The top 10 tips for couples considering a destination wedding next year

ARE YOU dreaming of planning a glittering wedding abroad but find yourself unsure where to start? Or perhaps you’ve got a beautiful destination in mind but don’t know what the next steps are. 

From deciding where to tie the knot, to considering cost and insurance, alongside being mindful of Covid restrictions, there’s lots to think about.

But while it’s a challenging feat, the experience doesn’t need to be a wholly stressful one, and with the right tools, tips and help, you can start the process armed with everything you need to know.

We have helped thousands of UK brides and grooms with their wedding needs abroad each year, and have listed our top 10 tips for those considering a destination wedding. 
Here are the top 10 tips for couples considering a destination wedding next year:

1. Consider hiring a wedding planner

When it comes to destination weddings, hiring a wedding planner isn’t just about reducing stress and having someone take care of bookings. Our director and co-founder Luke advises couples to work with an experienced coordinator who speaks the country’s language, has strong industry contacts, and who knows which legalities and documents need to be considered.

“Organising and executing a wedding abroad is a big deal,” he says. “Planners need to be familiar with resorts, venues and services, and have trusted relationships with contacts. For example, if a decor service suddenly becomes unavailable or the company goes bust, your planner needs to have the means available to fix the problem and find an alternative.

“There are some things not all international venues offer that couples may not realise need to be done – the translation of paperwork after the ceremony, for one, and planners can help with this. Our team in the UK and abroad is highly experienced, and we have a checklist process in place that enables us to ensure everything is taken care of before, during and after the wedding.”

2. Check for legal requirements and documents

If you’re not using a wedding planner, checking for legal requirements and documents needed is something couples will need to ensure they look into. This tool shows British nationals getting a marriage or civil partnership abroad, which documents are required from the UK Government.

Luke said: “Couples will need to get in touch with local authorities in their destination of choice to be sure of exactly what it is they need. 

“Each destination may have different requirements, but usually at the least the documents needed are a full birth certificate and a certificate of no impediment from a local registry office. If either party is not a British citizen, an Apostille stamp may be required, which shows the Government has ‘legalised’ the document. The cost for both of these is paid in the UK. 

“In terms of legalities, most countries will require people to reside there for 3-7 days before they can marry. In Greece, it varies from island to island. In Spain, unless people live there or are having a religious wedding, all ceremonies are symbolic only and couples would need to have a registry office ceremony beforehand.

“Another thing to be mindful of is whether the country permits same-sex , legal weddings. Unfortunately, places like Spain, Greece and Italy do not, but some venues will allow same-sex symbolic ceremonies. As this is subject to change couples should seek the latest information. Our team provides couples with all of the legal and documentation requirements for each country.”

3. Choose your destination – but be flexible with it if you can

Getting a clear idea of your dream wedding location is one of the first steps and depending on couples’ needs and requirements, Luke explains that, sometimes, flexibility is needed.

“There are a number of elements that impact choosing a destination for a wedding, which is something we find a lot of couples do before considering other details. These include cost, time of year, party size, the type of wedding, like whether or not you want to incorporate the culture of another country into your big day, the setting, how formal it is, the temperature and climate, and so on. 

“As an example, if couples want to complete their wedding trip within a week and their guests cannot take much time off of work, that stunning beach wedding in the Caribbean might be better suited to a destination within Europe. Decide whether you want to wed in a church, chapel, at a hotel or on the beach, and have a back up choice.”

4. Be mindful of Covid restrictions in the UK and abroad

As restrictions continue to ease all over the world, travelling and planning a wedding abroad are both easier now than when the pandemic began. However, restrictions still need to be considered, especially if the wedding is sooner rather than later. 

“Couples need to be aware that, at present, each country has its own travel and general restrictions in place, so subject to their wants and needs, their wedding might be better going ahead in a different country than they had in mind. This is also why we advise flexibility with destination choice. 

“It’s another reason having a planner is key, as they will be familiar with the restrictions and can help you alter plans if you need to. 

“It’s good to think about ease of travel to and from the destination too, including for vaccinated and unvaccinated guests, as well as any quarantine rules at the time of booking. Most, if not all, of our venues can host weddings outside, which means rules are generally more relaxed and easier to adhere to.”

5. Consider the weather

A better chance of having glorious weather is one of the main reasons couples elope to warmer climates, according to Luke, who explains what people need to consider: “It’s more common for UK couples to wed abroad during the spring, and the summer especially, and so it’s important to take into account what the picture could look like for your chosen month. 

“In many of our European destinations, the chance of overcast weather or showers is higher in April and May than it is in June, July or August. 

“Of course during these months temperatures soar and affect what brides, grooms and guests wear, and whether or not they want to bring children, or even pets. The time of the ceremony is important too. We generally facilitate weddings at 2pm and 6pm – one of the reasons being that the temperature is slightly cooler than it would be at midday, for example.” 

6. Get clear on your guest list from the start

It can be one of the trickier elements of planning a wedding, but if you’re tying the knot abroad, knowing who and how many people are attending from the get go can save you time and money – especially if you have less time to plan and organise.

“We advise people to finalise their guest list at the start of their planning process,” says Luke. “The reason for this is guests will have different requirements that couples and planners need to know if venues and hotels can facilitate. 

“Some things that may need to be considered are any disability needs and requirements, venue capacity, advance booking group discounts, whether or not children or pets are allowed in hotels, food allergies for catering plans, and so on. 

“Knowing all of this from the start means plans are less likely to need to change further down the line, which is less stressful for the brides and grooms.”


7. Consider the cost

The cost of planning and booking a wedding abroad is extremely varied depending on how intimate or large the ceremony, reception and wedding party is. Plus, how many ‘extras’ couples want, such as fireworks or a dove release, and whether or not it’s during the peak summer season will impact the price We’ve created a handy list of the top 10 most affordable wedding destinations in Europe for couples on a budget.

“Of course with a destination wedding, couples need to consider the cost of travel and accommodation too, which varies from location to location,” says Luke. “People need to be mindful of what their guests can afford if they’re paying for themselves. Despite this cost needing to be factored in, lots of destination wedding packages are substantially cheaper than the cost of UK weddings. We facilitate many that are under £10,000 in stunning venues and locations across Europe. 

“The good thing about working with a wedding package facilitator like The Wedding Travel Company is we work with scores of suppliers and can secure discounted rates on accommodation, as well as guest deals for customers in advance, including for large parties.”

8. Decide where you want to honeymoon

Honeymoon at your chosen wedding destination or jet off to somewhere else, the choice is yours, but consider the ease of getting from one location to the next with a wedding dress and gifts in tow.

Luke says: “It’s easier and cheaper to have your honeymoon in the same destination as your wedding, especially if you are marrying abroad you may not be travelling light. Some couples get family members to take items home with them, like a wedding dress, so they can fly elsewhere with a bit more ease. 

“If you want your destination to cover both, consider whether your choice of locations can provide you with the setting you want for your wedding, as well as the activities, nightlife or relaxation you want for your honeymoon. With our knowledge and expertise, we can advise couples on locations that include everything.”

9. Insurance

It’s not just travel insurance you’ll need, but wedding insurance with overseas cover, too. Protection for expensive items is a must.

Luke says: “Most insurance providers offer wedding insurance, with overseas cover as an add-on. It’s really important to have this so that couples are covered in the event of any emergencies, like theft, loss or damage to items, such as wedding rings or supplier failures. Our planners are trained to offer top-level advice when it comes to taking out insurance.”

10. Allow enough time

There’s nothing worse than turning up late or rushing around to prepare for your wedding day – jetlag, flight delays, relaxation time and rehearsals all need to be taken into account. 

“We tell clients they should arrive at their destination of choice no less than 48 hours before their wedding day. The further the distance, the longer you will need to relax and recuperate before the big event. 

“Some couples like to enjoy a spa and pool day before the ceremony, or carry out a rehearsal dinner, so consider what it is you would like to do prior. In the event of any flight delays, it’s incredibly important travellers, including guests, have some leeway. 

“Adequate time is also needed to plan the wedding, and while more last minute dos can of course be arranged, the more time to prepare means the more services will have availability and the easier it will be. A lot of couples are starting to plan now for weddings next summer.