Destination Weddings

How to Get Married Abroad

Continued (page 2 of 3)

5. Wherever humanly and financially possible, plan at least two trips to your wedding destination before the event itself. This is of course easier for Europeans marrying in Europe, who can pop over to France or Italy to research venues, chase quotes, file paperwork and check that everything is progressing as it should be. If you’re based in the States, however, this may still be a possibility—especially if your wedding is in Mexico or the Caribbean. If not, try to find someone "on the ground" (a wedding planner, a relative, a friend) who can help you move things along on your behalf and make sure your venue really is as good as it claims to be.

6. Find someone who speaks the local language. This will come in handy when negotiating with local suppliers and understanding the legal requirements. If you book your wedding at a hotel, it may have a dedicated wedding planner and liaison staff who can walk you through the whole process. It’s one of the many advantages of picking a hotel or resort wedding (at least for your reception)—a big help with all the details.

7. Get in touch with the relevant church or temple as soon as possible if you’re planning a religious ceremony or blessing. It can help you with all the arrangements. Some countries don't accept religious ceremonies as legal marriages, which means you will have also to attend a civil ceremony or registry office first. This is also the case for wedding ceremonies or blessings in hotels or resorts, which may not be legally licensed for marriages. You may not wish to make this legal element part of your wedding day, so work out if you will need to travel ahead of your guests to complete any official documents or legally “tie the knot.” There also may be different requirements for different denominations—arranging a non-Catholic Christian wedding in Italy, for example, will involve an additional legal ceremony; an interfaith or cross-denominational marriage may be even more complicated. In addition, your home country’s laws may differ from those in your destination, meaning a marriage that’s perfectly legal in, say, the Maldives means nada back in the U.S.A.

8. Book your accommodation as soon as you can, and make reservations on behalf of your guests if possible. Remember that the most popular overseas wedding spots tend to be vacation destinations, so they get booked up well in advance.

9. Inform your bank of your travel plans so it doesn't stop your cards when it detects lots of foreign transactions. Check that your mobile phone will work in the area you’re visiting; it may be cheaper to buy a phone card locally than use your existing SIM card.

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