Planning The Logistics Of A Wedding Abroad
Each year, 1 in 4 weddings are destination weddings. Whether it is to fulfill a fantasy dream of the day for soon-to-be wedded couples or sharing a once-in-a-lifetime experience with friends and family, a wedding abroad can be a magical experience- or a logistical nightmare.
From working out the logistics of getting all your guests to the wedding location to factoring in heightened travel costs into your wedding budget and hiring the ideal wedding photographer, there are many moving parts to planning a wedding abroad. The good news is, getting ahead and preparing as much as you can help to make the process go a lot smoother and stress-free.
Are You Clear On The Real Cost Of A Destination Wedding?
One of the most cited pieces of advice when getting married abroad is to set a wedding budget early on. The cost of a destination wedding is lower than the average wedding cost, but it can quickly add up when you add in extras during the wedding planning. You’ll still need to consider some of the wedding essentials, including catering, who will take your Cape Cod wedding pictures (or wherever it is you are getting married), and any entertainment you will have at the reception.
The average budget for a destination wedding is pegged at $28,000 but will depend heavily on the location and details of your nuptial such as the size of your wedding party or the number of days for the event. Research the average wedding cost for areas you are considering very early on and factor this in when setting your wedding budget.
While we are still on the topic of wedding budgeting, it also helps to factor in the timing of your wedding in your preferred destination. If you are aiming for a summer wedding in the Caribbean, you may be able to get a great deal.
Alternatively, high peak wedding seasons in the Caribbean can drive up the prices you pay in the end. So if you have your heart set on a Caribbean wedding, research the best seasons for a Caribbean destination wedding including the differences in costs when drafting your wedding budget.
Are There Local Customs And Paperwork That You Need To Follow?
Something else to think about when planning a wedding abroad is the local paperwork needed to get married in the location you choose. Some countries like Greece require couples to apply for a marriage license beforehand while non-residents of France with no family ties require a special dispensation to get married. Meanwhile, in Turkey, religious ceremonies are not recognized and therefore a civil ceremony in the local Embassy or Consulate would be needed.
Before booking your ceremony, check the local legal wedding requirements for the country including documents and residency requirements. If you are unable to be married legally in the country you choose, an alternative would be to have a civil ceremony in your home country before your wedding.
Will The Costs To Your Guests Be All-Inclusive?
You may also want to think about the costs to yourselves and your guests. Some resorts or wedding sites offer an all-inclusive wedding package that includes all costs of a destination wedding including accommodation for your guests. Other couples opt to pay for the wedding festivities and ask that guests who are attending pay for their accommodation and flights.
When deciding who pays for a destination wedding, the generally accepted custom is that guests are responsible for their airfare but the couple is not obligated to pay for their hotel and flight costs. If it is a question of affordability for your guests and yourself, you can always negotiate group rates with the wedding hotel. If you are flying in wedding vendors, it will be your responsibility to pay for their airfare and hotel rooms.
The accessibility of your chosen wedding destination is also something to consider when planning a wedding abroad. Filter in your intended guest list and their needs when organizing a universally reachable nuptial ceremony. Ask questions about flight times and connecting flights.
Finally, consider the wedding destination and resort’s suitability for all of your guests, including those with younger children or disabilities. Guests spend an average of $673 to attend a destination wedding. The last thing you want is for certain guests to feel left out of the wedding festivities.
Logistics of a Wedding Abroad: Are You Okay Giving Up A Sense Of Control During Wedding Planning?
While getting married has some advantages, like lower costs, it also requires couples to become comfortable with relinquishing control over their wedding arrangements. Often, holiday resorts are happy to offer an all-inclusive wedding package to couples that cover the ceremony, reception, and even accommodation.
In this case, they often have their own pre-chosen wedding vendors for such occasions. So while you still decide on the wedding menu and decor theme, most of the wedding ceremony coordination is done by the resort’s event planner. There is also a reduced timeline to make changes as you cannot meet with vendors before the ceremony.
Planning the perfect wedding abroad does require some planning ahead of time, just like any other wedding ceremony. The only difference is that it comes with added tasks to your list of priorities like ensuring you can get legally married in your chosen destination or that your wedding destination is easily accessible to all your guests. While it does come with a fair deal of logistics planning, getting a head start early will give you enough time to figure out the details and help you create the wedding of your dreams.