Weddings abroad have soared in popularity since I started editing Wedding Ideas six years ago. Being a traditional English country garden-type bride, I married in late summer in a manor house in Somerset, and then jetted off for a honeymoon in the Caribbean. Even though our wedding was magical and we had incredible weather, we still both gave a little sigh as we walked onto the sand at the picture-perfect Couples Resort and muttered, “Why didn’t we do it here?”  “The best thing about having a wedding abroad for me was that it was just like a holiday from the start to finish,” says Wedding Ideas‘ Rachel Southwood. “Everyone was relaxed and I had a close group of people with me who made it amazing. The worst things, though, were the mosquitos. Repellent is the last thing you think about on the morning of your wedding, but you must spray or wipe your legs. I was bitten SO badly! Another random thing about getting married abroad is that your guests start to use you like a Red Coat! You need to encourage your guests to be independent. Perhaps use a timetable, so you know when you’re all eating together and when you need time on your own.”

Want top tips for planning weddings abroad? Rachel Morgan from Wedding Ideas reveals her expert advice on choosing the perfect location.
A wedding set-up at Thomson’s Azul Beach hotel in Mexico

To be frank, the reason why we didn’t have a wedding abroad wasn’t because of family constraints, or costs but rather the fact that I thought it would be too stressful. How can I explain exactly how I want my tables to look over the phone? How am I going to describe my hairdo to a stylist I’ve never met before? Will the florist be able to source the flowers I want? What type of beach-friendly wedding dress should I pack, and what it if my suitcase gets lost? If only I had known then, what I know now… a few weeks ago I flew out to Mexico to test Thomson’s offering for weddings abroad. We sat in on a wedding planning workshop where a UK couple were being taken through the different reception options available – and they were numerous! More than I had ever expected. The tables were actually set up as they would be on the day, with different colour chair backs, with different table centres… and if the bride didn’t like anything on offer, the wedding co-ordinator could contact local suppliers to get exactly the right details. I wasn’t offered that kind of service here in the UK! And when it comes to dresses, Mori Lee Voyage, Mark Lesley Paradise and Sandals at Dessy all had gorgeous gowns that would have been perfect for hot climates.

With one in five weddings now taking place abroad (according to Mintel Feb 2011), and the average cost of getting married overseas standing at £6,585 – less than a third of the cost of a UK wedding – holding a real wedding abroad is becoming an attractive option for brides on a budget. Italy is in the top 5 for overseas wedding locations, thanks to its short-haul flight, incredible food and sunny climate. “For those couples looking for stunning scenery, there are numerous open-air locations along the Amalfi Coast,” says the team at bestweddingaway.co.uk. “The cost of a civil service in Ravello is around £375 and approximately £330 in Positano.”

Want top tips for planning weddings abroad? Rachel Morgan from Wedding Ideas reveals her expert advice on choosing the perfect location.
Marry in the city that never sleeps with the help of iPlan New York                B-Freed Photography

But it’s not all about beach weddings. “If you’re looking for a cost-effective magical destination wedding, then New York is the perfect choice,” says wedding planner Lisa from iPlan New York. “From an intimate wedding in city hall a la Carrie and Big to a large ceremony in Central Park, you’re only limited by your imagination.” Real bride Lucille Ridley tied the knot in the city that never sleeps. “It’s very special to us because Michael popped the question while on holiday here for my 30th birthday. We fell for the people, the sights, the skyline… the list goes on.”

Wherever you choose to marry abroad, it’s essential to get all the boring legal bits right – check out our handy wedding planning section for tips and advice and make sure you choose the right location for you. I absolutely love Ibiza… how hard would it be to plan a vow renewal there, I wonder…?

“What’s great about weddings abroad?”

What our tweet mates on the Wedding Ideas Twitter page had to say…

I got married in Canada and not only was it incredibly cheaper all the people I wanted to be there were there, and there were no family politics – hezzabelle

No stress and the pictures are fab! – k_southern

Less random family members attending (mean but true) and guaranteed weather. – crankyclaudz

Easy to exclude people on the grounds that they can’t afford it! – rie_rie85

It provides a much-needed vacation for everyone, creating memories for a lifetime! – kismetbridal

I would say the weather! Rainy days are not good for long dresses and groovy shoes! – janineboyer

You get to have another party at home! – wimagazine

For me, it was the weather and having a week long wedding with all my friends there. –  BohoWeddings

Got married in Sri Lanka and the simplicity of the day made it feel very romantic. We had a few family and friends come with us – it was fab that everyone got to know each other better. – The GlosWedCo

I get married in May in Rhodes! best thing is less competition of suppliers out there so less decisions! – BellesDEpoca

1 COMMENT

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here