Congratulations! Getting married is a wonderful occasion and mixing it with travel makes it even more fun-filled. Whether you’re both avid travelers or are just considering a unique wedding style, planning a wedding abroad can be overwhelming. Besides figuring out the location — a tropical beach-side wedding or a picturesque ceremony in an old European capital — there are a lot more important details to consider.

Here are 10 essential tips for how to plan a wedding abroad:

Keep It Small

If you have big families, it doesn’t mean you have to cross out the idea of an international wedding. Unless you have the money to expect hundreds of your family members, save yourself the stress and consider a smaller occasion. You may anticipate those who may not be able to get abroad due to circumstances. Invite your closest family and friends and consider a small ceremony in your hometown to satisfy both parties.

Research the Local Customs

This is especially important if you’re getting married in a foreign land with many different customs. For instance, did you know to be married in the Netherlands, at least one party must be of Dutch nationality? Be aware of local and legal customs by contacting the foreign embassy. These procedures can be lengthy, so this should be one of your first steps before planning a wedding abroad. A nice thing to do is to incorporate local customs; let’s say this foreign place was somewhere you two met. Throw in some local culture, for instance, serving Ceviche as a dish if you met and will marry in Peru.

Consider a Weddingmoon

A weddingmoon is a lot more than a cute play on the word wedding and honeymoon; it could be your key to marital bliss. Combining the location of the wedding and the honeymoon is a match made in heaven. (Other than you two of course.) Some resorts have a free wedding ceremony where the hotel takes care of all wedding plans, giving you the time to focus on each other. How nice is it to just sit back and relax and enjoy the actual wedding and honeymoon without stressing over so many fine details?

Hire a Wedding Planner

Even if you are organized and on top of the planning and execution, a wedding planner will be an invaluable tool as you set off on planning this big event. Do not discount how much a trained professional can help you to visualize and execute your vision. Having a planner onsite at your location will be an immense help as you figure out all of the little details of the planning process. They will also be able to provide recommendations and advice specific to that area. In addition, a planner can help you to overcome any potential language barriers.

Get Wedding Insurance

We don’t like to think of the worst case scenario, but it is always better to be safe than sorry, especially when it comes to anything travel related. There is personal insurance, travel insurance, but you should invest in wedding insurance. This can protect against unique dismays such as problems with wedding photographs, attire or wedding documents.

Research Group Bookings

Everyone loves to save money somewhere especially for such a grand expense like a wedding. Since you have a wedding party, find out about group bookings for various details. You can save money with cheap flights, hotel stays and even wedding activities. The bride and groom will be happy and so will your guests with savings on such a costly affair that will hopefully be the most wonderful day of your life.

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Visit in Advance

Do not pick a destination for one of the most meaningful days of your life sight unseen. Ideally, you will visit the site at least twice prior to the nuptials. You should visit once when you are scoping out potential locations and then again a few months before the wedding to nail down all of the details. You do not want to count on promotional brochures and glossy website photos to make all of these important decisions. Getting on some cheap international flights for in-person visits will also give you the opportunity to meet with vendors in person to make sure that you connect on a personal level.

Make Sure It’s Legal

It is important to understand that marriage laws vary widely between countries. Before you get your heart set on a particular destination, it is vital that you ensure that it is legal to tie the knot if you are not a citizen.

Some countries will require that you take up residency for a set amount of time before entering into a marriage. There are also specific laws for same-sex marriage in many areas. Your local embassy will be a good source of information as you ensure the legality of the marriage. If you are not able to marry legally in the country of your choice, you can always do so back home and simply hold a ceremonial wedding at your destination.

Do Not Overdo the Decor

One of the best parts about choosing a destination wedding is that it is usually in a place brimming with natural beauty. Because of this, you can easily get away with backing off of the traditional wedding decor. Why waste a lot of money on flowers and other decorations when you can lean into the natural beauty of the beach to provide the backdrop for your ceremony? You do not want your decorations to overshadow the inherent beauty of your site. Many popular destination wedding sites will also provide all-inclusive packages that make it easy to decide on your decor.

Pick the Right Time of Year

Next to the destination of your choice, the date that you choose will have the biggest impact on the success of your wedding. When looking at the calendar, consider factors such as the location’s prime tourist season, climate, and convenience for your guests. For example, if you plan to have children at your destination wedding, you may want to schedule it over summer vacation since they will need to travel a great distance. Be sure to also check the local events calendar for festivals, events, and holidays that may hamper your wedding vendor availability.

Factor in the Weather

When choosing your date, be sure to put a strong consideration on the potential weather conditions. If you know that there is even a small chance of encountering inclement weather, it is important that you factor this into the equation. The last thing that you want to do is to travel all the way to your wedding only to have the shine rubbed off because you did not adequately prepare for the elements. Your wedding planner will be able to provide recommendations on how you can guard against inclement weather negatively affecting your special moment.

Have you planned a wedding abroad and have more tips to add to this list? Leave them in the comments section below!

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