What you need to know about getting married abroad

Thinking of getting married abroad? There’s a lot to consider. From where to have the big day, to how to cut costs and what to do about wedding travel insurance.

Thinking of getting married abroad? There’s a lot to consider. From where to have the big day, to how to cut costs and what to do about wedding travel insurance.

Josh Daniels
From the Travel team
3
minute read
Do you know someone who could benefit from this article?
Posted 31 JANUARY 2020

Your international marriage will be recognised in the UK

If you’re tying the knot abroad, your marriage will be recognised in the UK, so long as:

  • You follow the local laws of the place you get married

In France, for example, a civil ceremony needs to take place before a church service can happen. Over in Italy, divorced women can’t be married again until 300 days after their decree nisi. Even getting hitched at the Graceland Chapel in Las Vegas requires a marriage license.

  • It’s allowed under UK law

That’s to say you’re over 16, free to marry and not closely related to your partner.

CORONAVIRUS UPDATE 

The travel traffic light system currently states that trips to green and amber listed countries are legally permitted if you live in England and Scotland. If you live in Wales and Northern Ireland, you still need to follow the rules for your relevant government.

Please note: from 4am on 4 October 2021, the current traffic light system will be replaced by a single red list of countries.

Currently, if your destination of choice is on the green or amber list, you still need to check the latest travel advice and entry requirements for each country you visit or transit through. This is to ensure you are aware of any specific requirements relating to entry and ensure travellers from the UK are permitted. Countries can have their traffic light status changed with short notice and you should take this into consideration when looking to travel. Please check the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) for the latest information.

The FCDO currently advises against all but essential travel to red list countries. Most insurance policies purchased to cover a trip to a destination where the FCDO has instructed citizens not to travel to won’t be valid, however, some insurance providers may offer reduced cover if you’re travelling for essential purposes. Should you have any queries, please check the policy wording, or contact your chosen provider before purchasing, to ensure the cover meets your needs.

Travel within England, Scotland and Wales is permitted under the current guidelines. However, public health rules and lockdown restrictions continue to vary, including entry restrictions for Northern Ireland. Check the latest guidance from the official tourism boards for England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland respectively.

Find out more here

Customers with more serious pre-existing medical conditions

When you declare medical conditions on our website, we’ll only show quotes from insurance providers who will cover all declared medical conditions, with no exclusions. 

MoneyHelper has launched a directory of insurance providers who may be able to provide quotes over the phone if you have more serious medical conditions. Find more information at MoneyHelper or by calling them on 0800 138 7777.

You can grab big-day bargains

Head to a popular wedding resort, such as a Caribbean island, and they’ll often throw in a few wedding package freebies. These can include flowers, cake, champagne and room upgrades. Other ways to cut your costs include travelling in low season – although don’t risk having your day ruined by a monsoon downpour!

You can benefit from great exchange rates

A wedding in Europe or the US might set you back more than it would’ve done a few years ago. For this reason, it’s worth looking around to see if you can find a country where you can still get a good exchange rate.  

You’ll need proper insurance

If you’re getting married abroad, you’ll need to make sure you’ve got great wedding holiday insurance. This will give you peace of mind that everything’s covered, from the rings to the dress to the photographer.

You can’t get married in every country

As a foreign national, you can’t legally marry in the Maldives, for instance. But you can have a ceremony there and do the legal part elsewhere. Or you could get married in Sri Lanka and head over to the Maldives for your honeymoon.

You’ll need to get your paperwork in order

Generally, you’ll need photo ID, your birth certificate and – if necessary – divorce certificate. If you’re a widow(er) you’ll need a certificate to prove the death of your previous spouse. And don’t forget any relevant visas.

Check the legalities

Some countries insist you spend time there before you get married. In Sri Lanka, for example, you have to be resident for four days before the ceremony. Not necessarily a bad thing.  

Consider getting a wedding planner

Wedding planners might seem like an extravagance. But if you’re getting married abroad, they can really earn their keep. A good wedding planner will get you deals with local suppliers and help overcome any language barriers, so you can just focus on having a great day.

Think local

It’s harder to research online, true. But if you use local florists, chefs and staff you’ll often get a far better deal than you would in the UK. Plus you’ll be boosting the local economy.

Ready to tie the knot abroad? Compare overseas wedding insurance now.

Looking for a quote?

Get a new travel insurance quote in minutes and you could start saving

Get a quote
Compare travel insurance Get a quote