So you’ve finally got that diamond and are ready to start planning your dream wedding! Guest list, Menu choices, The Dress – so many decisions to make! They say that your wedding day should be the happiest of your life, so you want to ensure all goes to plan, in the way you want it to!
I need to pick a Venue!
In 2019, the average cost of a popular venue in the UK came in around £5,406 – and that’s before you’d factored in £3,887 for food, £1,155 for photography and £1,005 for entertainment, which already amounts to more than £11,453! Let’s not forget the cost of said dress, the honeymoon, the rings, the suits, bridesmaid dresses, hair, makeup and drinks if you’re feeling particularly generous…you can see why the average UK wedding cost more than £31,974 last year!
Do you like the sound of jetting off to a gorgeous location to declare your love to your partner? Want to keep the guest list simple and avoid the dreaded conversation with your mum about why your “Aunty” Mary won’t be sat at the top table? See how you feel after reading our 5 Top Tips for planning destination weddings!
Save Those Pennies
We compared the cost of a UK wedding to popular Destination Weddings Location around the world and what we found was pleasantly surprising (and kinder to your bank balance)!
Most locations offer package deals which include many wedding day essentials, even your own wedding planner! These packages may include the officiator, a marriage licence, the venue with decorations, your wedding cake and bridal bouquet, a reception for you and 10 guests, photos and even his and her keepsakes – and wouldn’t you know it, we found a location in The Bahamas that offers all of this and much more for just $1,999! Yep, that’s just over £1,000!
The bulk of your costs arise from your flights and accommodation; again after looking into this, we found that going in February for a 7 night room stay for the Bride and Groom came to a grand total of £4,000..! Some resorts might even offer to pay for your wedding if you decide to stay for more than 6 nights so that’s basically a free wedding! These prices can vary on locations and time of year obviously and depend on how much the Bride and Groom are willing to put into covering costs for guests. Think about how much more that cost would come down for a similar package in Milan, with flights around £100!
Transport your dress safely
There are a couple of options available to you for this one and it will really depend on personal preference, budget and the size of the gown!
Via Courier to your Venue
Pro: One thing less to carry on the plane!
Con: You can’t be certain that the box will be treated as precious cargo! Plus the constant worry whether it will reach the destination on time.
Hand Luggage on the plane
Pro: You can have it professionally packaged into a specialist box and take as your carry on luggage.
Con: If you don’t have it boxed, you can’t guarantee it can be hung up on the plane, or worse, put into the hold with no extra protection.
Book an additional seat
Pro: The dress is with you at all times!
Con: Risk creasing or damaging the dress through transportation, and could be costly.
Purchase it in your Destination Country
Pro: Not having to worry about transportation costs or mishaps, the dress will be waiting for you.
Con: Only really getting one fitting of the dress and hoping it all comes together on the day (unless you can frequently visit!)
Let the Travel Agent Help you!
Worrying about your lack of control when organising a destination wedding is completely understandable. That’s why you’ll find that many UK Travel Agents, such as First Choice, offer Wedding Planning Packages across a wide range of destinations. They can help with everything from choosing your location to adding those finishing touches to make the day extra special. They work in the same way as the Wedding Destination companies themselves and can help source those Free Packages in locations they are available. Hand the reigns over to your dedicated wedding specialist and get to work on that guest list!
Know the legalities
Remember that you will need to apply for a marriage licence in most foreign countries, as well as ensuring that your marriage is considered legal. Some countries have minimum residency laws, meaning you need to have stayed in the country for a specific amount of time prior to the wedding (usually 48-72 hours). You may also need to marry in the UK and have a Renewal abroad – again, make sure you have checked these details thoroughly! If in doubt, visit www.gov.uk for full information on UK nationals marrying overseas.
Pick the right time
May through to September is wedding season across the board, and also include the school holidays, so expect for prices to be a little higher than the rest of the year. You should also consider whether there are seasonal events at your destination that may effect the amount of visitors to that location. For instance, Spring Break occurs between March and June, so if you would rather not have a bunch of rowdy teens potentially photobomb your weddings shots, it may be best to book at a different time of year! Some resorts may have a “no Spring Breakers” policy, but what’s to say the hotel just down the beach doesn’t?!
What about the all important Honeymoon?
That’s the great thing about destination weddings – you can choose to extend your stay and incorporate your honeymoon in your own little paradise in Cancún, within the mountains in Greece or atop your castle in Geneva. Just be sure to send the rest of the wedding party home – no one wants to spend their honeymoon with their new in laws no matter how much you get on with them…. do they?!
But what are some of the cons of a destination weddings?
A destination wedding might be sounding like a dream right now but as with anything, you have to look at the downside too.
- Your best friends might not be able to come! This can really be a deciding factor for some as they don’t want their favourite people to not attend the wedding. Some of the older relatives also might struggle to travel too or those who are in poor health. So make sure you have asked all the important people that they can definitely come before going ahead.
- You won’t have too much control over how things will turn out as you won’t actually be there in person, you will have to leave a lot of decisions to a wedding coordinator. Now, they will definitely ask you but even so, you’re still relying on someone else for the decoration, the food, the flowers, and so on. For some, they are not comfortable giving someone else that much control, especially for a big day like a wedding.
- Some of the all-inclusive wedding packages might only have limited styling options and there’s less room for customisation. This can be frustrating if you had wanted a specific style. You could always do it yourself by finding a venue you like and the decor but this will end up costing you much more money, not to mention, it will require a lot more planning too.
Destination weddings etiquettes
- You will need to take into consideration if your guests will be able to afford to come. For some, it might be a struggle to come to a really expensive location. Especially as they might have to take time off work, pay for flights and hotels and all these things will add up so ensure you pick a location your guests will actually be able to come to. If you can, try and pay a little bit towards their travel expenses.
- Let your guests know the locations as far in advance as you possibly can so they have more than enough time to plan their holiday. We recommend letting them know at least six months in advance if possible.
- Make sure you are aware of the local culture and social etiquettes of different places! For example, tipping the vendors in some counties is considered to be offensive. To avoid this from happening, make sure you are aware of the culture of the country and let your guests know too!
- Provide your guests with enough information about the location and how to get there. If you can, try and arrange transportation for them to get to the location.
- Once the guests have arrived, you should pay for the pre-wedding and post-wedding dinner and drinks if possible.
We’d love to hear your thoughts on destination weddings and if you have ever attended one or had one yourself!