How to get married abroad

Save money and guarantee good weather by getting hitched overseas

Felicity Hannah - Virgin Money Living Mentor

by Felicity Hannah | Independent Money Mentor

Award-winning personal finance and consumer affairs journalist


With the average cost of a wedding in the UK hitting dizzying heights it’s no wonder more people are choosing to fly off and get married abroad. So, if you want to keep the cost down, guarantee some sunshine or just tie the knot in a really special place then here’s everything you need to know about getting married abroad.

Save loads of money

There are loads of reasons so many people consider an overseas wedding and it’s not just to improve their chances of sun (or snow if they’re planning their nuptials in an ice hotel or on the slopes).

A survey by Mintel showed that one in five weddings takes place abroad, partly because it costs on average just a third of the typical UK wedding.

That’s particularly important since the average cost of a wedding in this country has reached over £27,000, according to the website Hitched. That ceremony on the beach sounds even more attractive now, doesn’t it ?

But money’s just the start – there are plenty of other things to think about to ensure your overseas wedding goes smoothly.

Check you actually can

If you want to get married somewhere warm then there are some countries that specialise in wedding package holidays for popular locations.

However, getting married abroad isn’t as simple everywhere. For example, some countries require you to be resident for over a month first. Others don’t allow same-sex marriages. And some countries have complicated rules about religious or state ceremonies.

Research the rules for a country first, before getting really carried away by the idea of it.

Think about your guests

While getting married overseas may be considerably cheaper for you, it can be a lot more expensive for your guests.

They’ll need to fly, book hotel rooms, take extra days off work. If you want to avoid a serious rift with a family member then it could be an idea to offer an alternative, like a low-key celebration in a pub, on your return.

Factor in jet lag

Even if there’s no need to be resident in a country before you marry, you may still want to leave a few days between the flight and the ceremony.

Not only will that give you time for any last-minute organising, it will also ensure that jet lag doesn’t spoil your wedding day.

Make a checklist of legal documents

Depending on the country you’re in, you’ll need different paperwork. Most need a birth certificate, some will need a certificate of no impediment from your local register office.

Also, it’s not just being sure you’re able to get married abroad, you need to be sure it will be recognised back home.

Check out this official tool to help you assemble the right documents for your overseas wedding and your return home too.

Buy wedding insurance

Marrying abroad can be really simple these days but there is undeniably more to go wrong, from losing your wedding outfits en route to being grounded by an airline strike.

That makes it even more important to take out wedding insurance – and to check if it covers your travels or if you need a policy for that too.

Marrying abroad can be beautiful, special and a cheap alternative to buying dinner for 200 cousins and colleagues. Just make sure you’re prepared so your big day goes without a hitch.

Want more thrifty travel advice? Check out travelling on a budget and six money-saving ways to pay for your holiday.

Before making financial decisions always do research, or talk to a financial adviser. Views are those of our mentors and customers and do not constitute financial advice.