This article was created in partnership with Western Union.
A lot of pressure surrounds weddings — the big Insta-worthy ceremony, the quirky reception where everything is handmade and the politics of invitations and seating arrangements. While a traditional wedding is ideal for some couples, others dream of ditching it all and look at international wedding destination locations.
The lure of a “destination wedding” is also a matter of cost — the average British wedding is estimated to cost £27,000 according to the Telegraph, while international locations average £6,585 or even cheaper. Here’s what to consider before booking your destination wedding, and a list of the most affordable locations for Brits.
Before choosing a location, do your research
International wedding destination locations are, by their nature, exotic, so you’ll need to do some research before booking. Check things like the weather (you don’t want to book a tropical wedding in monsoon season) and if any local festivals might impact services — a full moon in Sri Lanka is celebrated as a Poya Day, when no alcoholic drinks or meat can be served.
Be aware of local registration requirements, too. As long as you follow local laws, your marriage should be recognised in the U.K.
While some resorts offer free weddings as part of a package, you’ll need to keep the total cost in mind, including flights for you and your guests. Will you pay for your guests to attend, or expect them to pay for themselves? If it’s the latter, you’ll have to be even more cost-conscious or accept that some people won’t be able to make it. Because you’ll be dealing with overseas venues and suppliers, consider using a trusted money transfer service, such as the Western Union® app, to help complete your transactions.
Affordable international wedding destination locations
Package deals from a dedicated tour operator can make your destination wedding more affordable because they can organise special discounts. Off-peak and mid-week weddings can bring extra savings, too. To keep costs down, consider one of these more affordable locations.
The tiny Indian Ocean island was last year’s most popular international wedding destination location, according to tourism company Kuoni’s 2018 Worldwide Trends Report. It’s not too far away, and even a three-star hotel can offer something special. You just need to submit your paperwork to the Mauritius government one month prior, and you must stay in the country for one day before the wedding itself. It would be wise to organise the ceremony for the middle of your holiday.
Sri Lanka is also among the cheapest international wedding destination locations, according to a report by SN Travel and Virgin Atlantic. The country has great beaches and beautiful mountains, and couples looking for something unique could even book a private villa for the event. There are some paperwork requirements, though, so make sure you’ve researched the Sri Lanka High Commission site, and seek help from a registered agent.
While many looking for a European wedding think of France, that country is among the most expensive international wedding destination locations. But if you’re looking for green landscapes with undulating hills and valleys, incredible vineyards, great food and beautiful architecture, you can’t go wrong with Italy. Tuscany is a particular favourite for British couples. Just be mindful of tourist season and Italy’s infamous hot summers — it might be more suitable for a spring or autumn celebration.
Forget the cliches — Vegas can make for a great wedding whether you want something quick and quirky or super romantic. Outside of the drive-through chapels and Elvis impersonators, Las Vegas boasts grandeur from its high-end restaurants and opulent ballrooms to its poolside accommodations. Hundreds of hotels in the area offer wedding packages for every budget, and there will be plenty to keep guests entertained besides the wedding festivities.
Besides the gorgeous Mediterranean sun and romantic beaches, Cyprus is also known for its lively nightlife, making it a popular choice for the party couple. Sunshine is pretty much guaranteed no matter the season, and you can hold your ceremony in a hotel garden overlooking golden beaches. Cyprus was once a British colony, so if you’d like a religious ceremony abroad, there are plenty of Anglican churches to choose from, too. You might need to pay extra to get an expedited marriage license and avoid the 15-day waiting period, according to the High Commission of Cyprus in the U.K.
Some Caribbean all-inclusive resorts offer a complimentary wedding package if you’re hosting a certain number of guests or stay a certain number of nights. Add that to the lure of miles and miles of some of the world’s best beaches, warm waters and year-round great weather, and it’s easy to see why the Caribbean is one of the top wedding destinations. Remember, though, that each island has different laws and customs, so be sure to do everything by the book.
An international wedding can be an affordable way to say your vows in an unforgettable locale. Do your research ahead of time to ensure your wedding planning goes smoothly and stays stress-free.