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First Published: 25th June 2015

‘I do’ Abroad – tips for planning a destination wedding

Say ‘I-do’ with the sun on your face and the sand between your toes with our top tips for planning a destination wedding.


Destination-wedding-on-beach

Say ‘I-do’ with the sun on your face and the sand between your toes with our top tips for planning a destination wedding.

Destination weddings are growing in number every year as Irish couples flee the expense of a wedding at home, in favour of a cheaper, and altogether sunnier, wedding abroad.

But it’s not as simple as buying a wedding dress and boarding a plane for your favourite hot spot. There are many additional aspects of the planning of your big day that you will need to take into consideration when the wedding venue is miles away from where you live.

Questions to ask when planning a wedding abroad

Some of the key questions you need to be considering are detailed below, but before planning you should contact the authorities of the country you wish to get married in for destination-specific advice.

  • Will you or your wedding guests require visas? How far in advance will these need to be obtained?
  • Will you or your guests need vaccinations or malaria pills? See your GP as soon as possible if you do, so that you can start getting these planned in, and ensure your guests are informed about what they need.
  • Do you need proof of residency for the country or do you have to stay there for a minimum period before/after marrying? In countries such as Malaysia, Fiji or the Cook Islands you need to have been in the country for at least three days before you can get married, whilst in Thailand you’ll need at least a week to sort out all of the legalities.
  • Is your religion likely to be accommodated for the wedding ceremony?
  • Do your dates clash with any public holidays in the destination? Try to avoid these as they are likely to be more expensive or difficult to arrange.
  • Are your passports valid for the full time you’ll be overseas?
  • Do the local authorities require any specific paperwork? Make sure you leave several months to prepare these and leave photocopies with someone at home in case anything happens to the originals.

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You’ll also need to check whether the local authorities require any specific paperwork. Make sure you leave several months to prepare these and leave photocopies with someone at home in case anything happens to the originals. You may need to send copies to the venue or resort several weeks in advance of your wedding date. Examples of documents you are likely to need are:

  • Original birth certificates
  • Deed polls if either of you has had a name change
  • Letters confirming your occupations and places of employment
  • A decree absolut if either of you has previously been divorce

Top planning tips

  •  You will definitely want to purchase travel insurance for your trip and check your wedding insurance to ensure it covers an overseas wedding ceremony.
  •  Don’t sign any contracts unless you have written quotes from wedding venues andwedding planners.
  •  Confirm all details – for the wedding, accommodation and honeymoon – before leaving home. Print out all necessary confirmations and keep them in a clearly sectioned file so that all details are easily accessible.
  • Allow plenty of time for your wedding applications to be processed and be aware that wedding certificates may need to be sent to you by post.