Couple walking through an Orangery during golden hour

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Our Guide to the Pros and Cons of planning a DESTINATION WEDDING

As a destination wedding photographer, we think getting married abroad is a brilliant idea. They, of course, come with a few pros and cons. But we believe the benefits really outweigh the disadvantages of getting married overseas.

The advantages of getting married abroad

A wedding day, as wonderful as it is, can sometimes feel like just that – a day. One that can whizz by in the blink of an eye. One minute you’re having your lippy applied in the bridal suite and the next you’re having your first dance. It’s not always easy to slow down on the day and enjoy every moment that’s happening. Don’t get me wrong, we’ve never had a wedding that a bride and groom haven’t come back to us saying “it was the best day of our lives”. But it very often follows with “the day just flew by, and we hardly got to speak with most of our guests”. So this leads me to my first advantage of getting married abroad:

Groom Spinning Bride in the Sunset in Spain

Your wedding will be more than just ONE DAY

Due to the nature of your guests travelling to your destination wedding, it’s likely that they will arrive at least one day before your wedding and often stay the day after too. So this means that you can enjoy a pre-wedding drinks reception along with a post-wedding brunch. This can often be arranged at the location of your wedding, or even be as simple as meeting at a local bar for a few drinks the day before and then meeting for breakfast and coffee somewhere by the beach the following morning!

Beautiful Weather

We all know how random the UK weather is, which is probably the biggest catalyst to couples deciding on having their wedding abroad. With an average of 152 rainy days in the UK compared to 44 rainy days in Malaga it’s often an easy decision to make if you’ve always been dreaming of your wedding day being drenched in sun, rather than rain! Don’t get us wrong, rainy wedding days can be just as beautiful and fun as a sunny wedding day. However, it’s just good to keep in mind your expectations with the weather. Over the years we’ve found August becoming one of the wettest summer months of the year in the UK, which can sometimes leave couples feeling a little disappointed.

Father walking bride down the aisle pointing at the groom and smiling

Golden Hour

So for those that don’t know, golden hour is that beautiful part of the day when the sun sits just above the horizon. It gives us photographers a brilliant opportunity to get some amazing sunset bride and groom portraits. Of course, we can get golden hour photos in the UK too, because after all, the sun does come out from time to time. But there’s often a lot less cloud cover which results in a much better chance of catching the golden hour and getting these dreamy photos.

Couple walking through an Orangery during golden hour

Amazing Locations

There are some amazing locations to get married around the UK, there’s no doubt about that. However, together with some of the advantages we’ve spoken about above, it gives some of the locations around Europe a big advantage. Some of our favourite places to explore if you’re thinking about getting married abroad are listed below.

Bride walking down the stairs on her wedding day

Have your wedding ceremony wherever you like

Often couples will opt to have their legal ceremony in the UK before heading out to their destination wedding due to the complications with validating their marriage in the UK and also arranging the legal side of things abroad. You can find some more information about this here https://www.haringey.gov.uk/

If you opt to get married in the UK ahead of traveling overseas, it can make planning your destination wedding much easier. For example, it means the ceremony can take place anywhere and be conducted by anyone. We’d always recommend using a certified celebrant however, as they have the experience required to conduct the ceremony really well and maintain the wedding vibe. Check out our article on why you should choose a qualified celebrant for your wedding day for more information.

Couple Getting married in The Royal Botanical Gardens in Edinburgh

The disadvantages of getting married abroad

Like anything, there’s always going to be some disadvantages to getting married overseas. It is why we think it’s definitely worth thinking it through before committing to a location abroad. It’s really important you do as much research as you can using online resources like www.gov.uk/marriage-abroad to find out the legal requirements. Let’s not forget, it is still a legal ceremony that’s taking place, so it’s worth your while finding out all the information you can.

Can be difficult to organise

Organising a Wedding in the UK can be quite a job as you can imagine. So having to arrange a wedding in another continent, in an area you’re not too familiar with, along with a potential language barrier can just add to the stress. Using the internet to find suppliers and going with recommendations can always help, but it’s always going to be that much more difficult. If your budget allows it can be a good idea to contact an experienced wedding planner like matthewoliverweddings.com to help you pull things together.

You’ll also have to keep in mind that you might have to travel abroad quite a few times to view potential wedding venues before you go ahead and book. It’s never a great idea to go from the information provided on websites and online brochures alone.

You’ll also have to take into consideration planning accommodation options for your guests too and the time required to collate as much information as possible for your guests to be able to come over to your overseas wedding without it becoming too much of an ordeal for them.

Some family members might not be able to attend

The final disadvantage (or some might say advantage!) of getting married abroad is that not all family members will be able to attend. Destination weddings can be expensive for guests to travel to, so in some cases won’t be able to come away to enjoy your wedding with you. When you decide on getting married abroad you really have to be prepared that some of your favourite people might not be there. This could be for financial reasons, work commitments or due to restrictions with family i.e pregnancy or young children. It’s really important to realise from the start that you can’t get offended with people that aren’t able to attend. It’s your choice to get married abroad and you have to stay confident that the advantages outweigh the disadvantages. You’ll be really surprised at some of the guests that will do whatever they can to attend. Then you’ll have some guests that can’t and you have to be ok with this.

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