The essentials of getting wed abroad

All the little practicalities of tying the knot far and away


Often, the most difficult part about getting married abroad is choosing which fabulous destination you fancy, but there are also some logistics to think of, too.


Luckily, MarryAbroad.co.uk has some handy tips to make sure your planning wedding abroad goes without a hitch.

The basics

  • Don’t leave the paperwork until the last minute. We know there are far more exciting parts of the day to plan, but making sure you have the right documents can take some time (3-6 months), depending on the country.
  • Look for bargains. Some hotels will offer a ‘free’ wedding ceremony if you stay for a certain number of nights or bring a certain number of guests (particularly in the Caribbean).
  • Make sure you have guests! Send your save the date cards well in advance, especially if your date is in summer-holiday season. The more notice you give, the more likely people will be able to come.
  • Choose a wedding dress that’s right for the weather. A heavy gown on a tropical beach, or a a silk slip on a snowy mountain may make you look uncomfortable in your wedding photos!
  • Talking of weather, make sure you check it for the time of year in which you wish to get married. Hurricane or rainy season may not be ideal.
  • Get married out of season – you may save even more money.
  • Make sure you book your travel tickets in your maiden name, unless you change your name before you go. No one wants a fuss at the airport the day before their wedding.
  • Worried about your wedding gown getting lost in the luggage department? Most airlines will allow you to bring your wedding dress as hand luggage, just contact them when you make your booking to ask.
  • If your family are all travelling together then ask for a group rate with your airline to save even more money.
  • We know you don’t want to think about things going wrong, but it’s a good idea to take out wedding insurance that covers weddings abroad, as well as general travel insurance.

The legalities

Every country has different marriage legalities, ranging from practically no paperwork required in Las Vegas, to a two-year residency period in Spain. But as a rule of thumb you will probably need most of the documents below in order to get married abroad.

  • Full birth certificates showing both parents’ names
  • Passports
  • If divorced, show your original final divorce papers
  • If widowed, show the death certificate of your former spouse
  • If you have changed your name then show legal proof of the change

If you are marrying in a non-English speaking country then these may all have to be translated by an official translator and stamped with an apostle.


Additional documents

Some countries ask you to provide these extra pieces of paperwork:

  • Certificate of No Impediment (CNI) – to prove there no objections to your proposed marriage

This can be obtained from your local register office in the UK or your consulate/embassy in the country in which you are getting married. Sometimes a UK-issued CNI needs to be exchanged for a local one, which your consulate can do in the country in which you are getting married.

  • Certificate of Single Status/Sworn Affidavit to show 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 (solicitor/notary).

  • Apostille Stamp and translations

Some countries require foreign legal documents to be stamped with an apostille which then makes them legal documents in that country. This can be done at the UK Legalisation Office.

You may also have to have your documents translated officially and then stamped with an apostille – it really depends on the country in which you’re getting married.


For more details on getting married abroad visit MarryAbroad.co.uk or contact request@marryabroad.co.uk,  0116 236 3062.