A UK wedding can be a costly affair, setting the average British couple back by and average of £17,674. It’s no surprise then that couples increasingly choose to avoid the high costs of a UK wedding by heading overseas, where costs tend to be more in the range of £8,000 to £9,000. One survey has suggested that as many as one in four British couples now choose to get married abroad. As well as the potentially lower cost, the main reasons for marrying abroad were better weather, the chance to escape certain relatives and the opportunity to combine the ceremony and honeymoon.
But abandoning traditional British wedding settings for sunnier shores requires great organisation and hours of researching an area before the big day. So for couples wishing to ditch the temperamental British weather and get hitched on a dreamy beach abroad, we’ve put together some tips to ensure the day is memorable in all the right ways.
You should check with your local government website to determine if there are any details you should know about as to what you need to prepare, such as what documents you need.
Here are some links to which will be helpful to many of our clients and visitors worldwide:
Do your research
There are many things to consider when deciding where to have your exotic wedding. Is there a country that means a lot to you? Did you get engaged on holiday and want to go back there? Is there somewhere you’ve always wanted to visit?
Wherever you choose, remember that the time of year you want to get wed will affect both the price and suitability of a destination. It might be worth checking a website like Holiday Weather to take a look at the weather patterns and work out when the best time of year is for you. But peak seasons may come at a cost, so websites like Skyscanner can help you figure out which month will have the most affordable flights and how regularly flights are available to your desired destination.
Look at tax rates
By putting some research into foreign taxes, clever couples could take advantage of better rates. The UK currently has one of the highest tax rates in Europe at 20%, which means that when booking a DJ or caterers, the quoted price is less than the actual bill when it comes to making the payment. But many European countries offer reduced VAT rates on items such as food, accommodation and even transport, so be sure to look into the tax rates wherever you’re headed.
Consider a wedding planner
Once you’ve decided on a location, the next step is finding a venue and booking up caterers, music, flowers and the rest. Whilst booking everything yourself gives you full control of the finer details, hiring an overseas wedding planner can prove a great help. Although there will be an extra charge, a local planner may be able to negotiate better prices. They should make the whole process easier, particularly if you are trying to organise everything remotely and possibly in a foreign language.
Often the most daunting and complex thing about getting married abroad is all the different legalities that surround getting married in another country. If you go through a weddings company, this stress can be removed as they do all the hard work for you. They can tell you exactly what documents you will need, what to get signed and where to send them, meaning you can focus on choosing that all important dress, or picking the perfect honeymoon.
But if you do go for a package deal or a wedding planner, make sure you know exactly what you’re getting for your money so that no hidden extras spoil your day.
Embrace the culture
Sharing your vows in Italy? Then perhaps you could toast with Prosecco rather than Champagne. In Spain, some Flamenco dancers could provide a memorable taste of traditional Spanish culture.
There are lots of ways to incorporate your surroundings into your wedding, through food, drink, music and even flower options. When getting married abroad, you’ll often notice that your money goes much further when buying locally sourced food and drink, particularly if you decide to indulge in regional delicacies and drinks made in the area.
Save money using an international payments specialist
With so much to organise and pay for, frequent and often large payments overseas are hard to avoid, particularly if you’re doing all the leg work yourself. As convenient as credit cards may be for last minute purchases, they can often have a high cost attached to them. Alternatively, many people will turn to their bank for international payments, but they don’t always offer the best deal either. Using a dedicated money transfer service such as XE could help to save you money.
The timing of your payment can also affect how far your money goes. While this may not always be entirely under your control, even a few days might make a difference. For example, in October 2016 the UK experienced a “flash crash”, where exchange rates fell 6% against the Dollar in a matter of minutes. Such large movements are very rare, but movements of 1% within a single day are not uncommon and they can still make a noticeable difference when you are sending large amounts of money. XE.com has options that can help you to save you time and make the most of your money in a volatile currency market.
Plan for emergencies
When travelling abroad, you should always take out insurance to protect against anything from lost baggage to unexpected injuries. If you’re travelling to Europe for the big day, don’t forget to apply for a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) to cover you for foreign hospital treatment for free. If you are getting married abroad, it is also a good idea to take out specific wedding insurance. This means you will be covered if you need to cancel your plans or if anything is stolen.
Don’t forget the honeymoon
Last, but definitely not least, it’s time for the honeymoon. One of the benefits of marrying abroad is that there’s no need to go anywhere else. The ceremony and honeymoon can be combined into one big romantic holiday. So make the most of your stay by booking day trips, tours, and excursions.
The above figures are based on the interbank rate when the markets closed on the dates stated and are provided for indicative purposes only. The interbank rate is the rate at which banks and brokers buy and sell money to each other.
Private individuals and small to medium businesses cannot access these rates. For a quote, please contact us.