It’s so simple to get caught up in the romance of a destination wedding. A whole world of excitement and wedding talk awaits, but before you dive in at the deep end, ask yourself these simple questions.
Have You Considered The Legal Requirements?
Marriage laws vary between countries. some countries, you have to be a resident to be able to legally marry there. This is something you need to know from the outset , so you can be sure if the ceremony is going to be symbolic or legal.
France for example, requires 40 days’ residency before you can legally marry there and your ceremony must take place 10 days after your marriage banns. Other countries have no residency requirements. Laws for same-sex marriages can vary as well , so check with foreign embassies first.
If you’re set on a destination but the law doesn’t allow a legal marriage, consider a registry office wedding in your hometown, then hold a blessing overseas. A symbolic ceremony allows you to experience your wedding just as you would if you were being married civilly/legally, most couples do not share with their guests that they are having a symbolic ceremony; because to you, it is the OFFICIAL ceremony and as real to you as it would be if were legal.
Do You Want Tailor-Made Or Package?
Once you’ve picked your wedding destination, decide whether you want a wedding package, or if you’d like to tailor-make your day independently or through a wedding planner.
Many travel companies offer a ‘menu’ of wedding packages held within a hotel resort. They’ll often have a wedding planner on speed-dial and they’ll manage every detail of the day – handy if you have lots of guests.
The alternative for a more personalised service is to research local wedding planners and find out what they can offer check out their reviews of past weddings before you commit. Use a specialist destination directory to find the best vendors for your chosen location. Find discussion groups where you can discuss your plans with other brides and grooms, ask questions direct to planners and vendors who know the venue and area well.
Is Everyone Okay With The Costs Involved?
One of the major upsides of a destination wedding is that it can be more cost effective . Generally there are fewer guests and often the “big day” can stretch into an extended break with close friends and family.
It does mean that some of your guests – however small the group – may have to pay more than they would have to attend a wedding at home. Unless you’re planning to pay for travel and accommodations for each of your guests, you’ll need to consider how much it would cost for them to attend. If the travel expenses are outrageous, don’t be surprised if guests forgo gifts or have to skip your nuptials for financial reasons.
What About Your Visas and Vaccines?
You have to consider the implications of travelling to a foreign country. That means you have all the usual boxes to tick such as visas, insurances and (depending on destination) vaccines. Don’t make assumptions because you have travelled to a country before; as entry requirements are constantly updated.
For example by the end of 2023, the EU is aiming to bring in a new visa waiver system, called ETIAS, which will be similar to the ESTA for travel to the US and be valid for three years. Once introduced, passport holders travelling to the EU will need to apply and pay for an ETIAS, via an online system.
Have You Got Travel Insurance?
While going on holiday should be a fun and enjoyable experience, sometimes the unexpected can happen. Travel Insurance is designed to give you financial peace of mind that you are covered should something unexpected happen, so you are not left out of pocket, in the event of a valid claim. It’s also important to note that travel insurance will not cover lost deposits related to the wedding event itself, such as your deposits for the venue, caterer, flowers and other event expenses.
To cover those payments, look into specific wedding insurance.
When Should You Get Wedding Insurance?
If you ask wedding and insurance professionals when’s the best time to buy wedding insurance, they will tell you the sooner, the better. Our suggestion is to make sure you have coverage in place as soon as possible and definitely before you start paying deposits. A lot of Brides and Grooms buy a policy up to two years in advance. That way, as your deposit dates approach, you can start making payments and have coverage.
It’s imperative to get wedding insurance as soon as possible because the wedding industry, traditionally, only uses non-refundable contracts. We’d always advise insuring those non-refundable deposits as soon as you and your partner start planning. As an example, let’s say you book and pay your wedding photographer a year before the wedding, and one month before the wedding they become bankrupt or go into liquidation. If you buy a policy after the fact, you might not have coverage, however there are some wedding insurance providers that provide cover for deposits that you have already paid before getting a wedding insurance policy. That’s why it’s important you have the appropriate insurance policy in place
Are You Prepared For The Unexpected?
It’s a good idea to have wedding travel insurance and contingency plans in place, be it a weather-related alternative venue or in the unlikely event your wedding dress, rings or gifts are lost or stolen. Choose a wedding insurance that includes specific weddings abroad cover – ideally one that includes cover for the cost of replacing any documents essential for the wedding that may get lost or damaged.
So, what are you waiting for? Whether it’s a beach wedding or city wedding, get your wedding abroad covered today.
What should I do next?
Start researching elopement planners that specialise at your chosen wedding location, or consult specialists such WeddingsAbroad.com – who have travelled the world extensively not only planning weddings but working with hotels/resorts/tourism boards advising them on their destination wedding portfolio. They now have an impressive directory of vendors worldwide to start you on your exciting destination wedding planning journey.
Don’t forget to discuss with other brides and grooms going through the same experience on our dedicated group facebook.com/groups/weddingsabroad/
Please note: WeddingsAbroad.com and the materials and information it contains are not intended to, and do not constitute, legal, financial or medical advice and should not be used as such. You should always consult with your professional advisors about your specific circumstances.