes it a favourite destination for weddings. There are many hotels that overlook the sea for you to pick from, as well as being able to choose between indoor and outdoor ceremonies. Most venues like this will have their own wedding packages that you can book, which include your wedding, reception, room, decorations and sometimes entertainment. Popular places in Cyprus for weddings are Paphos, Ayia Napa and Protaras.

The Dominican Republic is a Caribbean nation which shares an island with Haiti. It is known for its white sandy beaches and clear seas, as well as the great weather year round. Most weddings here take place outdoors, with many opting for gazebos, marques and pergolas to add an air of elegance whilst keeping you and your guests out of the heat. There are airports dotted around the nation, making it easy for you plan your transport.

The USA has always been a popular destination for weddings abroad, thanks to the many choices of states. Vegas is a common choice, where getting hitched is quick and easy and then it’s on to The Strip for the after party! Florida is also a popular choice thanks to its great weather and beaches, making it perfect for an outdoor beach wedding. With Paris being the romance capital, it plays host to a huge number of weddings each year.

You can choose from a large variety of hotels, many offering beautiful grounds and great catering, enabling you to embrace the wonders of French cuisine for your wedding breakfast.

It also means that you can have your photos taken with the iconic Eiffel Tower as a backdrop, creating memories to cherish forever.

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