Pros and Cons of Getting Married Abroad: What to Consider

6 Jun 2024·0 min read

In today’s world, many couples are choosing to get married in other countries. Every year, 71,000 Brits celebrate their weddings outside the UK. They’re drawn by the beautiful weather, amazing locations, and great wedding spots. However, there are things to think about with an international marriage or cross-border wedding, as noted by the second source*

Celebrating your love in a tropical paradise or a European cultural hub sounds like a dream to some. A destination wedding can be very appealing. It allows for a unique celebration, cost savings, and choosing a beautiful setting. But, it also involves thinking about guest travel, planning from afar, and dealing with different laws and cultures.

Key Takeaways

  • Destination weddings offer the allure of stunning backdrops, favorable weather, and potential cost savings.
  • Limited guest attendance and logistical challenges can be drawbacks of getting married abroad.
  • Understanding local laws, regulations, and cultural norms is crucial for a successful destination wedding.
  • Efficient travel planning and preparation are essential to navigate the complexities of an overseas celebration.
  • Weighing the pros and cons is crucial in determining if a destination wedding is the right choice for your unique circumstances.

Introduction: The Appeal of Destination Weddings

More and more Brits are choosing to get married abroad. About 71,000 tie the knot in places like tropical beaches or European wine regions each year. They seek a unique and unforgettable way to say “I do.”

Exploring the Trend of Getting Married Abroad

Destination weddings offer an intimate celebration with loved ones. They combine the wedding and honeymoon into one grand journey. Popular spots like Mauritius, Greece, and Slovenia are chosen for their adventurous charm.

This trend lets couples add a touch of exclusivity to their special day. It offers a memorable way to start their life together in beautiful locations.

Setting the Scene: Stunning Locations and Unique Experiences

Destination weddings take place in stunning settings. Imagine getting married on a Caribbean beach or by the Mediterranean.

From calm vineyards to bustling cities, the options are endless. Couples can create their dream wedding with these unique locations for a truly special experience.

Sunshine and Favorable Weather

Getting married abroad offers a big plus – you’re more likely to see reliable sunshine. This is quite unlike the UK, where the weather is known for its surprises. When you tie the knot in places like Greece or Italy, you might get that bright, sunny day. These spots have less rainy days during the best wedding times than the UK does.

Many places for international weddings promise favorable weather and a reliable climate. This can attract couples looking for a perfect, sunny wedding location. Instead of fretting over possible gray skies in the UK, lovebirds can dream of a sun-filled wedding day.

Month Weather Conditions
January Not the most popular month for weddings due to the potential for unfavorable weather that may not be suitable for outdoor functions.
February A romantic month, with Valentine’s Day, that could influence couples to choose it for their weddings.
March A good month for weddings due to the new beginnings associated with spring, indicating an ideal theme for wedding celebrations.
April A low-cost month for weddings with the benefits of spring weather, making it an attractive option for cost-conscious couples.
May A stunning month for spring weddings with a higher likelihood of dry and warm weather, suitable for outdoor celebrations.
June A warm and beautiful month for weddings, suggesting a comfortable temperature level for wedding ceremonies and receptions.
July A popular month for weddings due to being the start of the summer season, allowing for outdoor wedding celebrations with a summer vibe.
August A continuation of summer weddings with great weather and a traditional summer wedding atmosphere for couples considering this month.
September Highlighted for its autumn scenery and beautiful lighting for wedding photos, providing a unique backdrop for memorable wedding albums.
October An excellent month for themed weddings, particularly Halloween-themed, providing a distinctive wedding experience for couples.
November A month for fireworks and sparklers, creating a cozy atmosphere suitable for themed weddings and autumnal color schemes.
December A festive month for weddings, offering a celebratory backdrop with the possibility of a Christmas-themed wedding or New Year’s Eve celebration.

The appeal of a destination wedding is more than just the weather. It’s about choosing a beautiful, unique location, which might be tricky in the UK. The chance of favorable weather and a reliable climate is a big reason people choose to wed abroad. It gives the couple a shot at a sun-kissed ceremony.

Breathtaking Venues and Landscapes

Choosing to wed abroad opens up more choices for scenic wedding venues. Think about marrying on a Caribbean beach with white sands, or in Italy with its stunning views. These places make for truly special destination wedding venues.

From Beaches to Vineyards: A World of Possibilities

One great thing about having your wedding in a different country is the unique settings. Imagine celebrating on a sunny beach or among beautiful vineyards. These scenic locations add a touch of magic to your big day that you might not find at home.

Unforgettable Backdrops for Your Special Day

If you want your wedding to be extraordinary, a destination wedding is perfect. You could get married with Santorini’s cliff views behind you or in Thailand’s lush greenery. There are endless wedding venues and scenic locations that will make your wedding day unforgettable.

scenic wedding venues

Cost Savings and Affordability

Marrying abroad can save you money. A study by The Knot showed the average couple spent $28,000 on their wedding in 2021. This cost is lower than you think.

Meanwhile, in 2020, due to the pandemic, the cost dropped to $19,000. This shows getting married abroad can help you spend less.

Stretching Your Wedding Budget Further

Destination weddings are popular but can be pricey. On average, they cost $32,700. This amount includes all costs, like the engagement ring.

In some parts of Europe, however, wedding costs are lower. This means you get more for your money. So, couples can save and enjoy a beautiful wedding.

Combining Wedding and Honeymoon Expenses

One great thing about a destination wedding is combining it with your honeymoon. You can have your wedding and start your honeymoon in one place.

This can save you money on travel. Plus, it makes the whole experience more memorable and enjoyable.

Intimate and Exclusive Celebrations

Intimate weddings abroad let you make a guest list of close friends and family. These weddings usually have 50 to 75 guests, not the 100 to 150 at typical local weddings. That means fewer awkward invitations and obligations you might face back home.

Choosing an exclusive celebration means sharing your day only with those who matter most. This makes the atmosphere personal and authentic. Also, it keeps the wedding costs lower, saving up to 30% in some European countries. This is because of better package deals and vendor prices for small weddings.

Yet, fewer guests also bring some challenges. About 20% might not be able to come due to travel or budget issues. This could change your plans and how many people attend your ceremony. Couples planning an intimate celebration should consider this. Not everyone you’d like to be there may be able to join you abroad.

Logistical Ease and Professional Planning

Getting married abroad offers help from experts. Overseas venues and providers offer top-notch planning. They have on-site coordinators. These pros handle many details, which makes life easier for the couple. They also offer ready-to-go wedding packages to make everything smoother. This means couples can dive into creating their dream destination wedding.

Relying on Experienced Local Coordinators

Working with a local wedding planner at the destination is a smart move. They know the ins and outs of the place, which is super helpful. Plus, they speak the language and understand the culture well. This really helps in avoiding missteps and ensures a smooth destination wedding planning journey.

Pre-designed Wedding Packages for Seamless Planning

Choosing a venue that offers wedding planning packages can save a lot of time and stress. These packages include everything from venue to the flower arrangements. With these pre-designed packages, couples can have their perfect destination wedding. They won’t have to worry about every small detail.

pros and cons of getting married abroad

Thinking about a wedding in a far-off place? It’s key to look at the good sides and the not-so-good sides. One guide talks about how great it is to have beautiful weather, amazing settings, save money, and have a small, personal event. But, it warns that not everyone might be able to come, and there will be lots of papers and steps to plan from far away.

Evaluating the Pros and Cons for Your Situation

Another guide also points out the good and bad of wedding far from home. It says you’ll spend less and have a one-of-a-kind experience, but not all your loved ones can make it. A third one shows someone thinking through if a destination wedding is worth it. They decided that for them, the troubles were more than the joys.

Balancing Advantages and Potential Drawbacks

Thinking about a destination wedding? It’s important to really look at the good sides and not-so-good sides. How do you balance all the fun and the tough parts? By carefully evaluating the options, you can find what works best.

pros and cons of destination weddings

Limited Guest Attendance

A destination wedding can limit who can attend. It’s not easy for everyone to travel abroad for a wedding. This is especially true for those with job commitments, health issues, or who might find it too expensive. Studies show that some people think these types of weddings are selfish because they’re hard for guests to get to.

Considering Travel Constraints for Family and Friends

Reaching a wedding far away can be tough for guests. Last year, American couples spent more on destination weddings than before. They averaged about $35,600 for such weddings. In comparison, a wedding close to home cost about $29,000. The higher expense might make it hard for some guests to join, affecting who can come.

Health and Financial Factors Impacting Attendance

It’s not just about the money; health can also be a factor. Older guests or those with trouble moving might not be able to attend. And balancing work or finding childcare can be challenging. The market for destination weddings has grown, showing they’re still popular despite these obstacles.

Before choosing a destination wedding, couples need to think about these challenges. The beauty of the location and the personal touches are great, but so is having family and friends there. It’s important to consider how travel, money, and health issues might affect loved ones being able to attend. This thoughtfulness can help plan a wedding day that matters to everyone.

Long-Distance Planning Challenges

Exchanging vows in an overseas setting sounds amazing. However, planning a wedding from afar has its hurdles. The language barriers might lead to misunderstandings, making details hard to sort out. Plus, not seeing venues in person can be a hassle.

Language Barriers and Communication Difficulties

Planning a destination wedding adds an extra layer of complexity. Language barriers and communication challenges could be roadblocks. Extra care and lots of patience are necessary to make sure everything goes smoothly.

Reliance on Virtual Tools and Remote Coordination

Lacking local support means leaning heavily on virtual planning tools. This includes online venue tours and digital signings. While this approach is easier today, some prefer the old-school, face-to-face way. They want their day to truly reflect their tastes.

Statistic Value
Couples who chose a destination wedding in 2021 19%
Average cost of a destination wedding $32,700 ($38,700 with engagement ring)
Average cost of a traditional wedding in 2021 $28,000 ($34,000 with engagement ring)
Average cost of a traditional wedding in 2020 $19,000

Legal Requirements and Documentation

Getting married abroad has its challenges, especially with the legal requirements and documentation. Each country has its rules, which might need you to arrive early or pay extra. You need to be ready for this.

Understanding Local Marriage Laws and Regulations

If you’re thinking about a destination wedding, make sure you look into the local legal requirements. This often means getting certain paperwork and permits ready. You might need things like birth certificates, proofs of ending past marriages, and sometimes even medical tests.

It’s very important not to miss any steps. Otherwise, your marriage might not be considered legal. This could spoil your wedding plans.

Obtaining Necessary Paperwork and Permits

It can get easier with help from a local planner or the venue’s team. For example, U.S. citizens might need an Affidavit of Eligibility to Marry. They can get this from the U.S. embassy in the wedding country. And don’t forget, documents for certain places like Italy must be translated and get a special stamp to be valid internationally.

Country Legal Marriage Requirements
Italy Requires documents like U.S. passports, birth certificates, and proof of termination of prior marriages. Legal documents must be translated into Italian and carry an apostille stamp. A fee of €500 to €9,200 is required for renting a marriage hall for the civil ceremony.
Jamaica Requires certified copies of birth certificates with father’s name, photo identification, and proof of prior marriage termination.
Mexico Requires documents like valid passports, birth certificates, medical certificates showing HIV-negative status, and divorce or death certificates for prior spouses. Couples are advised to arrive at least three days before the ceremony to complete necessary procedures.

Navigating through the legal requirements for a wedding outside your home country is very important. Knowing your chosen place’s marriage laws and regulations is key. Working with local experts can make things go smoothly and ensure your marriage is legally valid.

Travel and Shipping Costs

Many don’t consider how much a destination wedding can cost for shipping wedding attire and decor. It’s not cheap to get your wedding dress, party favors, and artists overseas. The cost can even go up because of the weak pound.

Factoring in Transportation Expenses for Guests

It’s not just about the couple’s travel costs. Think about the money their guests have to spend too. One family found out it could cost over £20,000 to get everyone to an overseas wedding. This financial factor really shaped their decision.

Coordinating Shipping for Wedding Attire and Decor

Couples with a destination wedding need to plan how to get their shipping of wedding attire and decor right. Making sure everything gets there on time and safely is crucial but tough. The cost of shipping these things is often a surprise in planning.

Cost Consideration Impact on Destination Weddings
Travel Costs Increased expenses for the couple and guests due to airfare, accommodation, and transportation
Shipping Expenses Added costs for transporting wedding attire, decor, and other essential items to the overseas location
Guest Transportation Potential financial burden on guests, leading to limited attendance due to travel constraints
Wedding Attire and Decor Coordination and logistics required to ensure these items are delivered safely and on time

Cultural Differences and Expectations

The idea of a destination wedding is exciting, but there are things to think about. Cultural differences and local traditions can be challenging. They are vital to create a wedding day that meets the local community’s values.

Respecting Local Traditions and Customs

Destination weddings are often in places with deep cultural roots. It’s key for couples to understand these traditions and find ways to include them in their wedding. This includes knowing about local wedding customs and making sure to show them respect.

Adapting to Different Cultural Norms

Marriage brings together people from different cultures. This can affect many parts of life, like roles in the family or how to raise children. Understanding each other’s cultures and being willing to change is crucial. It helps build a strong and happy life together.

Choosing a destination wedding is all about balance. The setting and beauty are important, but so is understanding cultural differences and showing respect to local traditions. By being open to learning and adjusting, couples can have a wedding and a life together that celebrates both their love and their cultural mix.

Popular Destination Wedding Locations

Tropical Paradises and Beach Resorts

Couples looking for stunning backdrops choose destinations with beaches and tropical landscapes for their weddings. Places such as Cancun in Mexico, Nicosia in Cyprus, and the beautiful Mauritius Island are top picks. They let couples say their vows in front of swaying palms, blue waters, and golden sands. These places offer more than beautiful scenes. They also guarantee nice weather, unlike the UK’s unpredictable conditions.

European Gems: Italy, Greece, and Beyond

While beaches are great, others prefer the history and culture of Europe for their weddings. Cities like Portofino in Italy, Athens in Greece, and peaceful Slovenia have much to offer. They have stunning architecture, great food, and mix old charm with modern style. These places make weddings not just beautiful but culturally rich for all guests.

Destination Average Rainfall in July Average Wedding Cost
Portofino, Italy 1-2 days £14,200
Athens, Greece 1-2 days £14,200
UK 10 days £30,355

Couples have many choices from tropical to European destinations or beach resorts. By looking into their options, they can have a wedding that truly shows who they are. It’s all about finding the dream spot for a special day.


Getting married abroad needs thought. You have to think about the good and bad. Destination weddings can offer stunning places, lower costs, and close-knit celebrations.

Yet, they can be hard for guests to attend. Planning from afar, dealing with the law, and more costs are real challenges. Couples should think about what matters most and if their families can make it.

No matter where you tie the knot, it’s key to make it all about you. consider who can come, the legal stuff, and how to make it yours. With thoughtful choices, your big day can match your dreams without breaking the bank.

Deciding to marry far from home is a big decision, one that needs careful thought. With the right help and focusing on what’s important, you can make your wedding day special. It will not just be about you but also your guests, creating lasting memories.


What are the pros and cons of getting married abroad?

A destination wedding has its perks. You get to enjoy good weather and stunning venues. There might be cost savings too. And, it’s a more intimate affair. But, there are drawbacks. Not everyone you know can make it. Planning from afar can be tough. Legal hoops and extra costs might also pop up.

What are some popular destination wedding locations?

For 2022, dreamy spots like Portofino, Italy and Athens, Greece are hot choices. You also can’t go wrong with Portland, USA, Nicosia, Cyprus, or Cancun, Mexico. These places offer beautiful scenes and a mix of city and beach vibes for your special day.

How can getting married abroad save money compared to a traditional UK wedding?

Having your wedding overseas can cut costs big time. The average UK wedding hits £30,355 but a destination wedding might only cost £14,200. Plus, you could save on a honeymoon by blending both events. This is a great way to get the most out of your budget.

What are the potential challenges of long-distance wedding planning?

The distance can create hurdles in planning. Things might get lost in translation, especially with different languages. Seeing the venue or meeting suppliers can also be hard. These are key challenges of planning from miles away.

How can cultural differences and expectations impact a destination wedding?

Getting wed abroad means dealing with local customs. They may differ from what you’re used to. Understanding and respecting these differences is crucial. It affects how your wedding is planned and enjoyed by all involved.

What are the legal requirements for getting married abroad?

Each country has specific rules for weddings. You might need to arrive early or pay extra fees. A good wedding planner or venue coordinator can help sort out these details. They make dealing with paperwork a lot smoother.

How can the guest list be impacted by a destination wedding?

Away weddings taper down the guest list naturally. This is because not everyone can travel far. It’s a good way to keep your wedding small and intimate. Plus, you likely won’t feel obliged to invite those distant relatives or friends you rarely see.