Overseas Destination Wedding Planning Checklist
If you are planning a wedding abroad then this checklist is everything you need to know, think about and plan when arranging your destination wedding.
Destination Wedding Checklist
Our wedding abroad checklist has everything from legal requirements, things to take, arrange before hand and sort after too.
1. Find out the Legal Requirements
All countries are different when it comes to getting married, in some countries it may not be a legal marriage in the UK, so it is worth bearing this in mind, you maybe able to have a civil ceremony and then when back in the UK make it legally binding.
- Look into the marriage requirements for each country, some you will be able to marry while others you won’t.
- If you have a wedding planner then speak to them about what you need to do and what forms need to be completed.
- If you wish to keep things simple you can legally marry in the UK, but hold your wedding a ceremony abroad, although it won’t be legally binding.
2. Set Your Budget
Not the best part but the most important, decide your budget and what you want to spend, then you can split your budget up for the different areas. The more guest and more it will cost, so do think about who you are likely to invite and a bought idea for numbers. With an estimated guest list you can get better quotes from venues and makes it easier to choose and also compare costs.
- Decide how much you want to spend and can afford, set your budget and stick to it.
- Do research to find a hotel that has a large range of room prices or book two hotels (one pricier hotel and one budget hotel.
- Call vendors and ask for estimates.
- Make an Excel spreadsheet of costs that include:
- Hair and makeup
- Wedding venues rentals
If you have your heart set on an expensive venue, you can always book a bridal suite at your hotel of choice and a block of rooms for your guests at a hotel nearby. You might not even decide to book rooms for your guests.
3. Plan your Wedding and Your Reception
Just like at home, you’ll need to decide where you want your ceremony and reception to take place.
- Find out if your desired location is legal (for beach weddings abroad, find out if your favourite beach is legal for weddings).
- Call the church to ask what religious requirements you’ll need to abide by in your ceremony.
- Coordinate with the priest or officiate to decide the structure of your ceremony.
Once you’ve found a venue for your reception, you’ll need to plan it. Find out the cultural customs of your destination to find out what kind of food service is available.
4. Choose the Date
Decide when you want to get married. As you are getting married abroad find out when tourist season falls in your destination country. You might want to avoid these months as it might be difficult to make large group bookings. Also check to see if there are any dates to avoid, such as bank holidays there or special dates of note.
Once you have your date confirmed, and the venue is booked, make sure to send your invites out. You want to give your guests plenty of time to make arrangements to ensure they can come and to book flights and accommodation.
5. Find Your Suppliers and Vendors
When it comes to planning make sure you download our wedding planner printable, an easy way to stay organised, help manage your guest list and budget.
- Start calling and emailing vendors to find out who in your budget is available to help you out on your big day.
- Hire an overseas wedding planner to help make arrangements.
- Hire a translator if necessary to help facilitate foreign vendors.
- Hire a tour coordinator to help keep your guests together and on schedule.
- Find a wedding officiate or priest.
- Book the reception venue.
- Book the wedding venue.
- Put down a deposit on a caterer.
- Order a cake.
- Hire a photographer.
- Send your hairstylist pictures of your up-do ideas.
- Find travel for your guests to and from the venues.
- Don’t forget your wedding insurance.
6. Find Accommodation for Your Wedding Party and Guests
If your guests want you to book a block of rooms for them, find out what hotel you’d like to stay at. This is where your budget research comes in handy.
- Book a block of rooms in a variety of price ranges.
- Ask hotels about special rates for large parties and price shop for the best rate.
- Do research to find other hotels in the area for guests who do not want to stay with the wedding party.
- Book airport transfers for your guests, to and from their hotels.
Booking a hotel with free (or paid) airport transfers could save you a lot of hassle later, so try to find out which hotels offer this service.
7. Plan travel arrangements
Depending on where you are getting married you are likely going to need to plan and book flights to get there.
Book your flights as early as possible to get the best price. Also contact the airlines to see if they can offer a group discount.
As you are flying make sure you know the costs for additional luggage and also try to estimate how many cases you will be taking. It maybe cheaper to post out a box that contains table decorations, table place etc then buying an additional case and paying to take that with you
8. Don’t Forget to Pack
Use this checklist to make sure you have all the items you’ll need with you. Double check to make sure you have your:
- Marriage documents
- Wedding insurance papers
- Travel insurance papers
- Dress and tux
- Photo for your hairstylist
- Guest book
- Other wedding day items you’ve purchased before heading to your destination.
Also, don’t forget to schedule a practice up-do to make sure you like the style your hairstyle creates for you.
9. Create a Wedding Day Itinerary
Just like you would for a wedding at home, plan your wedding day itinerary.
- Make copies of your wedding itinerary; pass them around to guests or ask the hotel to leave them in the guest rooms.
- Give your wedding planner, tour guide and translator a copy of this itinerary.
- Double check with all your guests to make sure they know how they’re getting to and from the wedding if you haven’t booked transportation for everyone.
10. After Your Big Day
Your wedding and reception might be over, but now you need to get everything home and there are also a few things to do once back.
- Record your marriage, so it is legal
- Send thank you notes
- Fill out forms for name changes
- Get your dress cleaned, pressed and packed
- Share your wedding photos once you have them from your photographer
Where to get married abroad?
Some couples know where they want to get married, it maybe a place they have been to before, where they got engaged, or a place that means a lot to them, or just somewhere that has always been a dream to get married.
Popular wedding destinations include:
No matter what your reasons are for planning a destination wedding, just try to pick a place that fits you and your fiancé’s personalities. It is your day so do it your way.