The Real Costs of Getting Married Abroad
What price can you put on love? Well around £30,000 if you read varying reports stating the average cost of a UK wedding but how about if you opt to dodge the unpredictable British weather and extended family invite challenges, to get married abroad?
Well, with travel restrictions easing and the desire for exciting wedding experiences on the increase, there’s more choice than ever when it comes to destination weddings and knowing what you need to budget before planning certainly helps.
How Much does it Cost to Get Married Abroad?
A large reason many couples choose to get married abroad is to get-away from it all, relax in a brand new location and host an intimate soiree, making destination weddings renowned for hosting smaller guest numbers.
If you’re amongst the many couples at present considering a far-flung celebration it will come as no surprise that planning a destination wedding can eliminate some planning conundrums whilst creating other aspects you need to consider, such as potential flights, transfers and suitable accommodation. All of which need to be factored into your destination wedding budget.
Destination Wedding Vs. Traditional UK Wedding Costs
In a broader sense, weddings abroad tend to cost less than those hosted in the UK, mainly due to the reduction in guest numbers but with increased demand and popularity for overseas weddings, there comes newly found acceptance for higher volumes of family and friends accepting to hop on a plane for celebrations. Therefore, it’s not unusual to host a destination wedding with a surplus of 100 guests.
Like-for-like some venues abroad can be cheaper to hire in comparison to the UK, offering more impressive backdrops and wedding packages. Typically you’ll also find your budget will stretch further when it comes to your price per head on catering overseas. With that said, you will need to factor in more excessive travel costs and longer accommodation stays than if you were staying in your home town to get married.
Exclusive, desirable wedding destinations such as Lake Como are most certainly not budget-friendly ways to say ‘I Do’ and there are numerous worldwide locations which will come with a pricetag far greater than the UK for copious stand out reasons. So don’t be fouled, destination weddings for a fact are not considerably cheaper than UK weddings.
What is the average cost of getting married abroad?
If you factor in elopements, you could legally get married abroad for as little as £2,000. Some reports suggest the average overseas wedding is said to cost around £15,000 but there is no one-size fits all, and expenses will vary depending on destination and scale.
Additional costs you will need to consider associated with getting married abroad include;
- Travel Insurance
- Airport Parking
- Hotel & Accommodation
- Food and Drinks throughout your stay
- Destination Photographer & expenses
- Potential travel fees for suppliers
- Exchange rates and added tax- dependent on destination
- Welcome and farewell meals
These are just a few aspects you will need to keep in mind when budgeting for a wedding abroad, you will also have all of your usual costs such as the dress, grooms attire, flowers and decor.
Must Have | Free Wedding Budget Spreadsheet
How to spend your destination wedding budget
Evaluating where to distribute your wedding budget ultimately comes down to deciphering the areas you wish to splash the cash and the aspects you can live with holding back on.
With destination weddings there are so many incredible places to say ‘I Do’ featuring unbelievable views that you simply don’t have to throw lots of money at floristry and decor.
When it comes to the cuisine a more relaxed take on a Meditteranean buffet may mean you can save on catering and potentially splurge on impressive drink packages to party into the night.
That being said, here’s some areas you will need to spend your money to experience your wedding abroad;
Destination Wedding Planning
Unless you know your destination inside out, chances are you will need help understanding local wedding legalities and how to get the very best for your big day. Getting married abroad requires careful planning , organisation and meeting local teams on the ground to establish your preferences.
You can of course opt to take on the wedding planning challenge yourself whilst liaising with your chosen venue and ensure the smooth running of your day by visiting prior. The costs involved to fly out beforehand for wedding prep meetings can be anything from £500 to £5,000 depending on the destination and how many times you both visit.
Keep Organised | Overseas Destination Wedding Planning Checklist
Alternatively, you could hire a professional destination wedding planner. This has many benefits, including not having to travel to the venue as often, and potentially gaining discounts from their network of local wedding contacts. Some planners will take a percentage from your wedding budget whilst others will offer a fixed fee package. From full wedding planning to on-the-day coordination, you could be looking at spending anything from a few hundred pounds to £5,000+.
Typically venue hire and catering for your guests will take up approximately 50% of your budget- that’s a huge chunk of money! But, the environment and location in which you say your vows completely shapes your entire wedding.
If you’re heading abroad, there’s no need to stay traditional, from exquisite French Chateau’s to Sahara desert camps and exclusive Greek islands, you can be as extravagant or laid-back as you wish. Beachfront restaurants are great for taking in coastal views in a more relaxed setting whilst luxury wedding villas provide amazing retreats for extended wedding stays.
Wedding offerings will vary wildly from destinations and individual venues, some only hire the space for your ceremony whilst others offer full wedding packages including meals, supplied decor and entertainment. Do as much research as possible before committing to your venue and ask as many questions as you need to make your final decision.
Discover your ideal place to say ‘I Do’ | Venue Finder
Most sought-after wedding destinations will have an abundance of stylish and professional suppliers on hand to assist in creating your wedding vision. In some cases, however, you may choose to bring some suppliers over from the UK. This might be a preferred wedding photographer, musician or make-up artist. Although costs won’t differ to the UK, you can expect to pay more for their time, as well as flights and accommodation. For each supplier, budget somewhere between £1,000 and £4,000.
Keep in mind wedding professionals especially photographers are generally more than happy to travel, in fact it’s a given in their industry, if their style suits your preference don’t be put off by their current location.
How to save on your destination wedding budget
Cutting costs when it comes to weddings can be disastrous, I mean providing no food for your guests is surely going to result in a big hangry mob later in the day, however there are several ways you can still achieve your dream destination wedding but keep to your desired budget.
Choose your destination wisely
Consider the country and destination for your wedding with great care and do your research before narrowing down your search area. For instance, weddings in Cyprus tend to be more budget-friendly compared to the cost of weddings in Italy, yet both provide romantic backdrops with stunning weather.
Popular wedding destinations include; Santorini, Ibiza, France and Italy but with the pound being weak right now, there’s some destinations where your money will go further, such as Mexico.
Ensure you understand the best options to get you and your guests out to your desired destination, some locations may have limited or expensive flights which might not prove suitable.
Be flexible on your date
If you can be flexible on timings, this will help with your budget. For instance, wedding accommodation during peak summer months can cost two or three times more than travelling out of season. Therefore it pays to research your destination in advance, to ensure you’re benefitting from the perks of getting married abroad.
If you’re keen to elope during the British summer, then possibly look at overseas wedding destinations that are out of peak season during this time. The Caribbean and Miami for instance can be cheaper between July to October. Or, simply opt for a midweek wedding, many venues, suppliers and resorts will hold a premium across desirable weekends.
Keep your guestlist concise
It goes without saying, the lower the number of guests, the less your wedding will cost. Catering for your guests will be on a price per head basis but you should also keep in mind a wedding space suitable for 30 guests could cost dramatically less than a terrace to accommodate 75. Ensure your guestlist includes who you really want by your side on your big day not who expects to receive an invite.
Combine your wedding & honeymoon
Seriously, it logistically makes sense! If you are looking at getting married abroad simply extend your stay to include your honeymoon. By doing this you will save money on flights, potentially get a better deal and let’s be honest most wedding destinations are the ideal location to relax, indulge and smooch up as newlyweds.
Read more | A Guide to Combining your Honeymoon & Wedding
What you should spend on your wedding abroad
Let’s reiterate regardless of whether you choose a UK or overseas wedding, how much you choose to spend on your wedding, be it £2,000 or £200,000, needs to be dictated by you as a couple. Regardless of average spends and what others have opted for previously, you need to be comfortable in justifying the amount you wish to pay out for your big day.
There are many ways to split up your destination wedding budget but only you need to be confident in how you spend your money. If you want to prioritise bridal couture over a 5-course wedding breakfast, go for it!