A Guide to Getting Married Abroad

An overseas wedding can cost on average a third of a typical UK wedding, so it's little wonder many couples are choosing to tie the knot abroad. Not only could you get to say 'I do' in a warm and exotic location, you can also combine your nuptials with your honeymoon and start married life in style!

While getting wed overseas can be a wonderfully romantic way to cement your commitment to your partner, a ceremony abroad can mean extra hurdles to jump through! Here are some tips for ensuring your special day goes without a hitch...

Plan ahead

The crucial thing to remember about getting married abroad is making sure your nuptials are legally recognised in the UK. You'll need to follow all the legal requirements of the country you want to get married in.

You will normally need to gather some legal documents before jetting off. The documents required will vary depending on the country, but generally you'll need:

  • Your birth certificates
  • Valid 10-year passports (which will usually need to be valid for at least six months from your return date)
  • A Certificate of No Impediment to state there are no objections to your proposed marriage
  • A single Status Declaration stating you are free to marry

If applicable, you may also need:

  • A decree absolute if you are divorced
  • An adoption certificate if you are adopted
  • A death certificate if you are widowed

Check out Gov.UK - getting married abroad for a detailed list of requirements for each country.

Consider the finer points

Many countries have specific requirements you must obey in order to obtain a marriage licence. For example, some countries impose minimum residency stay periods so you need to stay in the country for a certain amount of time before you can marry.

For instance, in Spain you can only marry if you've been a resident of the country for the last two years. So, unless you fancy relocating to Spain, you may need to settle for a blessing and sort out the legalities back home.

If you are organising a same-sex wedding, you need to bear in mind that there are some countries where same-sex marriage and civil partnerships are not legally recognised, including countries like Russia, Turkey and Poland. But don't let this put you off, as there any many amazing destinations such as Portugal, Malta and Australia where you can make your love for each other official.

If you wish to have a religious wedding ceremony, you'll need to check with the local authorities to ensure your marriage will be legally binding. In some countries, such as Turkey, civil ceremonies are the only type of ceremony that have a legal status. In this instance, if you wish to have a religious ceremony you will also need to have a civil one to validate your marriage.

Travel mishaps
"In Spain you can only marry if you've been a resident there for two years. So, unless you fancy relocating to Spain, you may need to settle for a blessing."
Check your luggage weight carefully
"A local wedding planner may prove invaluable in helping you seek caterers, photographers and florists. Their knowledge of local customs and traditions may help to add some lovely touches to your big day."

Hire a local wedding planner

A local wedding planner who knows the area and speaks the local lingo may prove invaluable in helping you seek caterers, photographers and florists. Their local connections may mean they are able to secure discounts, while their knowledge of local customs and traditions may help to add some lovely touches to your big day.

Choose your wedding outfits wisely

That heavy princess style gown is only going to make you feel hot and stuffy while you recite your vows on a beach in Barbados! Lightweight fabrics such as chiffon, lace or charmeuse will look in-keeping with your relaxed beach wedding while ensuring you feel cool and comfortable. Likewise, chose a lightweight fabric for bridesmaid dresses and linen suits for the groomsmen.

Host a party back home

Although cheaper for you, the average cost for a guest at a wedding abroad is around £2,050 and this may prove too expensive for some of your guests. Maybe some guests will be forced to decline your invite due to childcare issues or work commitments. Consider hosting a second reception back home to include those friends and family who couldn't make it overseas. That way, no one feels left out and you could show your wedding video or photos at the party to help bring the two celebrations together.

Take some of the pressure off your guests

For those guests who are able to attend your wedding, appreciate that they're forking out a lot of money to be part of your big day, and try to help them out where you can.

Take some of the financial pressure off your guests by keeping the stag and hen dos lowkey to compensate and if your guests are paying for their own flights and accommodation, make sure their food and drink is taken care of during the big day. It may also be a good idea to stress that having your friends and family at your wedding is gift enough and presents are not expected.

Check the weather

July may be a great time to walk down the aisle in Italy, but it's monsoon season in Thailand, and we doubt the 'dragged through a hedge backwards' look is what you have in mind for your wedding photos! Likewise, a heat wave could leave both you and your guests melting and uncomfortable (a key consideration if you are inviting children or the elderly to your wedding!) So, if you're having an outdoor ceremony, make sure you choose the right time of year and avoid monsoon or hurricane season.

Get covered

Weddings can be stressful to say the least. There's so much to remember and tick off your to-do list. While we're sure your big day will go smoothly, it's best to be prepared for the unexpected. Give yourself peace of mind with a travel insurance policy, so you can concentrate on enjoying your special day and making lifelong memories.

Remember to get your travel insurance at the time of booking, not the week before you're due to fly! No matter how well you prepare for your wedding day, the reality is some things are out of your hands. What if a tsunami hits and puts a halt on your dream wedding in Taiwan? Or you suffer a family emergency and need to postpone your wedding?

Sorting out your cover as soon as you've booked will mean you are protected from the minute you've bought your policy and may mean you are covered for cancelled or delayed flights, curtailment and lost luggage.

Ensure you've got enough cover to protect against potential mishaps such as damaged wedding outfits, misplaced rings or lost wedding gifts and always check the finer details for the value you are covered up to and whether you need to pay an excess.

At Compare Cover, we've made finding and comparing travel insurance quick and easy. Our online quote form is easy to use, and our travel insurance guides are full of helpful information to answer any questions you may have about purchasing the right travel insurance policy for your big day.


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