March 16, 2016 — 6 min read
Everyone wants their wedding to be the happiest day of their lives. But the process can be stressful, with high costs, unpredictable weather and complicated guest lists. So it’s no surprise that apparently one in four couples now choose to get married abroad. Spain is a popular choice, due to its generally favourable weather and short flight time from the UK. Costs can also be lower, although the recent weakening of the Pound against the Euro does mean your money might not go as far as it has in recent years.
We’ve taken a look at how you can plan your dream wedding in Spain and potentially keep some costs down along the way.
Spanish wedding traditions
Although traditional Spanish weddings may be perceived as more relaxed due to the sunny setting, there are still plenty of expectations to adhere to, just like in the UK. In fact, weddings are generally bigger affairs in Spain than in the UK, with an average of at least 200 guests being the norm.
Just like plenty of other celebratory events in Spain, weddings are likely to start later than in the UK, with the average ceremony starting after 7pm and finishing late in to the night. They also tend to be much noisier and livelier than a typical British wedding, with the use of firecrackers being common as the bride and groom exit the church together.
The main difference between traditional Spanish weddings and UK weddings however is the absence of bridesmaids and groomsmen. Instead, just the couple stands together at the altar, and speeches are not common practice.
When it comes to fashion trends, a popular choice for men is a dark suit, whilst the bride will usually opt for the use of a mantilla (a headdress) instead of a veil.
Other typical Spanish traditions include arras (unity coins), which represent the groom’s commitment to the bride, and during the wedding banquet, it is known for the newly wedded couple to pass around wedding favours (small presents) to their guests.
However, Spain and the UK do share some similarities when it comes to traditional customs, such as wedding cakes being a main feature for the banquet and rice throwing being popular as the groom and bride leave the church. Also, due a variety of reasons such as the rise in Brits moving to Spain as well as the influence of TV and the media, typical western culture has influenced Spanish weddings. Naturally this has caused similarities to develop, such as bridesmaids now becoming increasingly more popular.
Tips for getting married abroad
There are plenty of benefits to getting married abroad, not only to get away from the gloomy weather in the UK, but also to save some pennies. A British wedding costs on average around £25,000, but weddings abroad tend to be more in the region of £6,000 to £7,000. So if planning a wedding in Spain is starting to sound like the best option for you, we have a few tips to help you plan the wedding and how you can save some money along the way.
If you are lucky to have a local contact who can help you with the planning of the wedding, this could work out cheaper due to their knowledge of the area. However, another good option is to hire a local professional wedding planner, whose local expertise could help to save you money in the long run. Wedding packages to suit different budgets are also another common option in Spain, which are useful if you have a strict price to adhere to.
When it comes to booking your venue, you can find some great deals in Spain. With some background research, certain holiday rental sites let you rent private villas at two-star hotel prices. You will more than often be required to organise all of the extras though, such as catering, table hire and entertainment, but the advantage is you have the option to combine your wedding and honeymoon by keeping the complex to stay in afterwards, depending on how long you rent it for.
If you decide to book a villa, always check with the owner beforehand to ensure that they are happy with the venue being used for an event. If you are booking directly through the owner rather than using an ABTA and ATOL protected holiday provider, make sure that your payment is secure as there will be potentially less protection available. It is also worth noting to research any hidden costs such as document translation fees when booking necessities such as your venue, catering and destination.
Planning the special date in advance can also help cut costs, especially when it comes to flights. There are plenty of return ticket deals to be sourced when jetting off between the UK and Spain, especially if you are paying for your guests tickets too. Websites such as Skyscanner can help you to find the cheapest flights.
Finally, exchanging money to pay for the necessities can also be costly dependent on the method you choose. 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 can work out cheaper. We also have some options that can help you to make the most of your money, despite recent currency fluctuations following last year’s Brexit vote.
What’s the effect of Britons getting married abroad on Spanish businesses?
There seems to be a growing market for wedding planners in Spain, with an array of websites offering their services to a global audience from as little as a starting package price of €1,000. This is good news for people wanting to get married somewhere a bit more exotic but on a budget.
From bridal dress shops, venues to hire, and catering companies, plenty of businesses benefit from international custom as well as local customers.
Whether you are an expat who would like to plan your wedding in Spain, or whether you live in the UK and are planning to spend your special day in the sun, there definitely seems to be a growing demand for weddings abroad, which in turn will have a positive impact on local businesses targeting the wedding market.
There are many reasons why getting married in Spain has its benefits, not only for the better weather and beautiful, picturesque surroundings but also due to the money you can save. There are plenty of points to consider when booking your perfect day abroad, but as long as you plan it effectively and ensure you budget correctly, you could end up potentially saving thousands.
So whether you’re in Spain just for the wedding or you’ve chosen to spend the rest of your life there, make sure to make the most of it.
For further information on planning a ceremony in Spain, including the legal documents that will be required, you can find lots of useful information on the Ceremonies in Spain website.
And if you’d like to find out how XE helps our customers save time and money on international payments for their big day, please contact us.