Nearly one in four couples now have a destination wedding abroad. But there are a whole host of practicalities to consider before simply jetting off somewhere exotic and saying ‘I do’.
From the legalities and visas to stowing your wedding dress on the plane, Lucy McGuire shares her ten essential tips for getting married overseas.
France for example, requires 40 days’ residency before you can legally marry there and your ceremony must take place 10 days after your marriage banns. Other countries have no residency requirements. Laws for same-sex marriages vary again, so check with foreign embassies first.
If you’re set on a destination but the laws won’t allow it, consider a quick registry office wedding in your hometown, then hold a blessing overseas.
Many travel companies offer a ‘menu’ of wedding packages held within a hotel resort. They’ll often have a wedding planner on speed-dial and they’ll manage every detail of the day – handy if you have lots of guests.
For a more personalised set-up, research local wedding planners to find out what they can offer and check out their reviews and photos of past weddings they’ve done before you commit.
Negotiate a fee that works for you and tap into their expertise on the best hotels, local vendors, photographers, musicians, and venues. Keep in regular contact and schedule at least one call or Skype chat before your big day.
Try to plan your wedding just outside of peak periods. You’ll have more choice for your wedding date and you’ll stand a better chance of a flight upgrade. Hotels, restaurants and local attractions will be quieter too.
Check visa requirements well in advance, too, and don't forget to make sure you have six months left on your passport.
Either way, see your destination wedding as a stepping-stone to your honeymoon travels. You’ll get your money’s worth and it’s the chance to enjoy the trip of a lifetime. We've compiled a list of top honeymoon destinations and collected ten essential planning tips to get you started.