Tips to help you plan the perfect independent wedding

There’s so much to organise for your wedding day already, that the idea of doing it independently if you want to get married abroad can seem like that little bit too much hassle.

But if you’re being kept awake by visions of your special day turning soggy after an unexpected shower or you are hankering for something a little more exotic than the local registry office, a wedding abroad could be the perfect solution. What’s more, it needn’t break the bank. Read on for the Cheapflights guide to making the big day perfect, without spending too much…

Choose your destination

Where would your fantasy wedding be? Winter wonderland or a sun-drenched beach? The climate you want to enjoy on the big day will help you choose the perfect destination. There’s no limit to what you could do, from tying the knot on a paradise Caribbean beach, getting hitched on the hop in Las Vegas to declaring underwater love at the Great Barrier Reef in Australia. You really can let your imagination run wild. Have a look at wedding websites, speak to friends, or think about revisiting places that have a special significance for you as a couple.

Find out about legal requirements

Once you’ve decided in which country you want to get married, make sure you do some thorough research about the legal requirements. Some places, such as Las Vegas, require only that you get a marriage licence when you arrive. Others, such as France, will need one of you to be living in your chosen place of marriage for at least 30 days before the ceremony. Speak to the embassy or consulate of the country that you want to go to. It is common that you will need to produce a certificate of no impediment. In order to get this you need to post the notice of marriage at your local registry office at home for three weeks. Many places also require parental consent if one of you is under 19. And remember that a wedding abroad will often be a civil ceremony.

Decide on the style of ceremony

Once you’ve chosen the country and checked that you can fulfil the legalities, think about what style of service you want. Again the choices are endless – you could tie the knot overlooking the sea in the gardens of a hotel on the Amalfi Coast, at a Civil Service in a town hall, on top of a mountain, on the beach, or even in an ice chapel in Sweden.

Where will your guests stay?

It can lead to more fun if you suggest that all of your guests stay in the same hotel (though whether you want to stay there too, or at a hotel up the road is your choice). Have a look at hotels available in the area, and book numbers as soon as you can. It is often possible to hire entire hotels for weddings at a reduced rate. Many will offer wedding services – at a bit of extra cost.

Book your flights

Check for price comparisons by season. You can book for everyone and arrive on the same flight, which makes it easier to arrange onward transport and extends the party atmosphere a bit longer, or leave them to find their own deals.

Before you go

So all the practicalities are organised and booked. There are just the frills to organise. Remember that many of the fancy parts of a traditional British wedding – the cake, the flowers, the three-course meal – are considered unusual abroad. If you’re getting married in a very hot climate, a three-tiered wedding cake can very quickly melt and start to look droopy. Research the traditional customs of the country in which you’re planning on getting married, it may prove practical as well as more “exotic” to follow these. And work out how to pack and transport your wedding clothes well in advance, checking with your airline to see if this is one item that should be with you on the flight, or tucked away safely in the hold.

About the author

Oonagh ShielContent Manager at Cheapflights whose travel life can be best summed up as BC (before children) and PC (post children). We only travel during the school holidays so short-haul trips and staycations are our specialities!

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