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Planning a wedding abroad

Planning on getting married overseas? Don't miss these top tips

A wedding is one of the most special days of someone’s life, wherever it takes place. But deciding to celebrate your marriage abroad can make it incredibly memorable and ensure the guests are as excited to be there as you are. Some of the most popular wedding destinations tend to be:

  • The Bahamas
  • South Africa
  • Las Vegas
  • Southern France
  • Bali
  • Thailand
  • Mexico
  • Spain
  • New Zealand
  • Cyprus

But whether you choose to tie the knot in Italy or Australia you’ll probably be pretty nervous about doing it so far from home, so we’ve put together some top tips to ensure your wedding abroad goes smoothly:

1. World-wide weather

If you know where it is in the world that you’d like to get married, you’ll need to look at the best time of year to do it. Unless you fancy romance in the rain you’ll want to avoid the rainy season and if you’re heading to the tropics you may want to avoid the very hottest times of the year. Alternatively if you know the time of year you want to get married abroad but not where, you could let the weather decide for you

2. Come fly with me

Assuming there’s a large party flying out to celebrate your wedding abroad you should be able to get a good deal on flights. Call any airlines that cover your destination to ask about group discounts, this will also ensure everyone is travelling at the same times, making transfers and ‘getting-to-know-you’s much easier.

3. C’est la visa

If you’re off to a far-flung destination for your nuptials then don’t forget to check whether you and your guests will need to apply for visas first. You can use this handy website to find out about visa requirements where you’re heading:

4. Have dress, will travel

After deciding on a wedding abroad most brides will need to give their wedding dress some thought. Packing a full-skirted frock into a suitcase isn’t really an option for most people, so something travel-friendly will be in order. Ask around in local wedding dress shops and don’t forget that if you’re getting married somewhere especially hot you probably won’t want anything too heavy or structured.

5. Someone on the inside…

Unless you’re particularly familiar with the area you’re planning on getting married you may have issues arranging a wedding at arm’s length. A good, local wedding planner will have an easier job locating exactly what you’re after, sourcing local suppliers, negotiating discounts and sorting logistics at your destination. They may also come in handy with translation if you don’t speak the local lingo. 

6. Honey, we forgot the honeymoon

If you’re headed abroad for a wedding, chances are you plan to forgo a honeymoon. As such, it can be easy to forget to take time to celebrate your marriage with your partner. If you’re going to be away with friends and family for the duration why not make plans for a romantic daytrip for the two of you on the day after the wedding?

7. Presence or presents?

Anyone who chooses to travel with you to celebrate your wedding abroad will probably spend quite a bit of money doing so. As such, you might consider waiving the need for wedding gifts or a wedding list. If so, make sure you tell your guests, to avoid any awkwardness.

8. Go loco for local

Why not give guests local gifts as favours? Locally produced olive oil, trinkets, flowers and hand-crafted jewellery can make wonderfully thoughtful gifts and superb reminders of your special day. Alternatively you could find a local cause or charity and make a small donation on behalf of each guest, ensuring your presence in the area benefits the local people directly.

9. Love and the law

Legal requirements for weddings do vary from country to country. It can be a good idea to contact the foreign embassy or consulate of the country where you’re considering tying the knot to find out about their legal requirements. Don’t forget that your marriage needs to be legally recognised in the UK as well as in the country you jet off to for the celebration. It could be that you’ll need a register office ceremony in the UK to ensure you’re legally married once it’s all over.

10. Wish you were here…

It may be your dream to get married abroad but choosing to do so tends to mean the people attending the wedding will be limited. To counter this, why not include friends and family all over the world by transmitting your ceremony via a webcam? Then, once you’re back on home ground you can always hold a second celebration for those who couldn’t make it abroad but are keen you wish you well.

Did you know?

Wherever you decide to get married, John Lewis Wedding Insurance can help financially protect your special day. And whether you’re planning a lavish ceremony at home or an intimate wedding abroad, we offer variable Wedding Insurance so we can arrange the right amount of cover for your big day.

For further tips and advice, please see our quick guide (PDF).

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John Lewis Insurance is a trading name of John Lewis plc. Registered office: 171 Victoria Street, London SW1E 5NN. Registered in England (No. 233462). John Lewis plc is an appointed representative of Royal & Sun Alliance Insurance plc. John Lewis Wedding Insurance is underwritten by Royal & Sun Alliance Insurance plc (No. 93792). Registered in England and Wales at St. Mark's Court, Chart Way, Horsham, West Sussex, RH12 1XL. Authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority (Financial Services Register No. 202323). Calls may be recorded and monitored.

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