More and more Australians are heading to exotic places overseas when it comes to tying the knot. From popular destinations like Bali, Hawaii and even places like Thailand, Vegas, Tahiti and Vanuatu – it's the cool thing to do with your wedding and honeymoon wrapped into one. But remember, there's a whole lotta planning before you say I do. From legal documents to wedding planners, here are our top five essential tips when it comes to planning your wedding overseas.
Before you do the paperwork, make sure you check that it’s legal to get married in the country of your choice - and if it’s recognised in Australia. To avoid the stress, understand what documents you need to bring beforehand. Each country is different, so be sure to check with the embassy or consulate of the country you’d like to marry in. Generally, overseas marriage authorities will want to see some evidence that you’re not currently married, as well as your birth certificate and passport.
Planning a wedding overseas can be expensive for you and your guests. Determine what your budget is first, generally based on the destination and type of experience you’re after. You’ll need to consider costs such as catering, reception, flowers, photography, accommodation and flights – just to name a few. To track your spending each step of the way, use an Excel workbook or Google doc to help break down the costs. It might be a critical factor in determining whether your dream dress is really worth it!
It’s definitely a must if you plan on getting married overseas. Wedding planners will provide you with local, expert knowledge – from booking your wedding venue, securing a marriage registrar to sorting out all the logistics on the day. Remember to negotiate a flat rate beforehand, which is generally determined by the number of guests you have. Be sure to ask them about the best photographers, florists and vendors in the local area too. Keep in contact by scheduling regular Skype calls to keep track on progress and other questions you may have.
Make your special day even more memorable by embracing some of the local customs. If you’re getting married in India, why not decorate your hands in henna? Or if you’re heading to New Zealand, you could kick off your ceremony with a traditional Maori dance. If it’s China you’re heading to, why not deck the whole venue out in red – a symbol of good luck. Depending on what country you’re getting married in, ask your wedding planner about local customs you might like to incorporate.
A destination wedding is a perfect stepping-stone to your honeymoon travels. You’ll basically kill two birds with one stone and save plenty of coin. Be sure to take full advantage of what the country has to offer from island hoping, an escape to a private retreat or even a combination of safari and city. Make sure you allow yourself enough time to enjoy your honeymoon.
Oh and did we mention, planning a wedding overseas is particularly useful if you don’t want your weird uncle Barry raiding the bar at the reception. Having a wedding overseas solves that problem and you end up with people that you actually want there.