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Wedding abroad? here's our top tips

Last updated August 14th, 2014

By Laura Pearson-Smith
Whether you are getting married at home or abroad, planning a wedding is stressful. It’s supposed to be the happiest day of your life, so you want it to live up to those expectations. How easy the planning and preparation is, however, is up to you and the type of wedding you want.
There are certain difficulties and expenses that can be avoided by having a wedding abroad (as they are often more intimate); but there are also a lot of additional potential problems and upsets that can be caused by choosing to do so.
If you have decided you want to get married abroad, the positives to this are that you are getting to have your wedding in the location you desire- it is your day after all. Depending on which country you choose, you can almost guarantee the weather and don’t have to organise contingency plans such as umbrellas and marquees. You may also be able to save a significant amount of money, as the number of guests you will have and need to cater for will be substantially less than if you were getting married at home. You may also not require the hire of a church or registry office if you are planning to say your vows on the beach.
As well as the positives, wedding planning abroad comes with its own unique set of difficulties to navigate around, so it’s important to be prepared for these.
As I’ve said, the number of guests you can have will be a lot less than at your local hotel at home-can you deal with the hurt and possible fallout of those not invited to be part of your special day, and can you cope with getting an “I can’t attend” RSVP because your invited guest simply can’t or doesn’t want to fly to another country?
You also have to remember there will be a language barrier when providing your chosen venue with your requirements. You also won’t be able to scrutinize every aspect of the day (such as the food and the flowers) like you could at home.
The most important consideration of all to take on board when deciding whether to get married abroad (or even just which country to choose) are that the laws are often very different abroad from those in the UK. In some countries (e.g. France) your marriage abroad won’t be legal until you return home and say your vows again at the local registry office.
Popular countries to get married abroad in are Italy (where you require a Nulla Osta- a document stating that where are no impediments to your marriage) the Caribbean and the USA.
It is important that you contact the embassy of your chosen country well in advance to ensure you have met all their paperwork requirements and that you also speak to a lawyer to check whether your marriage will be legal when you return to the UK.
Whatever you choose, make sure that you research it thoroughly and understand all of the consequences and potential pitfalls. Preparation is key, as is doing what makes you happy. This is your day, and they will be your memories for a lifetime.

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