Destination weddings are becoming more popular as couples look to get married abroad in the sunshine.

More couples from the UK are looking to get married abroad in places such as Ibiza, Greece, Mexico and Cyprus as year on year the demand for a destination wedding increases.

Essential Tips for Planning your Wedding Abroad

Planning a wedding takes time and planning one abroad can take a little longer depending on where and depending on the language barrier.

When planning your destination wedding we would advise starting 12-18months before you wish to get married, allowing you plenty of time to arrange it all and also giving your guests plenty of notice.

1. Send out Invitations Early

As soon as you’re fully committed to your destination wedding, send out your ‘save the date’ cards as early as possible. Your friends and family that want to attend will need their own measure of time to determine their finances, book flights, the time people will spend out there, booking time off work, travel insurance, ensuring their passport is in date.

With these extras it is important to give your guests plenty of time to make arrangements if they can come, the additional cost of flights and accommodation allows couples time to save and book these.

Send out Invitations Early

Ask your guests to RSVP at least 8 weeks before so you can make any final amendments to seating and eating arrangements.

2. Consider your Date

Depending when you get married you may have other friends that re getting married that same year, and before you know it you are also attending a couple of weddings, if you have friends that maybe attending other weddings ensure you allow time for people to get the time off work and also ensure they can afford to come.

Destination weddings are great, but also like a mini break where the cost of flights and accommodation has to be considered.

3. Accept That Some Guests Can’t Come

Travelling abroad isn’t cheap and depending where and when you are going it can be quite expensive. It is important to consider that some of your friends simply may not be able to afford the time of work, or the money to attend.

While some may not be able to make it for financial reasons, others may not be able to come due to health reasons, they cannot fly or older guests are not mobile enough to get abroad.

Unlike a wedding in the UK where guests can come for the day, weddings abroad usually require a few days away and have the cost of flights, when planning your destination wedding it is important to remember and realise that some people who you may want there simply cannot come as much as they would like.

4. Check the Weather

When booking your wedding ensure the date isn’t in monsoon season, or there will be tropical downpours once a day.

When planning the order of the day ensure your ceremony isn’t in the heat of the day, your guests will be cooking in the sun while dressed smartly, and for older guests this won’t be good for them either. Your venue may advise that you have the ceremony later when the sun is starting to set as it will be cooler then.

5. Consider Hiring a Wedding Planner

Planning a wedding abroad can be tricky with the language barrier and also that you cannot just pop out to see them. Hiring  wedding planner where you are getting married is a great way to take the hassle out of this, they will know different suppliers you can use, help organise certain elements and offer advice too.

A wedding planner is ideal for helping with the legalities of your wedding and can help with documents that need signing and ID that is needed.

If your wedding is taking place in a non-English speaking country, take that into consideration. You may want to hire a local translator for when you arrive. In some cases, you may need to have your documentation translated to the local language by an official translator and properly approved before you even get there.

6. Will your Destination Wedding be Legal?

Look up the laws governing weddings and marriages in the country you want to visit for your special day. You’ll need to know who can legally officiate weddings and make sure that your marriage will be recognised when you get home.

Different countries have different laws, and also different countries have different laws for couples who are not residents or their nationality, so getting married abroad as a UK citizen can restrict some counties where you can legally get married.

Be aware of what requirements your desired location might have for visitors of any type. Even if you want to have your overseas wedding someplace for the stunning visuals, you’ll need to know how welcoming the area actually is and if there are any cultural or political issues that would make the location inhospitable or even unsafe.

7. Make a Checklist

Early in the process, find out all the documentation you’ll need for your travel and wedding. This may include passports, birth certificates, other travel documents and any legal papers you’ll need for the wedding.

As you get closer to the date, put together a packet that has all the copies everything you’ll need in one secure place. Share the checklist with your guests to make it even simpler for them to join you at your wedding hassle-free.

Many weddings and marriages involve a name change of some kind. With travel and security conditions being what they are around the globe, take an early look at any issues your name change might create and make sure your travel arrangements work around them.

Download our wedding planning checklist and planner here.

8. Suppliers

Many venues will have recommended suppliers or a little list of suppliers they have worked with before and have used the venue, this is a great starting point, it makes it easier as the supplier knows the venue, and also helps if they are recommended. It doesn’t mean you have to use and hire them but it is a great starting point.

9. Visit in Advance

You may have it all planned and all arranged, you may just have a few details that need sorting, whether everything is ticked on the checklist or there are some things to arrange it is certainly worth going out a few months in advance. Going out allows you to see the venue again fresh in your mind, ensuring you have everything how you want it, as well as seeing any suppliers to finalise make up or flowers.

10. Plan Your Luggage

You may not wish to trust some crucial items such as a one-of-a-kind wedding dress to your checked baggage. Talk to your airline about the wedding party. In many cases, you can bring the dress as an extra carry-on as long the airline has been notified in advance. Various arrangements can be made, especially if you have a large group traveling together.

There may be some things you want at the wedding, such as pre-printed place cards or special family decorations, instead of taking this in your suitcase luggage it maybe cheaper and easier to ship this all out in a well packaged box to your venue or wedding planner.

This is one less thing to worry about and if you send it out well in advance you can ensure it has all arrived and is all ok before you fly out yourself.

…And when you come home

Getting everything out there is one thing, you also need to bring it all back, and one thing many couples forgot about is all the wedding presents and gift. Guests will take their gifts out and will then leave them with you to bring back. Again consider shipping these home and perhaps keeping any valuable items with you when traveling home.

11. Consider Destination Wedding Insurance

With so much going into the big day abroad, you may also find it worth the expense to purchase some insurance to help cover unforeseen issues. Many companies offer specific insurance for overseas weddings that cover damaged items, cancellation costs, or other problems that can arise. Some even offer assistance to get the event back on track if there’s a crisis.

Depending on where you are getting married ensure there are no jabs or vaccinations that are needed, and make sure you are up-to-date yourself. If any are needed make sure you advise your guests before hand allowing them time to get them done.

Bonus. Take a Deep Breath

The last and most important tip is to relax, take a deep breath and just enjoy the day. All the hard work is done and now you must just enjoy your day.

Don’t worry about anything, you have done everything you can and it’s now time to get in holi-wedding mode.

Wedding Resource Material