Planning to get married abroad? You are not alone! More and more Brits are planning to get married abroad, with the reasons ranging from saving money on the planning to being able to have a smaller, more intimate ceremony in an exciting and exotic location.
It also enables you to easily combine your wedding and honeymoon, which can be an attractive option if you’re limited in terms of time and budget. According to statistics, the average cost of a wedding is three times higher in the UK, compared to abroad. (source: Telegraph UK)
With that in mind, it’s no surprise that overseas weddings are becoming increasingly popular among British couples, with one in four now being estimated to tie the knot abroad each year.
However, although getting married abroad can be a great experience for everyone involved, there are a number of factors you need to take into consideration before booking your flights, and it’s a decision that shouldn’t be taken lightly. These range from checking traveling costs, to ensuring your guests can book the necessary time off work, and most importantly, ensuring your marriage is legally recognized in your home country!
Here’s what you should know before getting married abroad.
Make sure your marriage will be legally recognized
Although marriages in most countries will be legally recognized, you shouldn’t just assume that this is the same for everywhere in the world. In France, for example, it’s difficult to get legally married unless you’re a resident, so many couples will have their official ceremony in the UK. However, although you don’t need to be a resident to get married in Italy, one of the documents you’ll need is a Certificate of No Impediment (CNI). This can take up to 21 days to obtain, so do get this sorted in advance!
When choosing a location, the most important thing to remember is that the legalities of getting wed will differ from country to country. if you’re unsure of what you need, you’ll need to research the local laws of your chosen country on the GOV.UK website, or contact their foreign office.
Work out how far your budget can stretch
The statistics speak for themselves; planning a wedding in the UK can be very expensive, so you’ll want to save money wherever possible. One of the best ways you can do this is by researching how much it typically costs to plan a wedding in various countries. As an example, Mauritius, Malta, and many areas of the US are touted as the cheapest places to get married (excluding the cost of flights).
When you do this, however, you’ll also need to consider costs after your currency has been converted. With the British Pound still weak against the Euro (and it could still fall further), you’ll get less bang for your buck if you choose to get married in France, Italy, or Greece, compared to Romania (for example), so weigh this up against the rest of your costs.
Don’t get ripped off when transferring money abroad
Comparing the currencies of different countries is also important if you plan to get married abroad as it’s likely that you’ll need to transfer large amounts of money overseas to pay for the wedding planner, venue, catering, accommodation, and anything else you need.
Although your first choice might be to exchange your currency at the bank, this can end up being very expensive as most banks will add considerable commission to the exchange rate (which can be as high as 5% for round-trip), as well as other charges. To avoid this, you’ll need to do your research, or enlist the help of a foreign exchange broker comparison company who can find the best deal for you.
Book your wedding ceremony at the right time of year
When choosing where to get married abroad, another factor you should take into consideration is the weather. Although it might seem like a small issue in comparison to costs, the weather will impact the venue you choose (you can’t get married outside if it’s raining!), as well as the bride’s wedding dress, and the type of clothes your guests will need to pack, so don’t forget to check that forecast before you set your heart on a specific date!
It’s not just the weather you need to consider when choosing the date for your wedding, though; you should also check if it clashes with the country’s national holidays, as flights could be more expensive during this time, and certain venues may even be closed to the public.
Give your guests plenty of advance notice!
It’s not a myth. Generally, the earlier you book your flights, the cheaper they’ll be, and this could make all the difference between certain guests being able to afford to attend your wedding or having to stay at home. That, combined with the fact that most people will need to book time off work, ensure they have no other pre-booked commitments and have enough time to save some spending money, means you should give your guests prior notice of the date and location as early as possible.