Getting married abroad often offers couples a cheaper alternative to many wedding spots at home, as well as beautiful surroundings, unique venues and often guaranteed sunshine. But there are many additional aspects of the planning of your big day that you will need to take into consideration when the venue is miles away from where you live.
Essential Questions to Ask When Planning a Destination Wedding
Some of the key questions you need to be considering are detailed below, but before you begin planning you should contact the authorities of the country you wish to get married in for their destination-specific advice.
- Will you or your guests require visas? How far in advance will these need to be obtained?
- Will you or your guests need vaccinations or malaria pills? See your doctor as soon as possible if you do, so that you can start getting these planned in, and ensure your guests are informed about what they need.
- Do you need proof of residency for the country you will be married in or do you have to stay there for a minimum period before/after marrying? In countries such as Malaysia, Fiji or the Cook Islands you need to have been in the country for at least three days before you can get married, whilst in Thailand you’ll need at least a week to sort out all of the legalities.
- Is your religion likely to be accommodated for at the ceremony?
- Do your dates clash with any public holidays in the destination? Try to avoid these as they are likely to be more expensive or difficult to arrange.
- Are your passports valid beyond the full time you’ll be overseas? Some countries require a passport not expire within 6 months of your travel dates. Be sure to communicate this information to all of your guests well in advance.
- Do the local authorities require any specific paperwork? Make sure you leave several months to prepare these and leave photocopies with someone at home in case anything happens to the originals.
You’ll also need to check whether the local authorities require any specific paperwork which may be in addition to documents required by the country. Make sure you allow several months to prepare these documents and leave photocopies with someone at home in case anything happens to the originals. You may need to send copies to the venue or resort several weeks in advance of your wedding date. Examples of documents you are likely to need are:
- Original birth certificates
- Deed polls if either of you has had a name change
- Letters confirming your occupations and places of employment
- A decree absolut if either of you has previously been divorced
Top Planning Tips
- You will definitely want to purchase travel insurance for your trip and check your wedding insurance to ensure it covers an overseas ceremony.
- Don’t sign any contracts unless you have written quotes from venues and wedding planners.
- Confirm all details – for the wedding, accommodation and honeymoon – before leaving home. Print out all necessary confirmations and keep them in a clearly sectioned file so that all details are easily accessible.
- Allow plenty of time for your wedding applications to be processed and be aware that wedding certificates may need to be sent to you by post.
Travelling To Your Wedding Destination
- Take care to note the material of the bridal gown, bridesmaid dresses and suits. Not only do they need to be suitable for the climate of your wedding destination, but you ideally won’t want them to crease too badly during transportation. If in doubt, allow time for the garments to be steamed on arrival.
- Some dress providers will be able to offer boxes for transporting your garments safely.
- Check the hand luggage allowance of your airline and carry suits or dresses in the plane’s cabin if possible. Some airlines may allow you to reserve space in a hanging closet if you call ahead. If you are travelling with a budget airline, it is likely that they will have limited closet and overhead locker space, so it may be worth sending the dress by courier to avoid it being damaged in transit.
- Take an empty bag for gifts/extras and decorations – Better yet, ask guests to leave gifts until your return home.
- You are likely to be carrying lots of luggage and precious items, so you should plan on private transportation to the airport. This is not time to be taking public transportation. Companies such as Purple Parking offer alternative airport parking in the UK that will usually be cheaper than the airport’s own. If you are transporting lots of luggage, the Meet & Greet services are ideal as you can leave your car at the terminal and a driver will park it for you. Likewise, with a single phone call, your car will be waiting for you outside arrivals when you return. Most airports around the world offer VIP parking services and this may be the ideal time to utilize them.
- Be aware that you will have to declare any gifts received when re-entering your country of origin, and all gifts must be unwrapped before going through airport security.