07 June 2013 by

My Destination Wedding: The Perks & The Pitfalls Of Getting Married Abroad

This week we learnt that the number of couples choosing a foreign wedding over the past year was almost 20% higher than in the previous four. Meaning many more fiancés are ditching the dodgy British weather and making for more exotic climes for their nuptials. While a wedding abroad certainly has its attractions, there are compromises to be had along the way. Grazia’s Senior Fashion News & Features Editor, Katherine Ormerod was a bride abroad three summers ago. Below she breaks down the trails and the triumphs of organising a wedding abroad.

Grazia's Senior Fashion News & Features Editor Katherine Ormerod Wedding in Lucca

1. Cutting the List Down

Having a wedding in the U.K is like a free pass to anyone you’ve ever known to angle for an invite. When all they need to do is jump in the car for a free meal and bar, you’d be surprised who comes out of the woodwork. Add in the cost of a flight and accommodation and suddenly it doesn't seem so attractive to those family freeloaders.

2. Foreign Bureaucracy

Just to be clear – you can’t just walk into a country and get married there. Firstly, you have to register your intention to marry in your local town hall in the UK. Then there is a range of different steps depending on your venue nation of choice. I got married in Italy which required the presentation of documents to two different regional offices and the handing over of EUR 800. Being a bride on a budget, these meetings all happened the day before we said our ‘I dos’ to save on accommodation costs. The stress of this day was unimaginable, with tears and adrenaline flowing as things went wrong. Hardly the ‘calm serenity’ prescribed for the day before a wedding. You can, of course, employ a wedding planner to take care of these things, but if you’re counting the pennies stress comes as part of the package.

3. Budget Busting

Some things abroad are significantly cheaper – for example beautiful white roses for 5 bridesmaids, table centrepieces, my bouquet and all the groom’s buttonholes came to EUR 200 in rural Tuscany, a sum inconceivable for UK florists. Other things – especially in terms of admin are expensive and there is little you can do from home as the costs begin to pile up. In the UK, it’s much easier to do price comparisons, whereas abroad you have to accept what you are offered and compromise more.

4. Feeling Out of Control

A wedding abroad can be fantastic for caging the Bridezilla in us all. As it is removed, you cannot have the same level of control, meaning you have to let some things go. This is a great thing for curbing control freakery and means you are probably more relaxed come the big day. However, if letting go isn’t exactly your thing, weddings abroad can be a nightmare with shifting goal posts, broken promises and disappointments.

5. That Holiday Feeling

When you think about your happiest moments in life, they are inevitably when you were on holiday. As most of your guests will be staying in the area for more than one night, a wedding abroad is like being on holiday with your favourite people in the world, who are all giving you 100% attention and adoration. We had a three day wedding with BBQs and poolside afternoons with all our friends. It was incredibly special to see our mates and families making friends with each other from the young cousins to our Uni and work colleagues. Many have stayed in contact since the wedding, improving our social life and bringing great people together. So sure the hairdressers might be a bit rural in tastes (DEFINTIELY worth flying a hair person out, probably my biggest regret is being too tight on this one) and the DJ might need his playlist tweaking, but you can’t help but be swept up by the escapism of the occasion.

Katherine's Wedding took place in Lucca, Tuscany at Fattoria Mansi Bernardini


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