Tying the Knot Abroad: Your Ultimate Guide

Whether you’ve been enjoying a long engagement or are still riding the wave that comes with agreeing to get married, there are few things that are as exciting as planning your wedding – and that’s where we can help.

If you’re a blushing bride-to-be who can think of nothing more amazing than saying “I do” on a sandy beach on the other side of the world, you’re in luck. Join us today as we walk you through some crucial considerations for your wedding day to ensure you have all bases covered when it comes to tying the knot abroad.

Let’s start with…

…the guestlist

One of the trickiest aspects of organising a wedding is settling on who you’re going to invite. You start off by imagining you’ll be able to ask everyone to come along to your big day, but then you start getting prices for wedding dinners and realise how much that would actually cost! So, then, you start trimming people from the list and try to ignore the feelings of guilt that come with each red strike through a name.

By getting married abroad, you instantly remove much of this stress from your life. If anything, you’re able to actually invite more people, safe in the knowledge that, unless they’re family members or close friends, or they just fancy a holiday, most people will politely decline. This way, you needn’t upset anyone and also won’t have to shell out for a huge guestlist – it’s a win-win.

You’ll also need the list to be finalised as early on in the planning process as possible, as this will be the trigger that sets everything else in motion. Which leads us onto…

…the practicalities


Image: Pexels

With your guestlist taken care of, it’s time to think about getting yourself and your guests to the destination. The earlier you can book flights, the better. This will allow you to get as many of your guests as possible on the same plane – ensuring you’re sharing the same transfer to the resort and that prices are as low as possible. You’ll also avoid running the risk of anyone missing the ceremony because flights are sold out!

Next up is where everyone will stay. If it’s practicality you’re looking for, a collection of villas on the island of Lanzarote would allow friends and family to turn your big day into an extended group holiday – while those considering a wedding that’s off the beaten track will need to think carefully about proximity to amenities and the wedding venue itself. Whether you’re marrying in Mauritius or saying “I do” in Dallas, accommodation needs to be a key consideration.

Other things to consider are how you’ll transport the things you simply can’t leave behind – yes, ladies, we’re talking about the dress. Sure, the bride and groom are important, but everyone knows it’s the dress that has the starring role in any wedding day, so attention must be paid. As soon as you settle on the one, it’s time to turn your attention to safely transporting this precious cargo. You’ll want to find a case that can safely accommodate your dream gown and then fly with it as carry-on. Just about anything else can be tucked away with your luggage, but you’ll want to have at least one eye on your dress at all times.

So, the serious stuff is in order, what about the flowers, food and finishing touches? Introducing…

…the wedding planner

When dreaming of marrying the love of your life, a wedding planner might not have been something you’d previously considered. But trust us on this one – if you’re planning an overseas wedding, you’ll want someone who’s on your side (even if they’re physically on the other side of the world)!

From sourcing suppliers and rustling up food samples to decorating the venue and cake testing, a bride’s to-do list is never quite complete – and as one item is checked off, you’ll soon find that three more things pop up in its place. So, when it comes to planning, be smart! Don’t take on the entire task of planning a wedding abroad by yourself and enlist help where you can.

If you’re able to fly out to the venue and meet your wedding planner in person, great. If not, don’t worry. With apps like Skype and FaceTime now very much a part of everyday life, you can get acquainted with your wedding planner long before you and your guests arrive. With someone on hand to take care of the lead-up to the day, and then help things run smoothly on the day itself, you’ll feel that much more relaxed – after all, you can be the most organised bride in the world, but you can’t be in two places at once!

Last but by no means least…

…the laws & licenses


Image: Pexels

From documents and insurance to culture and tradition, there are a number of things to consider when getting married outside of your native country. You don’t want anything to spoil your wedding – so while carrying out your research, spend time visiting government websites to ensure you’re clued up on anything that needs to happen before you fly out.

Whether it’s forgetting about name changes on passports or failing to secure the marriage certificate, any one of these easy-to-overlook aspects of planning a wedding could be the thing that completely spoils your time abroad and potentially ruins the start of married life – so don’t take any risks!

Find out more about the documents needed for getting married abroad here.

For many newlyweds, the excitement of becoming man and wife is often tinged with sadness that not all of their friends and family could be present on their big day. However, this presents the perfect opportunity to find a venue and plan a UK-based post-wedding party! The bride can once again wear her stunning dress and the entire wedding party can enjoy the festivities one last time – with everyone you wish to be there being able to join in.

Keep in mind that the laws and licenses, changes in weather and unexpected fees will all depend on where you’re planning to get married – so spend plenty of time researching locations before parting with your cash and you’ll be well on your way to marital bliss from the word go.


Author bio:

Nick Ball is Marketing Manager at Optima Villas and has lived on the island of Lanzarote since 2001.

Feature Image: Pexels

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