If you were presented with a sparkler this Christmas – then congratulations! Nothing beats starting the New Year as a bride-to-be and not even the rubbish weather, freezing cold and lack of sunshine can diminish the spring in your step. Of course, first thing’s first and it’s time to get the bridal magazines and the calendar together – where, when and who’s going to come to your big day?
For some, getting married abroad is the epitome of romance, with the sun on your skin; the sand beneath your feet and intimate celebrations with your very nearest and dearest (it sure beats drizzle, soggy marquees and being forced to sit on that dodgy step uncle’s knee). And for anyone with this in mind, marrying abroad is perfectly legal once you get back to the UK so long as you follow all the rules of the country that you got married in. You’ll probably need certain documents, but you can check this and what else you need to know from a legal perspective at Gov.UK – getting married abroad.
And if you do decide to jump on a plane then here are some wedding facts and information from around the world that just might come in handy:
- The average UK wedding costs around £20,500 but if you get married abroad, it could be as little as £604 depending on where you go and whether the exchange rate is in your favour. In fact, the UK is the second most expensive place to get married (only beaten by the United Arab Emirates at £20,726).
- Foreign nationals can’t get married in the Maldives – but you can tie the knot in equally glorious Sri Lanka and then hop over to the Maldives for your honeymoon – two birds, one stone?
- If you choose to get married in the Congo – don’t smile. Congolese brides and grooms aren’t allowed to smile at all during their wedding day – if they do, it’s thought that they’re not taking the ceremony seriously #sadface.
- Grooms in Korea have their feet beaten the night before they get married to test their strength and character – talk about going to extremes to prove your love.
- If you want to get married in Mauritius and are a bride who’s been divorced for less than ten months, then you’ll need to take a pregnancy test before you get hitched – you know – just in case.
- Want to get married in France? Then how about this for a tradition – newlyweds may have to eat chocolate and drink champagne out of a toilet bowl (yes – you read that right). It’s meant to give the couple strength before their wedding night – just make sure you brush your teeth afterwards!
- If budget is your prime concern, then check out some all-inclusive Caribbean deals – some resorts will throw in a free wedding package if you take a certain number of guests with you (your guests need never know).
- It might cost you a bit more, but it’s worth hiring a translator or wedding coordinator if you don’t speak the local lingo – they might be able to negotiate better deals and you’ll know you’ve actually married your fiancée rather than mistakenly wed the maid of honour or best-man in some terrible Fawlty Towers-esque misunderstanding.
- If you’re taking an entourage abroad with you, make sure you dedicate some time to just you and your new spouse after the ceremony – it’s great to have your loved ones close, but a wedding night knowing your mother-in-law’s in the next room doesn’t inspire much in the way of romance.
- Make sure you follow weather patterns – especially if you’re going anywhere tropical – be aware of rainy or monsoon seasons (if you want rain and gales, you could’ve just stayed in the UK).
And one the one thing you should definitely remember if you get married abroad? Always ask for a translation of your marriage certificate and ask for more copies just to be on the safe side – because it’s not like you can pop into the local registry office for a replacement.
Plus – a little extra tip as a wedding gift from us to you – remember your travel insurance and make sure you’ve got enough to cover everything including your wedding outfits and rings (because arguing over lack of insurance is not a great way to kick start married life).