the Wedding Planner

Wedding Feature

6/12/2012

Perfect Weddings Abroad

Finding a romantic location to say I do has never been easier as a growing number of us escape further afield.

There's no need to pray for sunshine on your big day with a destination wedding.

The world is your oyster

From the gentle pace of the Caribbean to Elvis weddings in Vegas or luxury in Lapland there is a destination to suit your budget and climate requirement. Surf the Internet for inspiration, speak to friends and check out brochures to see what's available.

"Choosing the right wedding location is a big decision for couples taking the plunge, who have decided to hold their wedding abroad," said Steph Bishop, Joint-Founder of MarryAbroad.co.uk. "Finding a beautiful horizon or awesome panorama can cement a decision about locale, and really add the wow factor to any ceremony. We are finding that couples increasingly want their wedding to stand out from the crowd, which has in turn lead to this increase in inspired settings, spelling a new trend for weddings abroad."

Lower Wedding Costs

Destination weddings can save you money as you combine your big day and honeymoon. One in five weddings (18%) now take place abroad, according to research by Mintel. The average wedding abroad costs 6,585 compared to 21,000 for a UK wedding.

Many all-inclusive chains in the Caribbean and Mexico (including Sandals, Beaches, Grand Lido, Breezes, Couples, and Palace Resorts) offer free weddings to couples that having a longer stay at the property.

Tom Rees, Senior Travel and Tourism Analyst at Mintel, said: "The lower costs of overseas weddings are an important factor for many, with cost concerns influencing the whole market.

However the various desires to do something different, seek out better weather than can be expected in the UK and to avoid overblown, too-many-guest affairs are attracting more and more couples to the weddings abroad market.

Guests

Weddings abroad can be as large or intimate as you wish but you must be aware that some of your friends and family may not be able to afford the trip.

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Destination weddings allow you to reduce the guest list without hurting anyone's feelings. Many couples throw a party at home to celebrate their marriage when they return. Give those who plan to attend your big day as much time as possible to budget and schedule holiday time. At least six months notice is preferential.

They can save money by staying in cheaper hotels or villas. Many travel groups offer discounts for group bookings. Remind them that this can be their vacation as well as your wedding.

Legalities

To find out exactly what you need to get married overseas, you will need to contact the authorities of the relevant country for advice on the full and current legal documentation requirements for your chosen destination.

Places like France require the bride and groom to be residents for at least 30 days prior to the wedding while Vegas only requires a marriage license on arrival at the registry.

Details

Pick a wedding planner who knows the destination or do your research. Why not incorporate local wedding customs into your big day? For example in Malta a white cake made from honey and flour is tradition. A wedding abroad doesn't have to be casual and low key. You can still have a steel band, gospel choir or orchestra if you wish.

Choose your dress according to your destination

Avoid a ball gown for a beach wedding. Opt for something more formal for castle or historic buildings. Speak to your airline about the transportation of your dress. Many allow you to carry it with you onboard and you can get a specially designed box to place it in an overhead locker.

Calendar For The Best Time Of Year To Get Married Abroad

January and February

Argentina, Australia, Bahamas, Bali, Belize, Brazil, Canada (ski), Caribbean, Central and South Africa, Chile, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Maldives, Mexico, Morocco, New Zealand, the Florida Keys, U.S. (ski )

March

Argentina, Australia, Bahamas, Belize, Brazil, Canada (ski ), Caribbean, Central and South Africa, Chile, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Egypt, French Polynesia, Hawaii, Maldives, Mexico, Morocco, the Florida Keys, U.S. (ski)

April

Argentina, Bahamas, Belize, Brazil, Canada, Caribbean, Central and South Africa, Chile, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Egypt, French Polynesia, Hawaii, Italy, Maldives, Mauritius, Mexico, Morocco, Spain, the Florida Keys, U.S.

May

Belize, Bermuda, Brazil, Britain, Canada, Caribbean, Central and South Africa, Czech Republic, Fiji, France, French Polynesia, Greece, Hawaii, Ireland, Italy, Madagascar, Maldives, Mauritius, Mexico, Morocco, Seychelles, Spain, Thailand, the Florida Keys, U.S.

June

Bermuda, Brazil, Britain, Canada, Central and South Africa, Czech Republic, Fiji, France, French Polynesia, Greece, Hawaii, Ireland, Italy, Madagascar, Maldives, Mauritius, Seychelles, Spain, Thailand, U.S. (Alaska, Northeast)

July and August

Bermuda, Brazil, Britain, Canada, Central and South Africa, Czech Republic, Fiji, France, French Polynesia, Ireland, Kenya, Madagascar, Malaysia, Seychelles, Thailand, U.S. (Alaska, Northeast)

September

Australia, Bermuda, Brazil, Britain, Canada, Central and South Africa, Czech Republic, Fiji, France, French Polynesia, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Madagascar, Maldives, Mauritius, Seychelles, Spain, Thailand, U.S.

October

Australia, Bali, Belize, Bermuda, Brazil, Canada, Central and South Africa, Egypt, Fiji, French Polynesia, Hawaii, Italy, Madagascar, Maldives, Mauritius, Mexico, Morocco, Seychelles, Spain, U.S.

November

Australia, Bahamas, Bali, Belize, Brazil, Canada (ski), Central and South Africa, Egypt, French Polynesia, Hawaii, Mauritius, Mexico, Morocco, New Zealand, Seychelles, Spain, U.S.(ski)

December

Argentina, Australia, Bahamas, Bali, Belize, Brazil, Canada (ski), Caribbean, Central and South Africa, Chile, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Mexico, Morocco, New Zealand, the Florida Keys, U.S. (ski)

(GK)

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"Finding a romantic location to say I do has never been easier as a growing number of us escape further afield."