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How to plan the perfect destination wedding



Destination weddings are becoming increasingly popular with British couples as they often work out cheaper than getting married in the UK. In addition to the financial savings, couples also get to experience glorious sunshine and exotic locations as the backdrop to their big day.

Whilst planning a wedding overseas is an exciting prospect, there are many factors to consider to ensure that the day runs smoothly. Halo Financial has put together this useful guide to help you plan the perfect destination wedding from choosing an ideal location to the importance of currency exchange solutions.

Destination Wedding - Getting Married Abroad

Where are the most popular destination wedding locations in 2021?

Whether you picture your dream wedding abroad to be a cultural extravaganza in a historic venue or a quiet, intimate ceremony on a white sandy beach, there is indeed a perfect overseas wedding location for everyone.

Thailand

Although famous for its beautiful beaches, Thailand can also cater for those who dream of a mountain retreat wedding or even a botanical garden wedding. Hailed as the ‘land of smiles’, Thailand is an incredibly versatile destination and is known for being extremely cost-effective.

Many couples will be apprehensive about getting married abroad from 2021 onwards due to COVID-19. However, Thailand has been ranked third place in the Global COVID-19 Recovery Index (GCI) and is known for its high hygiene standards, with the medical sector remaining resilient throughout the pandemic.

For a full list of requirements when getting married in Thailand, please head to the UK government website.

France

France is an ideal location for couples looking for a high culture wedding experience, complete with fine food and wine. Working with a local wedding planner can help you discover beautiful historic venues across France to wow both you and your guests, from stunning chateaus to picturesque vineyards.

Discover more information about getting married in France.

Morocco

Morocco is a fantastic option for those looking for a colourful and lively destination wedding experience. Getting married in Morocco allows you to walk down the aisle with a camel whilst entertaining your guests with thrilling performances from fire eaters and belly-dancers.

However, weddings in Morocco can also be quiet and intimate, with beautiful venues for smaller gatherings such as private villas and luxury hotels.

You can find more information and requirements for getting married in Morocco here.

Bora Bora

No destination wedding location list is complete without the inclusion of Bora Bora. The French Polynesian island is the perfect overseas wedding location for couples looking to get married in paradise. Given its stunning surroundings, Bora Bora is the perfect option for couples looking for an ‘all in one’ wedding and honeymoon destination.

Bora Bora is ideal for luxurious yet intimate beach weddings overlooking the turquoise sea with its beautiful secluded resorts.

Discover the requirements for British couples looking to get married in French Polynesia here.

Iceland

A slightly more unique location for a destination wedding location, Iceland is an attractive option for couples looking to get married abroad that want an alternative to the traditional sunshine, beach wedding route.

Iceland is perfect for nature lovers, with the option to get married by a private waterfall, a glacier lagoon or even a lighthouse overlooking the sea cliffs. For couples looking for a beach wedding with a twist, there’s the option to get married by a historical shipwreck beach.

Discover more about getting married in Iceland here.

How has COVID-19 impacted getting married abroad?

2020 was a challenging year for couples set to get married, let alone those due to get married overseas. The coronavirus pandemic saw thousands of weddings abroad cancelled and postponed due to travel restrictions and border closures.

With thousands of new COVID-19 cases still being recorded globally, many couples will wonder if it’s even worth planning a wedding abroad during a pandemic. Whilst the future of COVID-19 remains uncertain, it is still possible to plan a destination wedding, but it’s crucial to ensure that you are protected financially.

It’s advised that couples planning a wedding overseas and their guests should book travel arrangements with travel agents covered by the Association of British Travel Agents (ABTA) and Air Travel Organiser’s Licensing (ATOL). Having this protection in place means that you and your guests will be compensated if bookings are cancelled due to COVID-19 measures and restrictions.

As well as having the relevant travel protection in place, it’s also a good idea to keep track of rates of infection and entry requirements of different countries. It’s advisable to stay away from countries with high infection rates, who are likely to be subject to border closures.

With coronavirus travel restrictions currently active in the UK, many couples will not have the opportunity to look around prospective wedding venues at present. However, many popular overseas wedding venues are now offering virtual tours, allowing couples to view locations and plan a wedding abroad from the comfort of their own home.

Destination Wedding

What do I need to consider when planning an overseas wedding?

When planning an overseas wedding, it becomes clear that there is more involved than initially anticipated. Thankfully, there are a few tips which can help you along the way.

Hiring a wedding planner

Some couples getting married abroad may forgo a wedding planner, but hiring a professional with a thorough knowledge of the area can take a significant weight off your shoulders. A wedding planner can help you discover some of the best wedding venues in your desired location and put you in touch with local, trusted suppliers.

Check the legal requirements

If you choose to get married abroad, the most important thing to check is the legality of your wedding. Depending on the country in which you choose to get married, you will have a specific set of legal requirements to ensure your marriage is legal. It’s always best to check the country’s legal requirements from the outset to confirm if it’s a viable option. For example, some countries do not allow same-sex marriage, while others require couples to be residents for a certain amount of time prior to the ceremony.

Check the weather

It’s always best to check that your desired wedding date coincides with suitable temperatures in your country of choice. A July wedding in some countries could involve unbearably hot weather for your guests, whilst other countries could see sub-zero temperatures. Whilst you want guests to be comfortable, choosing slightly off-peak seasons where temperatures are milder could result in greater value for money.

Check local wedding traditions

Weddings in certain countries operate very differently to traditional UK weddings, with some being an all-day affair and others starting later on in the afternoon and into the early hours of the morning. Ensure that you and your guests will be happy with the day’s order and comfortable with local traditions.

Check the accessibility of the venue

Imagine finding the perfect wedding venue, but, upon closer inspection, it’s out in the middle of nowhere, hours from the airport and no nearby hotels. It’s essential to make sure that your wedding venue is reasonably easy to get to, with suitable nearby accommodation options for your guests.

Honeymoon at Sea

What are some different types of honeymoons?

Once you’ve planned your perfect destination wedding, the next item is to plan the honeymoon. When people imagine a honeymoon, many will picture a relaxing beach holiday. However, there are many options for choosing the perfect honeymoon.

City honeymoon

Honeymoons don’t always have to be by the sea; a culture-filled city honeymoon could be the perfect option. Paris, the city of love, is a fantastic choice for a city honeymoon with an array of fine dining restaurants, museums, art and shopping.

Adventure honeymoon

For adrenaline seekers, the idea of a beach honeymoon may seem rather dull. Thankfully, there are many options for adventurous couples looking for something a bit more action-packed. Popular choices for adventure honeymoons include African safaris, a climb up Kilimanjaro or treks across the Gobi Desert.

Ski Resort honeymoon

The ski resort honeymoon is another fantastic alternative to the traditional beach getaway. Couples can experience a romantic day on the slopes, followed by a cosy evening in a luxury chalet, complete with a hot tub and roaring fire. The Swiss Alps is a popular honeymoon choice for ski lovers, with luxury resorts and picturesque settings.

Cruise honeymoon

For couples who love to sample a bit of everything, cruise honeymoons are a great way to visit multiple destinations and savour a variety of experiences. The on-board casinos, bars and gourmet food will also keep you entertained in the meantime.

Road trip honeymoon

Road trip honeymoons are an excellent choice for spontaneous couples who love to go where the wind takes them. Renting a motorhome and travelling across the United States will undoubtedly provide you with an abundance of experiences and honeymoon memories to treasure forever.

What are the pros and cons of a destination wedding?

Whilst destination weddings can provide idyllic locations for couples to exchange vows; they also come with advantages and disadvantages. Here is a list of destination weddings’ pros and cons to decipher if getting married abroad is right for you.

Pros of destination weddings:

Affordability

One of the most significant advantages of a destination wedding is that they tend to be considerably more affordable than UK weddings. Many popular overseas wedding locations offer reasonably priced all-inclusive wedding packages, meaning couples often get better value for money.

Intimate gatherings

Getting married abroad is perfect for couples who favour smaller intimate weddings with close family and friends. Due to the logistics of planning a wedding overseas, it’s much easier to narrow down your guest list without feeling obliged to invite everyone you know.

Extended celebrations

With traditional home weddings, one of the biggest pressures is having the time to speak to everyone during the big day, and it often feels as though celebrations are crammed into a short space of time. With destination weddings, you and your guests have the chance to extend the celebrations over several days, making it a much more relaxed occasion.

Cons destination weddings

More planning

Destination weddings undoubtedly require more planning than a traditional home wedding. With many factors to consider, it can be stressful organising and researching every detail, including travel arrangements for you and your guests.

Guests missing out

Whilst destination weddings are ideal for smaller gatherings; there will undoubtedly be valued guests who will miss out. Whether it’s older relatives who will struggle with the travelling, family members who can’t afford the flights and accommodation or friends with young children who cannot make childcare arrangements.

Legal requirements

The legal requirements of getting married in another country can make wedding organisation more complicated and force you to revise your plans. Whether it’s additional paperwork or  holding two separate ceremonies, laws can make destination weddings difficult to navigate.

How do I budget for a destination wedding?

The average cost of a UK wedding is around GBP 16,005, whereas the average cost of a wedding abroad is around GBP 6,585. Whilst there are significant savings to be made with destination weddings, couples must, first of all, decipher what they can afford. Having a set figure from the outset can allow you to make arrangements around your budget.

Some questions to ask yourself when budgeting for a destination wedding include:

  • Where do I want to get married?
  • What month do I want to get married?
  • How many guests will I invite?
  • What will be the transportation costs?
  • What will be the venue costs?
  • What will be the vendor costs?

Taking a look at each of these key areas can help you gain insight into average pricings and allow you to plan accordingly. A wedding planner can also help you find the best deals and ensure you are not overpaying for individual vendors.

What is the best way to pay for a wedding abroad?

Whilst destination weddings can be incredibly cost-effective, many do not realise that they could end up losing money if the right foreign exchange solution is not put in place. Finding great deals on wedding photographers and florists is one thing, but paying these vendors in another currency can lead to financial losses.

Volatility in currency markets can result in both ideal and poor exchange rates, so the aim is to make your currency transfer at just the right time, taking advantage of currency fluctuations. At Halo Financial, we understand that you don’t have the time to monitor exchange rates for the best deal when you have a wedding to plan, that’s why our foreign exchange solutions do all the hard work for you.

Halo Financial operates using smart currency exchange solutions to save you time and money when paying overseas wedding vendors. Your specialist currency consultant will work with you to help decipher the best strategy to suit you.

If you’d like to know more about how to save money when planning your destination wedding, please give us a call on 020 7350 5474.