Many couples are now opting to get married abroad for a variety of reasons, from a sunny climate to wanting a romantic setting. If you are thinking about tying the knot abroad then keep reading for our best advice and top tips to ensure that everything runs smoothly.
Each country (and in America, each state) will have their own policies and legislation regarding obtaining a marriage license. Some countries will even stipulate that you are in the country for a certain number of days before you can get married. Be sure to research this thoroughly before you book your ceremony or flights.
Type of wedding
When getting married abroad there are plenty of weddings to choose from – you can opt for a beach ceremony, eloping to Las Vegas or even a wedding in a castle. If you don’t know the exact location you want then try to narrow it down – for example you can look for a certain climate or travel distance.
Getting married abroad might not be as expensive as you think it is. Having your wedding abroad will naturally limit your guest list, with many people being unable to attend. As harsh as this is, it does help with your budget and negates the cost of travel and accommodation.
Typically you will need to pay for:
- Destination wedding advisor/planner
- Marriage license
- Travel including flights and transfers
- Ceremony fees
These costs are all on top of your usual wedding costs such as outfits, flowers and photography. Many wedding destinations now offer wedding packages to suit any budget or any number of guests.
Who pays for the guests to attend?
This is a tricky one, with many couples disagreeing on who should be paying for the guests to attend the wedding. If you choose a destination wedding then it is important to be realistic about your guest list – some of those friends and family members that you have invited might not be able to afford either the cost or the time off work to attend your wedding.
Of course it would be lovely to offer to pay for everyone to attend your wedding – and if your budget allows then then great! However, if your budget doesn’t allow it but you would like to help out your wedding guests, you can offer to pay for a part of their trip to suit your budget. It might be their travel insurance, their flight, their accommodation on the wedding night or anything else. Your guests will appreciate the gesture but there is no pressure to do so.
Combine the wedding and honeymoon
Couples can save thousands by combining their wedding with a honeymoon. As you will have already paid for the travel, your only extra expenses will be accommodation and spending money. You can find great bargains for your accommodation through Expedia or Hotels.com, and don’t forget to use a cashback website like Quidco or Topcashback to earn a bit of cash from your bookings.
Party at home
One way to include all those guests who couldn’t attend your wedding is to throw a wedding reception style party when you get back. This can be much cheaper than a traditional wedding reception, but remember to allow space in your budget for the party – including invitations and catering.
General tips for getting married abroad
- Hire a wedding co-ordinator – whilst this might be an added cost, you will need someone in your destination wedding country to help you to source suppliers and ensure the smooth run up to your wedding.
- Send out your save the dates early so that guests have enough time to save for your wedding, and book the time off work.
- Ask your accommodation for a discount for your wedding guests.
- Take out the appropriate wedding insurance to cover your big day.
- Take out the appropriate travel insurance.
- Get the best bang for your buck by comparing currency exchange rates before you depart – don’t leave it until the airport!
- Watch out for added tax and gratuities (tips). Each country will have different rules on tax, so be sure to factor these into your budget. It might also be customary to give gratuities on top of the price you are paying, so research this beforehand.
If you are getting married abroad then do you have any tips to share with engaged couples? We would love to hear them – you can leave a comment below and tell us about your plans!