Top 10 things couples forget when marrying abroad
1. Leave enough time for the paperwork
Couples should make sure they allow plenty of time to sort out the marriage paperwork, which can take between three to six months to complete, depending on the country.
2. Check and compare currencies
When choosing a destination, couples should check and compare currency exchange rates to save substantially on costs. For example, the pound is currently extremely strong against the euro. This in turn makes European weddings much cheaper than last year – approximately 23% cheaper in May 2015 compared to December 2014.
3. Look out for free ceremonies
Caribbean or North American resorts often offer a “free” wedding ceremony, if couples stay for a certain number of nights or bring a certain number of guests.
4. Send save the dates
Couples should post “save the date” cards well in advance of the date, if they wish guests to attend an overseas wedding. The more notice given, the more likely friends and family will be able to fly over.
5. Book in maiden name
Brides should remember to book airline tickets in their maiden name (unless they change their name legally before they fly).
6. Talk to the airline
Most airlines will allow brides to carry their wedding dress as hand luggage; however brides would need to contact the airline directly prior to booking. Also, while speaking to the airline, if family is travelling together, the whole party should ask for a group travel rate to save even more money.
7. Don’t forget the paperwork
Most countries require the following legal documents:
• Full birth certificates showing both parents’ names.
• If divorced, original final divorce papers.
• If widowed, death certificate of former spouse.
• If the bride/groom has changed their name(s), legal proof of the change.
• If marrying in a non-English speaking country then documents may need to be translated by an official translator and stamped with an Apostille. In the UK the Foreign and Commonwealth Office can legalise documents for a small fee.
• Certificate of No Impediment to Marriage (required by some countries). This can be obtained from a local department of foreign affairs, registrar or embassy in the chosen country.
• Some countries require UK legal documents to be stamped with an Apostille Stamp, which then makes them legal documents in that country.
• Certificate of Single Status/Sworn Affidavit that you are free to marry. These are similar to a Certificate of No Impediment, but instead you have to swear you are single in front of a legal representative, i.e. a solicitor or notary.
8. Vaccinations and medications
Check what vaccinations and health precautions you need with your GP six to eight weeks before you travel. Visit www.fitfortravel.nhs.uk for more information. If you are taking prescribed medication, check if your medication is legal in the country you are visiting. Pack it in your hand luggage. It’s also worth taking a copy of your prescription with you.
9. Don’t forget the extras
Apart from settling the balance of the actual wedding abroad, couples shouldn’t forget the “little extras” that need to be budgeted for in the UK, such as travel and wedding insurance, getting documents translated (if required), and getting the correct documents legalised.
10. Listen to the weatherman
When choosing a dress, brides should always have the weather of the country in mind, at the particular time of year they plan to marry. A heavy wedding dress on a tropical beach may make brides look uncomfortable and overheated in the photos. Hurricane or rainy seasons may also not be an ideal time of year for outdoor weddings, which is particularly true of the Caribbean and South East Asia. If couples are flexible however about the date, then they should consider getting married out of the country’s high tourism season, when hotel rates are lower.