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
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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

Following the UK’s most recent national restrictions, you can only travel internationally or within the UK if you're legally permitted to do so while the UK is under full lockdown restrictions.

Non-essential travel is not currently permitted within the UK before 12 April 2021 at the earliest and international travel is not currently permitted before 17 May 2021 at the earliest. Any insurance for travel before these dates is likely to be invalid. The Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO), currently advises British nationals against all but essential international travel. See latest FCDO advice for further information.

Any insurance policy purchased to cover a trip to a destination where the local authority, or the FCDO, has instructed citizens not to travel, will not be valid.

For more information, please coronavirus and travel insurance page.

Until then, stay safe.

Customers with more serious pre-existing medical conditions

Our panel includes insurance providers who quote cover for all medical conditions declared on our website, with no exclusions.

On its Money Advice Service website, The Money and Pensions Service (MaPs) 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 the Money Advice Service or by calling the British Insurance Brokers’ Association on 0370 950 1790.

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.

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