Here's your guide on how to organise your wedding abroad and how you can do it online.
31 July 2013| Last updated on 22 May 2017
- Less organising to do - no huge guest lists
- You can drop lots of the traditional formalities of speeches and enjoy your day your way.
- You might find that you have fewer guests as older relatives may be unable to travel with you to enjoy the day - a video of your wedding ceremony will allow to them less left out - but you might feel the need to have a blessing or celebration at home on your return to keep everyone happy.
- Some organisations will plan everything for you and you will have minimal work to do. This can be a great way of getting a stress free wedding.
- Choosing to get married abroad means the world is your oyster. The choices are almost endless and you have far more scope for innovation and creativity.
- Believe it or not weddings abroad can be a lot cheaper. Although you do have greater transport costs, you are still likely to save money. Many hotels and package companies provide excellent value deals. The expense of weddings at home can quickly spiral with hundreds of guests, meals, drinks and evening parties.
- Holding your wedding abroad can also be a lot less stressful. Many packages include a lot of the wedding co-ordination.
- There will usually be a lot fewer guests to organise. Your wedding abroad can easily be very simple, even with just the two of you if you wish.
- You can combine your wedding abroad with your honeymoon and a holiday with your family and friends too.
- One of the main things which puts couples of getting married abroad, and understandably, is that they are usually limited as to the number of guests they can invite. It is common to ask very close family and friends to join you for your marriage abroad, but beyond that it is a lot to ask other people to pay out and often isn’t practical. Couples may feel guilty about this.
- One thing to remember is that getting married abroad is an increasingly common choice which people are used to. Also, a popular way around this is to hold a party and/or blessing when you return home so that all your friends and family can be included in your celebration.
- Some people may worry that by getting married abroad they are missing out on the traditional wedding. Remember though, that there is no typical wedding abroad. Although the stereotypical idea of getting married abroad is a ceremony on the beach, it is just as possible to have a white wedding in a French chateau.
- By planning your wedding abroad from afar, you are less likely to be able to check out the venue beforehand and you may worry about things going wrong. If you do decide to marry abroad look out for testimonials from other couples who have married there. Also make sure that you keep in touch with a contact at your destination or hotel. They should be able to reassure you.
Popular wedding abroad destinations from Dubai include:
- Sri Lanka
- South Africa
- Cyprus... (Check out our Cyprus Wedding Guide here)
When choosing your destination make sure you fully research and understand what the legal requirements are to get married in a particular country. It is vitally important you are fully aware of the legal requirements and are confident you can satisfy them before you make your final destination choice.
Documents you will definitely need:
- Birth certificates
- Valid 10-year passport with more than 6 months left on it
- Affidavit /statutory declaration confirming single status
- Decree Absolute (if you are divorced)
- Previous spouse's death certificate (if you are widowed)
- Parental consent if you are under 18 (21 in some countries)
- You should check in advance what documents are required in each country
The Law Society advises that anyone getting married abroad should contact their local embassy or consulate for up-to-date advice. Do not rely on travel agents or any third party to ensure that the ceremony is valid, check it for yourself and be sure of what you are doing.
It is a good idea to obtain several copies of your marriage certificate, just in case you lose the original, as it is very difficult to get further copies at a later date.
Some places require blood tests, immunization certificates, or doctor's certificates in order for you to legally marry. No matter where you are getting married, it is best to find out as much as possible in advance. There may be unexpected requirements, such as an established residency, a waiting period, or a certain number of witnesses.
You need to be sure that your marriage will be both legally recognised in your country of residence and in the country in which you choose to get married.
Why Get Married Overseas?
It's intimate: People today are much more mobile than they were in the past, so they're likely to have friends and family scattered across the world. How amazing to get them all together in one place- especially somewhere as fab as a holiday resort.
It's easy: The thought of spending the day before the wedding relaxing on the beach instead of running hundreds of errands has caused more than one bride to choose a wedding abroad. Brides worry about the difficulties of planning a wedding from thousands of miles away, but the truth is, it is often far less work than traditional weddings.
Most hotels and resorts offer wedding-planning packages and services, meaning the details get taken care of for you. You will have to price tickets and rooms for your guests, but you'll probably avoid the frenzy of last-minute preparations.
It can be cheaper: Add up the travel, the dress, the reception bill, and you may be surprised to find out that foreign weddings are often less expensive than traditional weddings. This is because they generally involve many fewer guests, and resorts and hotels offer all-inclusive deals.
Your Budget: You may choose to spend as much as you want. However, if you're watching your pennies, opt for less expensive destinations or destinations that offer a wide range of dining and lodging options. If you wed in at a top travel spot, consider choosing an off-season date, and explore local neighbourhoods with less touristy price tags for other aspects of your event, like your rehearsal dinner.
Your Guest List: At every wedding, there's usually someone who has travelled some distance to be a part of the festivities. At a wedding abroad, nearly everyone travels, including the bride and groom. That being the case, it's best to accept the fact that your wedding may not be large. After all, not everyone can afford the expenditures of hotel and airfare. But that doesn't mean you should count on guests declining your invitation. Some wedding vacation areas, are just too tempting to resist- even if they are expensive!
Give Your Guests Some Warning: It's important to give your guests as much advance notice about your wedding as possible. That means sending out save-the-date cards a minimum of five months in advance so your guests can make the necessary travel and vacation arrangements. Reserve a block of rooms at two hotels in different price ranges, and direct all your invitees to your wedding website or blog, where you can post all your wedding details and out-of-town guest information. If your wedding is in another country, consider reserving a block of seats with an airline. Many carriers offer discounts to passengers with groups over ten.
On Location: Unless you plan to hop on a plane once a week, you should have someone physically at your wedding location to help you plan, scout for vendors, and handle meetings and details. This person can be a professional wedding planner, a friend or family member who lives nearby, or most likely a resort or hotel wedding coordinator. Whoever you choose, your on-location contact must be reliable, familiar with your wedding style, and aware of your wedding budget.