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Trying to plan your perfect wedding can feel rather overwhelming. It might start with location, location, location - but that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
Here are some of the things you need to think about before you book your dream day.
Should we get married at home or abroad?
Do you see yourself at a glorious wedding in one of the home counties, or are you after a foreign adventure?
This should be one of the first questions you consider.
The day is all about you, of course, but you need to factor in how your guest (or guests) who lives furthest away will be able to join your celebration.
This will be really important to you when it happens, so make sure you choose a destination your guests can get to. (At least the ones you really want to be there.)
How do we plan the perfect guest list?
This one’s completely up to you – only you will know how your loved ones will respond when they find out whether or not they’ve made the cut.
Deciding on your ‘must haves’ as soon as possible is always going to be a good thing though.
This will give you more time to have some difficult conversations with those who are going to miss out. It may sound intuitive, but make sure that you don’t over invite – just in case no one drops out and there isn’t enough space!
Also, if you are choosing an exotic location, talk to your 'must-have' guests firsts to ensure they will be able to make it. (And if it's a thumbs up from everyone essential, you'll probably find this is also a great way to filter out anyone on the 'awkward' list (like your parents' friends/colleagues), who likely won't care enough to take a long-haul flight and spend $100's on attending your 'alternative' wedding.
We’re going to get hitched abroad. What’s next?
Great, you've decided which country you're going to get married in.
That’s one (very important) decision off the list!
But it can be all too easy to get swept away in early romantic thoughts – and there’ll be plenty of time for those on your wedding night – but you shouldn’t forget some of the far less glamorous admin involved. There may well be specific customs and laws about getting married that will be very different than if you were to marry in your home country. For example, each country will set its own rules about the exact legal document required for a wedding to be binding.
Don't worry though, this is never usually as complicated as it seems.
And the hotel or venue will usually give you full instructions and take care of everything when you arrive.
In some countries, you may need to make an official record of the marriage by depositing an original certificate via the UK’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office. You can call their General Register Office on 0300 123 1837 for areas where you can take this option, and it’s likely that there will be a fee charged.
What type of destination wedding do we want?
You’ll no doubt have thought about this a great deal already (probably for many, many years!) but if you haven't got a specific venue or setting in mind - you need to start making decisions about what you want.
Do you both see yourselves and your nearest in an intimate bay on a seafront?
Or do you visualise a romantic rural setting?
If you're starting from scratch that's fine. To help build your own picture of paradise, read about some of the most exotic and romantic destinations where you could get married in Asia.
Alternatively, take a look at something a little closer to home with our UK wedding venues.
Most countries and destinations will offer a variety of settings so think about the style and ambience you want.
Should we hire a wedding planner?
If the admin side of a wedding is filling you with dread (or worse, starting to be a sore point for your relationship) then you might want to think about getting a specialist wedding adviser.
These professionals can help with anything, from specific product information to gift ideas.
You might prefer the certainty of being able to see and try samples out in person. This will obviously be the more pricey option, so once again you want to take from other areas of your budget - such as your dazzling hotel and wedding combo.
This is really a matter of personal choice.
But if you're getting married abroad and you like to have control (and instant answers) to everything along the way, it's probably worth the money for the sake of your mental health.
If you're happy to trust in the 'process' then you'll get the same amazing wedding... but without the admin.
What about wedding insurance?
It’s definitely worth looking into as there are many specialist insurance providers who’ll be able to offer wedding packages.
Wedding insurance can help to protect you in case things go wrong, say if you there’s a long period between proposal and wedding day. Policies can cover loss or damage to: the main wedding outfits; gifts; rings; the cake and flowers; as well as personal liability and legal expenses among other things.
If you do take the plunge for insurance, read your policy wording with a great deal of care. As there may be some hidden exemptions – especially if you’re getting hitched abroad. Of course, if you’ve decided on a much quicker wedding then you could forgo the insurance and look instead at some of the best ‘runaway’ places across the world to elope.
When and where should we book our honeymoon?
You should book your honeymoon in plenty of time.
Ideally, this will be not long after you’ve got the wedding ceremony confirmed. Once again, exactly when you want to escape to will depend on work schedules and other factors. A post-wedding break could be anything from a weekend away to a more daring bit of travelling. Find out why, for us, South Africa is a honeymoon destination that pretty much has it all.
Or you could start by looking at some of our best-selling, most popular wedding destinations?