Wednesday 18 September 2019

10 things no one tells you about booking a destination wedding

Married couple on beach with friends
Married couple on beach with friends
Individualist: Caroline Morahan wears Kathy de Stafford
Serena Williams crashed a beach wedding
Picture: Instagram
Groom hugging and lifting bride

Sarah Kiely

Getting married abroad definitely has its advantages.

You’re pretty much guaranteed good weather for your special day, it’s a real chance to have an intimate wedding without any hurt feelings and you get to party for a few days with your nearest and dearest. With its perks can come the fear of the unknown too.

Language barriers, different laws, restrictions and time zones can all add extra pressure on an already stressful time. We spoke with one of Ireland's top destination wedding experts Rosie Meleady from The Wedding to get the lowdown on some need-to-know facts about booking your wedding abroad.

1. Know your legals.
Every country has different requirements for legal weddings. France for example, have residency requirements, so do your research before deciding on a destination. You might not be able to create everything as you had imagined.


2. The timing may be different.
We are used to 2pm or 3pm weddings in Ireland.  Often wedding ceremonies take place later at 5 or 6pm as earlier in a hot climate would be torture for guests! Bear this in mind for couples attending with young children or older relatives.

3. Supply guests with hand fans for the ceremony - they are always appreciated.

4. Don't have the groom and groomsmen dressed in three piece suites and ties if you don't want them to collapse of heat exhaustion.

5. Catholic churches abroad tend to be stricter about dress codes.

Individualist: Caroline Morahan wears Kathy de Stafford

Often shoulders are required to be covered and nothing to revealing - this goes for the bride, bridesmaids, guests and groom too!! I have heard of priests stopping bridesmaids and guests entering a church until they cover up. A light shawl or long veil can do the trick in most cases and prevent any embarrassment or awkward moments mid-wedding march.


6. Check music curfew times at your venue.
Sometimes in residential or popular areas, there is a curfew of midnight for music to finish outside. Irish weddings typically go to the wee hours, so if you want a late finish you might need to pay extra or consider somewhere more rural.


7. Beach weddings sound heavenly, but consider shade and guests with young children in buggies or disabled guests when planning as wheels and sand don't go well.

Picture: Instagram

Be sure to have lots of water on hand for guests, sun, drinks and wedding attire can lead to dehydration.


8. Speaking of beach weddings...

Serena Williams crashed a beach wedding

Only book private beaches - nothing worse than seeing a speedo clad beer belly, someone drowning or a beach ball game in the background of photos and wedding videos!


9. Consider airport distances and flights.
Avoid places that require a connection flight and then a long car journey. Try to get your guests to book similar timed flights and supply a private coach to pick them up and drive them to their hotel so that they feel relaxed from the time they arrive.


10. If you are doing a destination wedding, book a wedding planner that knows the area.
Finding a venue online and booking it is easy. However, it's the thousand other things that need to be done that will give you grey hair! Wedding planners know the venues and know the reliable service providers who fit the requirements of a destination wedding.

Rosie has planned over 200 weddings in 20 countries and specialises in weddings in Ireland and Italy.

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