A guide to planning a wedding overseas 5

The average cost of a wedding in 2013 is £21,939, according to research from industry magazine You & Your Wedding published in the Mail Online. The article states that back in 2003 a wedding cost £14,643 – that’s more than a £7000 leap in just ten years.

One way couples are cutting the rising cost of getting hitched is by opting to marry abroad. For some, marrying overseas is a great way to a reduce the guest list and save money. Moreover, overseas tour operators offer attractive packages for British brides and grooms looking to wed abroad. The BBC’s consumer advice programme Watchdog reports that these companies can put together a wedding for around £3000.

With these considerable savings, it’s easy to see why British couples opt for marrying abroad. However, there are some important items to consider:


Travelling abroad always requires certain pieces of documentation. Add a wedding into the mix, and this list grows beyond simply having a valid ten year passport. Here are some other items you may need:

  • Birth certificates
  • Adoption certificates, if applicable
  • For widowers, a death certificate and previous marriage certificate may be required
  • An affidavit signed by a solicitor stating there’s no legal objection to the marriage
  • Evidence of a valid divorce from a previous marriage, if applicable

There will be variations on what is required depending on the country you choose, so check with the relevant authorities beforehand.

Some countries also have residential and health requirements, while others allow you to wed after less than a week of arriving there. Check with the country’s embassy or consulate for exact details on what is legally required before you travel.


When it comes to funding an overseas wedding, the method you choose should be based on what’s best for you and your partner.

The You & Your Wedding survey cites over half of couples receive financial help from their parents to pay for their special day, with 31 per cent covering the wedding costs themselves. Whether you’re getting assistance from family members or paying for the entire wedding yourself, there are three main ways to pay for it: saving, borrowing personal loan or doing a combination of both. If you’re considering a loan you can find a helpful guide to personal loans



If you do opt to tie the knot abroad, it can be difficult to organise a wedding without any knowledge of the local language and customs. Hiring a local wedding planner can help you make sure you’re getting the best value for your money. Unless you know a lot about your destination of choice, a local wedding planner will be able to:

  • Negotiate with suppliers (florists, bands, caterers, etc.) for the best deals
  • Offer advice on affordable accommodation for your guests
  • Help arrange the legal requirements for your wedding

While not everyone spends the average of £21,939, weddings can be a source of financial strain. Fortunately, there are ways to cut the cost and, for some couples, travelling abroad to get married does just that. By researching your chosen destination thoroughly and seeking the advice of local experts, you can help ensure it’s the perfect day you’ve envisioned.

This article was written for the Sainsbury’s Bank Blog, Money Matters. Any opinions or views expressed herein are of the author and not of Sainsbury’s Bank. Any tips included should not be considered as advice and ought not to be used for any financial decisions. Sainsbury’s Bank does not accept any responsibility for opinions of external contributors or links to external websites in this post. All information was correct at time of post publication.

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