1. Check it’s legal
Marriage laws vary between countries, so find out if it’s legal to get married in the country of your choice and if it will be valid in your local and international law.
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.
2. Decide on tailor-made or one-size-fits all
Once you’ve picked your wedding destination, decide whether you want a wedding package, or if you’d like to tailor-make your day independently or through a wedding planner.
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.
3. Use your wedding planner
If you decide to use a wedding planner, make sure you get the most from them. They should be your local expert on the ground, suggesting beautiful locations to tie the knot, secure the marriage officer or registrar and sort all the logistics surrounding your big day.
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.
4. Pick the right time of year
National holidays and festivals can affect the demand on flights and accommodation. So expect to pay more during busy times.
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.