Getting married abroad – is it for you…

The pros and cons of organising an overseas wedding

InterContinental Bora Bora Le Moana Resort

More and more British couples, around 16%, are jetting off to get married abroad. From exotic islands to Italian farmhouses and the beaches of Australia or South Africa, almost anything is possible…



The weather: It’s the one thing beyond the control of even the best wedding planners. So it’s no surprise that guaranteed sunshine is at the top of the list when couples start thinking about where to get married. Little wonder, then, that the beaches of Barbados and Bali, and Spain and St Lucia are ever-popular.

The budget: Even after you’ve splashed out on flights and accommodation, a wedding abroad could be cheaper than one in the UK. If you go for a smaller guest list in a destination like  Europe or South Africa, and you’re almost guaranteed to save on overall costs.

Small is beautiful: Overseas weddings are great for couples who want an intimate day with close family and a few friends. It’s also perfect for anyone wanting to avoid asking all those people they’d feel obliged to invite if the wedding was in the UK. You can always have a party at home afterwards to include anyone left behind.

Hello honeymoon: You wake up as man and wife, and already you’re in the honeymoon destination of your dreams (but beware of your guests – see cons!)…


The budget: If you want the same size  – or a more extravagant – wedding abroad as you’d have at home, be prepared to pay just as much (or more) for it.

Absent friends: The farther away the destination, the less likely it is that elderly guests, those with children or those strapped for cash will be able to make it. You need to be comfortable with the possibility of some close family and friends not being there.

Paperwork: In some countries it’s easy to get married, while others have lengthy residency rules or mountains of paperwork.

Click here for all the weddings abroad paperwork info you need.

Less control: I won’t be possible to organise everything yourself. You’ll need to place a lot of trust in the venue or a local wedding planner, plus their suppliers, to ensure everything is under control when you arrive. You’ll need to compromise more than you would at home.

Private time: Guests will have travelled to be with you, so think about how you’ll get some alone time with your new spouse after the big day.


  • Ask your wedding planner, tour operator or venue lots of questions, and get everything in writing.
  • Regardless of how sunny your destination is, make sure whatever location you choose has the capacity to cater for your guests indoors (just in case!)
  • Before you book flights, make sure you understand your airline’s luggage policy, and be clear about how you’ll transport important items such as your dress. Ask your wedding shop or designer to package the dress for you so you know it’s been done professionally. Ask for it to be put in a bag suitable to carry on the plane as hand luggage. Avoid allowing the airline to stow your dress in the hold (especially if you’re flying long-haul and you have a stopover along the way).
  • Check whether there are any special health precautions recommended for your chosen destination (vaccinations, malaria tablets, etc) as these can sometimes take several months to plan.

For websites offering advice on getting married in destinations worldwide and for specialist planners try










And to find a tour operator for your wedding abroad, click here