Destination love?

 In Advice

Afternoon my dears!! Are you having a good ole’ day… I do hope so!! Today, I’ve been zipping across London preparing for THE BIG MOVE… Yup after 15 crazy, happy years of living north of the river I am {with a gentle twist of the arm} gearing up to move South {to the borders of Kent to be precise!}. I must admit I’m slightly apprehensive about this imminent move. North and South Londoners you see are a very different kettle of fish! Both parties are staunchly pro~whatever side of the river they happen to live on and will swear blind that their side is the best side of London to live. A fair few of Chris’ friends and family already live over that way though and they are chuffed to bits we’re moving over too! So onwards and upwards for the hubs and I ~ exciting times and a brand new era lay ahead!!

Now, onto today and I have a fab little post offering up well needed advice on getting married abroad! I think every bride reaches that fantasy point organising her wedding where she thinks… arrrrgghh, let’s just run off and elope, especially when family members or friends {bless} are being a pain in the bum! But how realistic and achievable is planning a wedding abroad and where to go?

{Image Credits ~ Best Weddings Away}Getting Married Abroad

Why get married abroad?

More and more weddings are now taking place abroad, latest figures show one in five weddings are now taking place abroad (according to Mintel Feb 2011), with the average cost of getting married overseas standing at £6,585. At less than a third of the cost of a UK wedding it is no wonder in the current climate why it is becoming an attractive option for brides on a budget.

Once you’ve decided to get married abroad, the first big question is ‘where?’ which is followed quickly by ‘how difficult will it be to arrange it?’. The world is your oyster and with the power of the internet at your fingertips the choice and information available to you can be somewhat overwhelming. With the help of Bestweddingaway we are going to focus on 2 destinations: Italy & Greece before looking at their top tips on organizing
a wedding abroad.

Where? – Italy

Italy stands in the top 5 for overseas wedding locations, thanks to its short-haul flight, incredible food and sunny climate. Additionally, Italy offers couples a wide choice in where they can get married – from the culture of the cities to the splendour of the mountains, from the stunning cliff sides to the breathtaking Lakes.

Lake Maggiore and the Italian lakes:

When most people think of the Italian lakes they think of Lake Como and George Clooney! Lake Como is beautiful but there are other Lakes in this area which should not be overlooked for a destination wedding location as they have so much to offer. Lake Maggiore has some of the most breath-taking palatial lakeside villas which are ideal for a wedding reception and it is not as commercial as Lake Como, so the prices for venue hire are generally much better value for money.


Ravello and the Amalfi Coast

When considering a coastal wedding in Italy many people look to get married in Sorrento with its stunning cliff side venues. However if you’re looking for a location not far from Sorrento, which is a bit less commercial and in our humble opinion a little more exclusive then the Amalfi Coast is the destination for you. Ravello in particular is a stunning village situated on the Amalfi Coast, in fact it is so exclusive that it has been chosen by Hollywood A-listers for their weddings, including Beverly Mitchell whose bridesmaid Jessica Biel also brought along her beau Justin Timberlake. Naomi Campbell and Leonardo DiCaprio also holiday here as even though it is still a tourist area it is a little off the beaten track and is not as busy as Sorrento.



If you are looking for stunning countryside with rolling hills and plenty of vineyards then Tuscany is the destination for you! This coupled with the warm Tuscan sun and stunning architecture offers couples a magical feel to their dream day. The area has also become very popular with the couples after featuring in the hit Twilight films. For wedding venues we all know that Tuscany has plenty of rustic farmhouses to offer but
if you are looking for something a little different and more romantic than how about holding your wedding in an elegant Tuscan Villa or perhaps in a Castle!


Where? – Greece

When many couples think of destination weddings they often think of having a beach wedding with the golden sand and clear blue water lapping at their feet.  Due to the many islands Greece offers and the ease of accessibility provided by many holiday companies you will most certainly find a stunning location for your dream beach wedding which is away from the crowds.


The island of Santorini has an abundance of luxury hotels and private beaches making it an ideal location for weddings. Here the unspoilt villages with their white wash buildings, pretty village squares and narrow cobbled streets love to welcome couples from far and wide for their wedding.  For those couples who are feeling inspired by the hit film Mamma Mia, why not go for a wedding with a true Greek feel complete with traditional Greek food and dancing!

Beach Santorini Wedding Beach Santorini Wedding

How difficult is it to arrange a wedding abroad? – Here are our top tips

Wedding Planners – We would recommend getting some help from a wedding planner based in the country where you plan to get married as they will be able to advise you on everything from wedding logistics to local bureaucracy. They also will know the area and ask you the right questions to ensure you have the day of your dreams in the most amazing location to your budget. A reputable wedding planning company will be registered with that country’s Chamber of Commerce. Also it is advisable to check that the wedding planner uses contracts, as contracts protect your rights and ensure that all wedding services are delivered as agreed and in a professional way.  Local wedding planners have the knowledge and experience required to make your day run smoothly and will also be there to ensure your guests don’t pass out from heat exhaustion or get lost trying to find the venue!

Wedding Venue Bookings  – We would advise that bookings should be made between 10 months to a year before the wedding date in order to get the date and times that you want. Most venues in Italy & Greece don’t give out prices or allow bookings more than 14 to 18 months in advance, which means that it’s extremely likely that the price will change between now and your wedding date. Also as Italy in particular is a popular wedding destination many venues and town halls can get fully booked up to 10 months before. 

Location, Location, Location – Once you have decided on a country you then need
to decide on which area of the country you would like to get married – look into factors such as the geography, temperature, infrastructure – hotels, airports etc.  It’s important to bear in mind the temperature for the month you would like to get married.  July is a fantastic month for relaxing and topping up your tan but temperatures can soar into the late 30s – which makes it quite uncomfortable to be in a traditional wedding dress or morning suit with the sun beating down! Accessibility to the venue is also important
as public transport may not be available. Also try to get away from the well-known destinations and you will find there is so much still to offer and probably at very reasonable prices. You will not be compromising on your wedding just finding somewhere unique in Italy or Greece.

Bureaucracy – Don’t underestimate the amount of bureaucracy that is involved with weddings especially overseas! If you have a wedding in Italy remember they love paperwork so if you’re looking at a last minute wedding you need to be aware that with all the paperwork requirements you need at least 4 months before the wedding date to do everything. Also it is important to be aware of unusual laws such as the 300 day waiting period for divorced women in Italy, the paperwork requirements for the local British Consulate and the paperwork requirements of the local town hall. The majority
of churches in Italy are Catholic and in order to marry in a church you both must be confirmed and practicing Catholics. For a civil wedding it is possible to get married in
a venue which is managed or owned by the town hall, this list of venues often includes spectacular buildings, castles, palaces, lakeside villas and terraces overlooking the sea.

Costs – If you’re using a wedding planner make sure they are willing to show you a full breakdown of the costs. Unless you get this transparency it is very difficult to compare overall wedding package prices. Check what the package includes? Such as reception, photographer, hairdresser, DJ etc. By getting the breakdown of each item you can see where you are getting value for money. Unfortunately it’s not that easy to compare prices as many services differ and the overseas wedding market is slightly different to the UK. Some things can be more expensive, for example you can probably get your hair done at a salon in the UK for approximately £50, whereas in Italy the same service can be Euro 150. However some things can be cheaper overseas, for example top quality food and wine. Always be aware of your wedding budget – as it can easily spin out of control. If you are using a wedding planner make sure they assist you with this from day one to avoid any problems down the line. Remember that even though it is your big day you may have to be ready to make compromises and be flexible if your budget does not allow it.

Guests – Even though it is your big day remember to think of your guests. It’s important to ensure your loved ones can make it to the wedding easily and have an enjoyable time. Try to pick locations that are accessible by several airlines as well as having good transport links and available accommodation. Try to avoid venues with lots of steps if your guests have problems walking – e.g. Cliffside venues on the Amalfi Coast. Likewise if you have lots of young children in your group then how about a venue with a pool or holding your wedding near to local attractions so that the children are kept happy. A really useful tool we offer our couples is a personalized ‘wedsite’ where all the information about the wedding itself along with flight details, distance from the airport, local accommodation, local attractions etc. are uploaded to help their guests with all that they need to know about the wedding.

So what’s it gonna be? Would you consider marrying abroad if you could save tons of cash? Or would the wrench from your family and friends be too much to bare?

Lots of Love

XxX Sonia

and remember… keep wanting!!

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