Getting Married Abroad: The Costs Involved
At first glance if you look at the cost of getting married abroad can be a real saving compared on a UK wedding ceremony. Average costs of UK weddings vary between £30,000 and £40,000 whilst most estimates put a destination wedding cost at under £10,000. But is that the whole story?
Some of the cheapest places to get married traditionally include Malta, Greece, Santorini, Cyprus, and even as far afield as Sri Lanka, Mauritius and Thailand. Other popular hotspots for destination weddings include Jamaica, Mexico, and the south of France. In many of these situations the wedding venues are far easier to book and cheaper to hire than comparable UK options.
Whilst exchange rates with the Euro have been affected heavily by Brexit meaning the cheaper European wedding has become less cheap in recent years – but destination weddings were so competitively cheap to begin with, despite the currency fluctuation it’s still possible to get an absolute bargain.
What are the legalities of getting married abroad?
Will your wedding be legally recognised in the UK? Are there additional steps and hoops to jump through? For example many destinations expect blood tests and background checks before a wedding license can be issued. Spain is famous as a destination hotspot for Brits, but getting married in Spain comes with a whole host of tricky steps that often make it unfeasible (click the link below to see what we mean).
So what’s the cheapest and best way to get married abroad?
There are many factors to what the final cost you end up spending may be – many of them similar to factors that determine UK prices, such as the time of year, weekend or weekday, how large a venue you are looking for. Is your chosen location reachable by cheap budget airlines (more on travel below) or are flight costs going to be a huge issue? Off-peak winter weddings may be super cheap but is that because it is hurricane season in your chosen destination wedding?
Similar to the UK you will find wedding venues abroad that can cater for an all-inclusive price for your wedding – which can especially handy as it saves you dealing with language issues of local suppliers and/or the extra expense of flying out to meet local wedding suppliers. But do be careful that you are then placing your faith in wedding suppliers you may not have met and who may not speak your language or fit your wedding day…
When to Save Money Abroad and When To Stay Safe Using UK Wedding Suppliers For Your Destination Wedding
It can be part of the big savings of a destination wedding that you hire cheaper local wedding suppliers for your wedding date. After all shipping fresh wedding flowers, fireworks, or a dance floor from the UK to Malta will often make no sense at all. On the other hand, there are other wedding suppliers where you it may be a false-economy to go cheap and local. The most important elements where we consider you stay local and opt for a UK Supplier are Wedding Photography, Hair & Make-Up, and your Wedding Dress.
- Wedding Photography – there’s a whole host of reasons why the local photographer who you may not have met in person and who may not speak your language will probably not be a good fit for your dream destination wedding. Do they share your vision of your wedding day? Do they know how UK weddings work? Do they know how to take the kinds of photos UK brides expect? If they are ‘included in the package’ are they just the guy from reception with the hotel camera (we’ve seen this twice for ourselves)? If there is a problem after the wedding, how easy will it be to contact them? Can they ship wedding albums internationally?
- Hair & Make-Up – It may be tempting to book the local recommended supplier but are they used to working with UK brides and are they familiar with the hair and make-up styles expected? We’ve seen on more than a few occasions a local make-up artist who ‘dolled up’ a UK bride (to her horror) because they only knew how to do make-up Greek style…
- Your Wedding Dress – Similar to both points above of style and expectations, it can be worth staying safe with such a crucially important part of your wedding day and sourcing your dress in the UK before you go. Most wedding dresses travel surprisingly well, and sorting your dress well ahead of the wedding will not only be one further thing off your mind – but gives you opportunity to fix any problems that may arise at your leisure…
All the above options may be adding extra expense to your destination wedding, but we’ve seen so many weddings tanked by issues relating to these services that we feel it’s crucial you use some of the vast amounts of money you have saved to ensure you get the fabulous wedding abroad that you want.
Top tip to save you money on your destination wedding
By far the most useful and practical tip we’ve picked up along the way is to only announce the date once you have booked flights for close family and your suppliers – anyone where this is a cost you are paying. The reason for this is that the moment you announce your date you may find all 40-80 of your wedding guests book their flights and in many cases such a surge can lead to a doubling or tripling in price. If you haven’t booked your own flights yet, you may find this part of your budget sky rockets.
Other Things To Consider:
Is your chosen destination only cheap at that time because of the weather? Often the cheapest prices fall in times of the year notorious for bad weather, but unlike the UK where bad weather means for a rainy wedding – in many destinations bad weather can mean for a flooded out/monsooned and cancelled wedding…
Is your planned date coinciding with major local holidays? You can find prices creep up and services are limited if your wedding weekend falls around a big local holy holiday.
Timing of your ceremony on the day – Most countries have vastly different wedding day templates they follow, with ceremony times possible from morning through to the night. These changes in the ceremony time may have a significant impact on how your wedding day runs. Read up and make sure this difference is to your benefit and not to your detriment.
Destination Wedding Photographer Mykey Day
Your Wedding Day will never be as important to anyone else as it is to you, but trust us when we say – your wedding will be crucially important to us as well! Please browse our website for examples of our work, and we look forward to making your wedding photographs special too.