More and more couples are choosing to get married in another country. And while saying “I Do” in a foreign locale can be super romantic, it can pose a bigger logistical problem than getting married at home. Here are six things to remember when bringing your vows abroad.
1. Hire a planner. While it might be tempting to forgo this added expense, don’t skip on the local wedding planner. He or she will be able to guide you through the process of finding a venue, vendors, paperwork and residency requirements (more on that later) and take care of all the details–big and small–since you can’t be there in person. This extra expense is worth the lack of stress you’ll face when planning a wedding remotely.
2. Set up a budget. It shouldn’t come as a surprise that getting married in another country is going to be more expensive. You need to pay for airfare, hotel rooms, excursions and more. In addition, the wedding itself can be more expensive depending on what part of the world you’re having it–saying I Do in Paris is bound to cost you more than if you got hitched in your hometown. So make sure you sit down and create a realistic budget for the event.
3. Make sure you have your paperwork in order. Different countries require different forms to be filled out before you can get marries there. For example, in some Mexican cities you need health certificates from a Mexican doctor. So make sure you have them filled out way in advance of the wedding date.
4. Check residency requirements. Many countries require that you stay in the country for a certain amount of time before you get married. For example, England requires that either the bride or the groom be in the country for at least 15 days before the ceremony, while France wants you to be a resident for 40 days. And in some countries couples need to “post the banns” (place an announcement of the wedding in a local paper) to give people a chance to voice any objections. In several countries, including Italy, this requirement is waived for U.S. citizens; but in others, such as Greece, the practice is still required.
5. Take out wedding and travel insurance. Just like any trip, bad weather, sickness and family emergencies can wreak havoc on your plans. To make sure you don’t lose any money, be sure to take out both wedding and travel insurance.
6. Look into the weather. Of course, weather patterns can differ depending on what part of the world you’re getting married in. For example, when it’s summer here in the US, it’s winter in Australia. Tropical destinations are more prone to hurricane season. And Scandinavian countries aren’t known for their stellar weather. So be sure you do a lot of research beforehand on your desired locale’s climate at the time of your wedding.
For more wedding tips, check out wedding centerpieces that don’t involve fresh flowers and how to word and address wedding invitations.