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What You Need To Know About Marrying Abroad - Part 1

More and more couples are becoming interested in holding their weddings abroad, according to destination wedding experts MarryAbroad. The company say that "cost may be a large factor in this, with a wedding abroad costing on average £6,000, compared to the UK average of £20,000. "

Potential savings aside, there's certainly something appealing about knowing that you're going to have sunny blue skies on your Big Day, and you'll find plenty of dazzling beach wedding dresses on offer. We asked Marry Abroad for their advice on getting hitched away from home and were given these useful hints and tips.

How to plan a wedding abroad (by MarryAbroad)

1. Do your research before deciding where you want to marry.

2. Make sure you have a wedding planner in the country in which you are marrying. She will know local suppliers and will save you money and time by sourcing everything herself.

3. There is no etiquette regarding paying for guests to join you abroad. If you are getting married abroad you usually want to either €œescape€ inviting everyone you know to the wedding, or to have a wedding unlike all your friends. If you're happy to pay for guests to join you then that's fine, but it's also fine to not pay for them. Sometimes the couple will pay for close family to join them, and all other guests pay for themselves. Sometimes, they don't even pay for close family. Whatever you do, make it clear on the invitation what you are paying for, and that there is no pressure for guests to join you. That way guests don't feel pressured into paying for an expensive 'holiday' to see you get married.

4. State on the invitation if you are having a party to celebrate your marriage when you get home. That's one way of seeing all your friends but not expecting them to pay a lot to see you exchange vows.

5. Your wedding planner will be able to advise on legalities. If you are having a wedding in a non-English speaking country you will need to have the paperwork translated, and usually stamped with an apostille. The Foreign and Commonwealth office - www.fco.gov.uk - is a useful resource. Solicitors can provide a Certificate of Single status, and your local Registry office can provide a Certificate of No Impediment. You will need original or certified copies of: your birth certificates; any previous divorce certificates; or death certificates of any previous spouse.

6. Take out wedding insurance specifically for weddings abroad, just in case. Check the small print as the policy probably won't cover 'acts of god' such as tsunami/earthquake/ash clouds.

Pros and Cons of getting married abroad

Pros

1. You should have less 'advice' from family and friends and can have the wedding you truly want

2. It can cost a lot less than at home (average UK wedding is £20k, average destination wedding is £6.5k) *source, Mintel

3. You can choose the type of weather you want (snow, sun, tropical etc)

4. You can cut down the guest list so you only have the people you care about most with you

5. You can combine your wedding and honeymoon in one

6. You may be able to stream your ceremony on the internet for people at home to see

Cons

1. Fewer guests will be able to join you due to costs

2. It may take more time and cost more to ensure you have the right paperwork and necessary stamps and translations

3. Not all countries allow non-residents to legally marry there.

Need-to-know checklist

1. Allow enough time to sort out the paperwork, it can take some time, depending on the country

2. Some hotels will offer a 'free' wedding ceremony if you stay for a certain number of nights or bring a certain number of guests

3. Send out 'save the date' cards well in advance if you want guests to be able to join you. The more notice you give, the more likely they will be able to come

4. Choose a wedding dress which is appropriate for the weather you expect. A heavy wedding dress on a tropical beach may make you look uncomfortable in your wedding photos!

5. Check the weather for the time of year in which you wish to get married. Hurricane or rainy season may not be your ideal time of year.

6. Get married out of season - you may save even more money

7. Make sure you book your travel tickets in your maiden name as you can't change it until you get back

Some interesting points to think about. Thanks to Marry Abroad for this useful information - the website is worth a close look.

Check out this advice on avoiding jet lag too.