If you’re planning on getting married abroad, congratulations! Are you sporting a beautiful ring from 77 diamonds? And have you decided where you’d like to marry? Destination weddings are as popular as ever, but for all that a beautiful location and guaranteed sunshine is enough reason to hop on a plane, have you done your research first? Here are eight things you didn’t know about getting married abroad.
1. You’ll probably pay less
The average UK wedding costs twice as much as the average cost of marrying overseas. That said, you’ll need to factor in inviting your guests – will you subsidise their costs or are they happy to meet the expense alone?
2. You must decide on your name
If you change your passport to your married name before you travel, you might have difficulty entering the country: the ticketed name has to match your passport. Decide what name you want to leave and enter the country under, and book tickets accordingly!
3. You might need to take a pre-wedding holiday
In many countries, you’ll need to reside in the destination of your choosing for a set amount of time before marrying. This varies from country to country. Turkey requires you to have resided for 24 hours but France stipulates that you’ll need to arrive at least 40 days before the wedding.
4. You need to make sure your wedding is legal
To guarantee that your wedding is legal and recognised when you return to the UK, you’ll need to complete all the relevant paperwork. Check out https://www.gov.uk/marriage-abroad for full guidance.
5. You won’t have to pay so much VAT
Although it’s not the most romantic consideration when planning a wedding, there are good tax reasons for marrying abroad. The UK currently has one of the highest rates of tax in Europe, meaning that we pay up to 20% extra for our caterers, DJs and florists. However, destinations such as the Canary Islands only charge 7% VAT, and America doesn’t charge any at all.
6. You might have to pay extra for transactions
Organising a wedding means attending to all the little details – all of which need paying for. This is something to factor in if you’re making overseas payments: some money transfer services charge up to £5 for an online transfer, and high street banks charge up to five times as much! Consider sites such as UKForex who charge a £7 fee for each transaction, but waive it on transfers above £3,000.
7. You’ll need to send your save-the-dates early
If you’d like to invite guests to attend your overseas wedding, send your save-the-dates earlier than you would if you were marrying in the UK. Your guests might need to start saving for the trip and agree holiday dates with their employers.
8. You’ll need to check the weather!
Beware of cheap deals at certain times of year. Hurricane and monsoon seasons might not be the ideal time for a wedding in South East Asia or the Caribbean!