After finding the perfect partner to spend the rest of your life with, it’s natural that you’ll want your big day to be spectacular. With wedding costs in the UK soaring into tens of thousands, it’s no wonder why many couples choose the cheaper option of marrying abroad. Whether you want the paradise beaches of Barbados, St Lucia and Antigua, or romantic Italy as your wedding venue, here are some tips for organising the perfect wedding overseas…
Any wedding needs lots of planning and getting married abroad is no exception. The longer you have to plan the better, but ideally you need at least three months as different countries have different rules about the paperwork you need to fill in – often you have to submit documents like passports at least three months before the wedding date.
Be aware that rules also differ about how long you need to be in a country before you can get married, which will affect how long you stay abroad and where you get married. While many only require you to be there for a few days, other places need much longer. Think in detail about how you want your big day to unfold, not just the ceremony but practicalities such as whether a private room will be available for you to get dressed in beforehand.
If organising everything by yourself is daunting, then tour operators like Thomas Cook offer a vast choice of wedding packages at tried and tested resorts. They also have wedding planning teams to help arrange your dream day.
These range from tropical sunshine weddings in Barbados, St Lucia and Antigua, to the more unusual Tribute to Elvis Wedding at the Little White Wedding Chapel in Las Vegas, USA – where the marriage is conducted in a pink Cadillac in the Drive-Thru Tunnel of Love to the music of Elvis! And if you don’t fancy jetting off to the other side of the world, Italy has plenty to offer such as Malcesine Castle which is perched overlooking Lake Garda and just short trip away from romantic Venice for the perfect honeymoon. Before booking, double check what is actually included in the package so you can organise any extras that you want to make the day special.
Don’t forget the fine details. The wedding’s location will affect what wedding dress and suits will feel comfortable. If you choose a Caribbean beach wedding where it will be hot then you may want to consider a lighter dress and outfit.
Some airlines also allow wedding dresses to be hung in the cabin so they don’t need to be packed, but you need to check with the airline first. A civil ceremony abroad tends to be short, certainly much shorter than a UK church ceremony, so you may want to consider organising something else for the day such as a tour or cruise.