Planning a destination wedding seems to be so complicated for many brides. I bet you wish you had a fairy godmother to wave your magic wand and organise the whole thing for you? Well, we've spoken to a real bride who planned her entire wedding abroad by herself. Rhiannon has so much useful advice for you all, so here it is!
I'm so excited to share these tips with you!! Let me give you a little background first.
I'm Rhiannon aka Mrs Slee-Jones from the blog mrssleejones.com. I'm 28 and I married my soulmate (I know soppy sod!) on September 1st 2018 on the beautiful island of Zakynthos. I live with him and our 2 children aka 'The Sprogs' in South Wales. Enough about me, let's get into those tips!
Put Extra Cash Aside
This will be my biggest and most important tip for you as it's something I wish someone had told me well in advance!! Every country is different, but you never know what's going to pop up (I'll explain more on this next) when you least expect it or how much it's going to cost. Little things I didn't even think of came from everywhere and they weren't cheap!! Things like sending off birth certificates, passports, marriage forms, some of these cost us 60 British Pounds a time! So when you have to send 4 or 5 off or apply for different things, it can all add up quite quick. If it's only putting spare change in a pot or the odd £5 note here and there away it will all add up and help. You don't want to be in my position 4 months before you fly out being told there's extra paperwork that needs to be done that costs extra!!
When you choose your destination, the first thing you want to do is check what paperwork exactly you need for your wedding to be legal there. Like I said above, everywhere is completely different. In our case for Greece for example, we had to have our original birth certificates, both our passports, my husbands divorce papers from his first marriage which we ended up paying out more on as it had to have a particular stamp on it for it to be accepted which was missing as these days they don't do the stamps in the UK. So some things you need to take into consideration are..
Birth Certificate - It has to be an original or a full-length copy where it has all your parent's information also.
Divorce papers - Check it has all stamps or if the country you plan on marrying in has any particular laws on what is acceptable as proof.
Name - Have you changed your name legally in the past?? If you have, you will need a copy of that also and proof of any name you were before changing.
Passport - Make sure your passport has at least 8-9 months on it, in the UK you can usually travel only have 3 - 4 months left, but when it comes to a wedding, often they want a minimum of around 8 months.
Application of marriage - Like I said above everywhere is different, but if you want a 'legit' wedding that the UK will recognise as legit when you return then you'll still need to apply for your marriage application at your local authority.
Check with your planner though as with Greece we had to have ours authorised exactly 90 days before our wedding day.
Make Sure It's Legit
Now when I say 'Legit' I don't mean as in the venue, company and so on, I mean the actual wedding. Alot of countries won’t do an actual legal wedding but only a 'blessing'. This is mostly seen in Spanish countries but it’s always worth checking!! If you're like me and don't want 2 wedding dates then make sure to look into this!! I always had my heart set on being married in Gran Canaria, but being a spanish country they would only be a blessing ceremony which meant I'd have to do a quick registry office wedding here (date 1) and then my actual wedding abroad (date 2). I only wanted one day and date for the whole thing so switched to Greece where we were able to be fully legally married there and have it recognised back home in the UK.
Take Things With You
To keep extra cost's down take as much with you as possible. Obviously price things up first but most of the time it's cheaper to take your own. I took all my own flowers, pinholes, seating plan/table stationary and extra favours. This saved me an absolute fortune!! Also there are sometimes hidden cost's such as tax fees ect that in the UK we wouldn't normally have with these types of things.
And that's it, those are my top tips to take that extra it of stress off you so there's no unexpected surprises!! Weddings are always stressful to plan, but things like this can really put a damper on trying to enjoy the planning. I hope you all have an amazing day and it's as magical as you dream of!!
Much Love - Mrs Slee-Jones xx