More and more people are choosing to get married abroad, especially couples from the United Kingdom.
The lure of sunny shores, idyllic settings and the image of the dreamed wedding (which has been hammered into our conscious by Hollywood movies such as 'Wedding Crashers' and 'The Hangover 2') have made a wedding abroad the top choice for many couples' big day.
So where do you start when you want to get married abroad?
There are some major questions which you should be asking yourself if you are serious about leaving your home country in order to tie the knot:
1) Is it cost effective?
This isn't something that should be taken lightly, regardless of your annual income. The economic climate has made us all think a lot more about where the Pounds, Pence, Dollars and Cents are going, and a wedding is an expensive deal.
Generally speaking, a wedding abroad is far more likely to end up costing you less than a wedding in your home country! This is due to the fact that wedding couples have to be far more selective about who comes to their wedding, therefore reducing the cost per head of attendees.
2) So who do I invite?
If you're getting married in Barbados then it's unlikely you are going to spend over £1,000 to pay for your second cousin from Birmingham to be there. The fact of the matter is (and something not a lot of people know), you can actually pay for an entire wedding package to be organised for you: flights, hotel, venue, minister to perform ceremony, and even your best man, maid of honor and witnesses!
Most people will have only their nearest and dearest with them at their overseas ceremony (Parents, Siblings etc.) However some couples choose to have their wedding ceremony abroad without the friends and family present, opting for a small civil ceremony when they arrive back home in order that their loved ones can be a part of their wedding. All of this ties in to the first point - is it cost effective? That's entirely up to you.
3) Where do I get married?
This is totaly down to personal preference, but it is a decision that should be made after very careful consideration. Too many people have been disappointed on their big day after adverse weather conditions have turned up, or because the location was not researched fully before hand and the venue turned out to be next to a construction site. For the love of God do your research!
Hopefully you'll only get married once in your life, so don't cut corners when planning, especially if you are heading abroad to an unfamiliar place.
4) What do I wear?
Don't be a smart arse and say "wedding dress" or "a suit". This relates to the last point of doing your research before you leave for your perfect destination.
If you are going to get married on a beach in the Bahamas during the hot season then it's not likely that you'll be wearing a three-piece suit or a ridiculously cumbersome wedding dress. If you do, then I'll be the first to tell you - you are going to look like a melting wax figure in your wedding photos, and your friends will laugh at you when they see the evidence - don't shoot the messenger, I'm just giving you a friendly heads up.
5) Will I be legally married?
This is essential, ground-level stuff, but it's gob smacking how many people again, don't do their research and end up paying shed loads of money for the dream 'wedding' only to get home and realise that they just paid for a random foreigner to tell them they were husband and wife on holiday but not when they got back home. Nice.
So to summarise:
Do your research, do some more research, chat it through with your partner, do more research, have a chat with a travel expert, get a second and third opinion from an expert, ignore people who are against it because it breaks with tradition, and ultimately have a bloody good time getting married.
If you want any more information on weddings abroad, then please don't hesitate to send me a message or leave a comment. I'm also open to ideas for inclusions!
Travel tip shared by TomJamesBrennan