Top tips for planning a wedding abroad

The trend to marry abroad is on the rise, with more couples seeking reliable weather, lower wedding costs and that exotic factor to make their nuptials stand out from the crowd.

But saying “I do” in a foreign country means even more forward planning, double checking you have all the paperwork and not overlooking the small details that are easy to forget.

Read on for the top nine things you need to think about when planning a wedding overseas, as compiled by experts MarryAbroad.co.uk…

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Leave enough time for the paperwork…

Couples should make sure they allow plenty of time to sort out the marriage documents, which can take between three to six months to complete depending on the country.

Send save the dates early…

Couples should post “save the date” cards well in advance. The more notice given, the more likely friends and family will be able to fly over and save for the trip.

Look out for free ceremonies…

Caribbean or North American resorts often offer a “free” wedding ceremony, if couples stay for a certain number of nights or bring a certain number of guests.

Listen to the weatherman…

When choosing a dress, brides should always have the weather of the country in mind, at the particular time of year they plan to marry. A heavy wedding dress on a tropical beach may make brides look uncomfortable and overheated in the photos. Hurricane or rainy seasons may also not be an ideal time of year for outdoor weddings, which is particularly true of the Caribbean and South East Asia. If couples are flexible about the date, then they should consider getting married in low season when hotel rates are better.

Talk to the airline…

Most airlines will allow brides to bring their wedding dress as hand luggage, however brides would need to contact the airline directly prior to booking. Also, if a family is travelling together, the whole party should ask for a group travel rate to save even more money. Check a travel search comparison site such as momondo.co.uk to find the best, most suitable flights.

Book flights in your maiden name…

Brides should remember to book airline tickets in their maiden name, unless they change their name legally before they fly.

Don’t forget all the paperwork…

Most countries require the following legal documents – passports; full birth certificates showing both parents’ names; if divorced, original final divorce papers; if widowed, death certificate of former spouse; if the bride/groom has changed their name(s), legal proof of the change.

If marrying in a non-English speaking country then documents may need to be translated by an official translator and stamped with an apostille. In the UK the Foreign and Commonwealth Office can legalise documents for a small fee.

Two additional certificates may also be necessary – a certificate of no impediment to marriage which can be obtained from a local department of foreign affairs, registrar or embassy in the chosen country; a certificate of single status/sworn affidavit that you are free to marry. These are similar to a certificate of no impediment, but instead you have to swear you are single in front of a legal representative such as a solicitor or notary.

Don’t forget the extras…

Apart from settling the balance of the actual wedding abroad, couples shouldn’t forget the “little extras” that need to be budgeted for in the UK, such as travel and wedding insurance, getting documents translated (if required), and getting the correct documents legalised.

Check and compare currencies…

When choosing a destination, couples should check and compare currency exchange rates to save substantially on costs. For example, the pound is currently extremely strong against the euro. This makes European weddings much cheaper than last year – approximately 23 per cent cheaper in May 2015 compared to December 2014. Couples should secure quotes from a selection of Forex companies to obtain the best rates to transfer money to their wedding provider and not forget that rates will usually vary, depending on the amount of money being transferred.

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