Pop the Question
We asked dedicated wedding planners to give us a selection of their most frequently asked questions…
Where can I get married abroad?
Where do you fancy? You name it, and you can probably get married there. Weddings can be arranged in more than 30 countries around the world, and in many different settings.
How much will it cost?
The average price of their destination weddings, including honeymoon, is less than £3,000 – a small cost compared to the average UK wedding! Prices vary considerably for a wedding or vow renewal package; this is paid as a supplement to your holiday package price. Some resorts offer free wedding packages, so bargain hunters should check their options with tour operators.
Will our marriage be legally recognised in the UK?
Yes. Your wedding will be registered in the country it takes place in and is completely legal under British law, so you don’t need to register your marriage again when you get home.
What are the legal requirements?
They vary from country to country, but in general you must be over 20 years of age and need your British passports, original copies of your Birth Certificates and documentation regarding any previous marriages or if you are widowed or divorced. Some countries have additional costs for legalisation and translation of documents. If you book through a tour operator, such as Kuoni, Thomas Cook, Turquoise and Sandals, your dedicated wedding team will give you full details at the time of your booking.
Are there residency restrictions in some countries?
Yes, so you need to check residency restrictions with your tour operator or wedding planner. The most difficult countries are Spain (40 days residency), France (40 days) and Australia (one month and one day); however, there are no restrictions in Antigua, Jamaica or Las Vegas.
What name should I travel under?
If you are getting hitched abroad you can’t change the name on your passport until you return home. You must travel in your maiden name and your return airline tickets need to be in the same name as your passport or they will not be valid. Of course you can change your passport to your married name once you are back home in the UK and are in possession of your Marriage Certificate.
When will I receive my Marriage Certificate?
It will either be handed to you at the resort or sent via registered post to your home address. Don’t panic if it takes a while to arrive – this is normal, especially if you marry in Jamaica where it can take up to 12 months! If you get married in certain countries, like Mexico and the Dominican Republic it will need to be translated, which will cause extra delay. For more information visit direct.gov.uk and search under passports.
Can we invite guests to our wedding?
Of course! Some hotels even offer reduced rate weddings for more than four guests. Remember to order extras for your guests, such as more wine, a larger wedding cake or extra buttonholes. If the wedding couple is staying at an All Inclusive resort, they will need to buy one-day passes to guests staying at other hotels, and in adults-only resorts you will need to ask special permission for children to attend the wedding on a day pass. All this can be organised at the resort by your wedding planner.
When do I meet the resort’s wedding planner?
One to three days after your arrival at your resort. Your wedding planner will sort out the fine details of your wedding, from champagne to the icing on your cake, and check your documentation so that you can relax as the arrangements are done on your behalf. Once the local registrar is happy your paperwork is in order, your wedding planner will give you a date and time for the ceremony and send out invitations to your guests.
Where will our ceremony take place?
The hotel wedding planner will show you the locations to choose from – usually in the gardens of your hotel, or in a decorated wedding pavilion. If you are marrying in Europe you may choose to exchange vows in the local church or town hall, or in Las Vegas, a wedding chapel. The hotel wedding co-ordinator will show you the locations to choose from. It’s unusual to have a ceremony on the beach, but many couples take beach photographs after the ceremony.
Who will be at the ceremony?
Most overseas weddings are civil ceremonies, in the style of registry office services, unless a religious ceremony has been pre-arranged. The ceremony will be conducted by a Judge, Celebrant, Minister or Registrar. You will need two to four witnesses, who could be anyone from your wedding guests to people you have met on the beach the previous day. Your wedding planner will be there too, to ensure your day goes without a hitch.
The important bits…
How should I transport my wedding dress?
We recommend wedding outfits should be packed in a hard suitcase or strong box, as they will be placed in the hold of the plane. It might be an idea to contact your airline for more information. Generally, there is no extra baggage allowance for wedding outfits. If can also take out extra insurance to cover the transportation of your dress.
Can I choose my flowers?
Absolutely! At the resort, your wedding planner will show you photos of bouquets for you to make a selection. Your wedding bouquet and his buttonhole are included in your wedding package, but extra flowers and buttonholes can be ordered for guests and bridesmaids.
What about the music?
You can request whatever music you prefer and it will be arranged for you – from a DJ playing your favourite songs to calypso bands. If you prefer you can pack a CD with your chosen musical selection, which can be played at your wedding.
Will I have a cake?
A wedding cake is included in wedding packages; this is usually a sponge cake with white icing. You can add your own decorations, and even arrange for an upgraded cake. Sandals Resorts offer a choice of themed weddings from the Martha Stewart collection, which feature colour-co-ordinated cakes to match the chosen wedding palette.
Who will take care of my hair and makeup?
Every bride wants to look her best and fortunately many hotels have hair and beauty services with makeup artists on hand. Even if they don’t, your wedding planner can arrange for experts to come to the hotel.
Can I arrange for a good wedding photographer?
At your pre-wedding meeting, your wedding planner will show you examples of local photographers work so that you can choose the style that suits you best. Your video can also be arranged when you get to the resort. Photographer and DVD are usually at extra cost; they are rarely included in your wedding package.
What about the wedding dinner?
If you have a group of guests at your wedding, a gala dinner is usually arranged as part of your wedding package. If it’s just the two of you, your wedding planner will arrange a candle-lit dinner for two in a romantic location.
We want friends and family at the ceremony but can we be alone for our honeymoon?
Absolutely. Simply ask your guests to stay at a different hotel close by, or transfer to another hotel after the ceremony.
How can I find out more?
Order your copy of Brides Abroad magazine by contacting firstname.lastname@example.org