Choosing where to get married abroad can seem overwhelming and somewhat daunting, where do I start? Which country do I pick? Which is the best country to say I do?
Hopefully this might give you a little insight as to how to get the ball rolling. What you need to ask yourself is a few of the following questions.
All these answers are important and will determine where in the world you can afford for you and your wedding guests to get to.
I have tried to give you some insight below and have split it up into Europe, Caribbean and the Indian ocean.
Greece is rustic, beautiful, gorgeous blues, simple but delicious food and such friendly people. There are so many islands in greece it’s difficult to decide, but if you want your wedding ceremony somewhere in Greece here is another blog page to help you decide on an island.
Flight time: Between 3 hrs 20 and 4 hrs depending where in Greece.
Weather: Best months are May to early June and September. Mid June to end of August can be very hot indeed. If you like it hot it can be well into the 40’s !
Average cost: Ceremony venue 300-2000 euros. Reception venue 1200-4000 euros. Photography 300-1500 euros. Videography 400-1800 euros. DJ 500-2000 euros. Make up and hair 200-500 euros. Cake 120-300 euroThese are average costs from budget to expensive and vary according to venue, supplier and amount of guests your having.
Legalities: You will need to be in Greece at two days before your wedding and have copies of both bride and groom passports as well as both of your full birth certificates. A certificate of no impediment for each of you and copies of both of your wedding witnesses passports. Divorce papers if applicable. As soon as you have your marriage certificates you must submit them by apostle before having them translated. I recommend using a wedding planner, two great ones are: js divine events and Greek dream planners
Before visiting Italy I wasn’t sure it was going to live up to my expectations as they were pretty high, sure enough it exceeded them. It’s difficult to put into words but it’s timeless and just well Italy, even if you don’t go for your wedding you have to make a point of going at least some time in your life.
Flight time: 2 hr 45 min
Weather: Best months are similar to Greece, early June and September are popular as they aren’t as hot but still nice and warm. It can be very hot in August.
Average cost: Ceremony venue 200- 3000 euro. Reception venue 1500-10,000 euro. Photography 600-2000 euro. Videography 600-2500 euro. DJ 600-1500 euro. Hair and makeup 300-800 euro. Cake 250-750 euro. These are average costs and will vary according to suppliers, venues and amount of guests. But you’ll be surprised at how cheap you can actually get married over in Italy, think away from sorrento and Amalfi and all the other busy places. Think Cilento and Puglia.
Valid Passports, Official, Long Form, signed Birth Certificate’s
Termination of Previous Marriage (Divorce Decree or Death Certificate) if applicable. Documents need to be presented to the town hall two days in advance. You will need an interpreter and two witnesses present. For Italy I can recommend Julie Ambasciatori and her beautiful hotel Hotel Ambasciatori
There are lots of places beautiful places in Croatia other than the very popular Dubrovnik, Vis and especially Plitvice lakes are out of this world!
Flight time: A mere 2hr 10 min away
Weather: July and August has the best sunny weather and can be gloriously hot, it is still lovely and warm in June and september.
Average cost: Ceremony venue 250-400 euro. Reception Venue 800-3000 euro. Photography 250-1400 euro. Videography 350-2000 euro. DJ 600-800 euro. Hair and makeup 150-450 euro. Cake 130-350 euro.
Legalities: You will need to be there a couple of days before to hand in your paperwork which needs to be translated into Croatian.
Certificate of No Impediment / Certificate of Freedom to Marry bearing the stamp apostille. Full passport copies with minimum validity of twelve months.
Photocopies of the picture page of the passports of the bride and the groom
Photocopies of the picture page of the passports for your two witnesses, listing their name, address and occupation.
Full Birth Certificate (showing mother and father’s names), bearing the stamp apostille.
If you are divorced – Decree Absolute and previous Marriage Certificate.
If you are a widower – Death Certificate of previous spouse and previous Marriage Certificate.
Name Change Deed Poll Certificate – if applicable.
Adoption Certificate – if applicable.
Your wedding certificate will be issued in English so no need for translation.
I can recommend Paula from Weddings in Dubrovnik
Malta is historic, budget friendly, easy when it comes to the legal side of things, lovely warm weather and very photogenic. Whats not to love?
Flight time: 3 hrs 30 min
Weather: June is the most popular month, July and August being the hottest and I mean hot hot, Malta isn’t that far from Africa! May and September can be a little cooler in the evening but by no way cool as in UK cool.
Average costs: Ceremony venue 100-300 euro. Reception venue 500-2000 euro. Photography 180-800 euro. Videography 300-900 euro. DJ 200-500 euro. Hair and makeup 150-400 euro. Cake 100-400 euro.
Legalities: Good news, maltese weddings are legally recognised worldwide, no minimum residency period and all ceremonies are conducted in English. You will need to apply 6 weeks before, and have copies of your passports, birth certificates and any divorce papers if applicable. On arrival in malta you will need to go to the marriage registry and state your intended place of marriage. Easy peasy. You will need two witness’s but these can be provided.
I recommend Chris X for your wedding planning for Malta who is truly excellent.
Colour, seafood and fishing boats. Thats what I think about when I think of Portugal, although it has so much much more.
Flight time: 2hrs 45 mins
Weather: The weather on the Algarve is warm and sunny even in may and October, hotter of course during July and August.
Average costs: Ceremony venue 150-350 euro. Reception venue 500-2500 euro. Photography 180-1800 euro. Videography 300-1900 euro. DJ 200-900 euro. Hair and makeup 200-500 euro. Cake 200-600 euro.
Legalities: Full copies of passports, copies of full birth certificates, a baptismal certificate if you want to be married in a Roman catholic church.
Ah the Caribbean, burnt ember sunsets with pink and purple hues across the sky. White sandy beaches, RUM, don’t forget the rum! The trouble is picking an island to suit, it’s difficult as there are hundreds to choose from. What might surprise you is the fact it can be a lot cheaper than you think. Around 10-11 hrs flight time might be tricky for some guests and the actual holiday might be a bit more expensive for guests but as far as your wedding is concerned it can be cheap and sometimes even free!
A firm favourite amongst most as there is a lot to do and see, the people are super laid back and friendly and not all due to what they’re smoking. Food is great and lot’s of great 5 star resorts. White long sandy beaches and turquoise seas.
Flight time: 10hrs there and 8hrs 40mins back (something to do with the earth’s rotation and jet stream.
Weather: Needless to say it’s hot all year round with a nice gentle breeze. Just be aware of hurricane season which runs from June to November.
Average costs: The caribbean can be a little different. If you want an all inclusive resort most weddings can be free, the ceremony, fizz, flowers, cake, all free. Your wedding reception dinner is also included as the resort is all inclusive anyway, a great way to keep costs down. If you wanted something a little more private and bespoke then it’s best to go with a good wedding planner. Ceremony 50-250 dollars Reception venue 500-2000 dollars Photography 75-1800 dollars. Videography 200-1800 dollars. DJ 100-500 dollars. Hair and makeup 50-200 dollars. Cake 60-100 dollars.
Legalities: At least 24 hrs on the island before. Copies of passports, full birth certificates, occupation of both bride and groom and the cost of the licence is $80
One of my favourite destinations so far. Cuba is a bit rough around the edges but thats what gives it it’s charm. The Cuban people are warm and friendly and it is one if not the safest countries in the world. The music is infectious, the RUM, oh my god the rum is cheap, cigars, salsa, old american cars. I can’t wait to go back.
Flight time: Around ten hours
Weather: Hot hot hot, again watch out for hurricane season june to November. May and April are popular months for Cuba.
Average costs: You can again get your wedding for free, if you want something a bit more special there are add ons which don’t really break the bank, £500 gets you lobster bbq on the beach and fizz , music, photography and video. Just bear in mind the photographer and videographer aren’t up to our standards.
Legalities: You need to be resident of Cuba for 3 days. Both birth certificates and passports with at least 6 months left on them. If you have been married before you must have your divorce documents translated into spanish before you arrive, most travel agents will do this for you. Two witnesses, these can be supplied.
I can recommend Playa Pesquero for your wedding in Cuba, which is based in the Guardalavaca area of Holguin.
St.Lucia is a little more upmarket and prices reflect that, not hugely, it can still be done fairly cheap if needed. It is quite a distance from Cuba and Jamaica and is at the other end of the Caribbean. Spectacular views, luxury venues,white sandy beaches, whale watching and guess what?? They have RUM, I know, who would of thought. My kind of paradise.
Flight time: Around 8 hours
Weather: November being the hottest month at 29 oC and the coldest..I say cold but it’s a lovely warm tropical 26 oC in January. Popular months to get married there are march and April.
Average costs: As with other islands if your staying at an all inclusive resort the same applies, you can have your wedding for free or very cheap with add ons. If not and you’d like exclusivity then Ceremony 200-500 dollars. Reception venue 800-3000 dollars. Photography 150-1500 dollars. Videography 180-1400 dollars. Hair and makeup 75-250 dollars. Cake 80-300 dollars.
Legalities: You will need to be resident for at least 3 days prior, it is possible sooner but will cost 200 dollars.
You and your partner will each need:
Valid original 10-year UK passport which expires more than 6 months after the date of your return to the UK.
Original birth certificate.
If you have been divorced, the original decree absolute.
It’s been a few years since I’ve been but from what I can remember I had some of the most memorable times of my life, it was amazing. Quad biking through the sugar plantations during the rain was incredible. As for weddings they are bound to be memorable too, gorgeous palm fringed beaches against the setting sun can really stick in your mind. Punta Cana is very popular.
Flight time: Around 9 hours
Weather: Best months are March to May. Hot weather all year round but still hurricane friendly from June to November.
Average cost: Much like other all inclusive resorts they can be free going up to a few hundred dollars depending on what you want. I think unless you have a wedding planner organising something unique and bespoke may prove a little difficult.
Legalities: No minimum stay required, but you can’t actually get married until all your documents are processed which can take up to five days, so to be on the safe side have two weeks and get married at the end of your first week.
Antigua certainly looks like paradise and guess what, it is! You won’t be disappointed. White talc like sand, crystal clear waters. English speaking with an English accent! Full of candy coloured villages and rum infused mellowness. Sorry, I mentioned rum again didn’t I? Won’t happen again, promise.
Flight time: 7 hrs 50 mins
Weather: Best times to visit are between May and November, expect hot glorious weather with a nice cool rum.. sorry breeze.
Average cost: Yep, you guessed it, free at some all inclusive resorts. Average costs for more secluded private villas can be, Ceremony 100-300 dollars. Reception venue 500-2500 dollars. Photography 300-900 dollars. Videography 300-900 dollars. Hair and makeup 120-240 dollars. Cake 60-250 dollars. So there you have it, you really can have your cake and eat it.
Legalities: 3-4 days recommended to have all the paperwork ready. Original birth certificates, original passports. If you have been divorced and have reverted to using your maiden name then this counts as a change of name, and proof of that change will be required. You will need to visit the Ministry of Legal Affairs in St. John’s to apply for your marriage licence when you arrive.
Mauritius lies in the heart if the Indian ocean and is well known for its beaches, reefs and lagoons. It has rainforests, waterfalls and incredible wildlife.
Flight time: 12 hours
Average cost: It is possible to get a free wedding at an all inclusive venue. For more luxury private villas: Ceremony £80-250. Reception £800-4000. Photography £500-2500. Videography £750-3000. hair and makeup £50-300. Cake £75-300.
Legalities: recommended stay is 3-4 days prior. Original passports, original birth certificates, if you have been divorced, the original decree absolute would be necessary. Application to marry form. If you were adopted, the original copy of your adoption certificate.
When I think of the Seychelles I just think paradise, it’s right up there next to Bora Bora and Fiji yet a lot closer to home. Luxurious gorgeousness. Think island hopping for your destination wedding abroad.
Flight time: 10 hrs 13 mins
Average cost: Ceremony £500-750. Reception venue £700-4000. Photography £500-2000. Videography £500-2300. hair and makeup £120-300. cake £120-350. Wedding planner £800-1400
Legalities: Resident for at least two days before. Original copies of your birth certificates. The First two pages of your passport. Divorce or death certificates in case either spouse has been divorced or widowed. Certificate of non-impediment (showing that there is no lawful reason known to either one of you barring you from marriage). Documentation indicating any previous name changes needs to be provided to the Civil Status Office in order for a civil ceremony to be conducted. You must take all the documents to the Civil Status Office on Mahe, and must advise the Civil Status Office of your wedding date at least 11 days in advance, although this can be waived if you apply for a special licence which can be processed in 2 days for a fee.
If you are thinking of any of these fabulous places and need a professional experienced photographer to help photography your wedding day please get in touch for a quote.