Getting Married Abroad – Choosing a Tour Operator

April 20, 2010. Written by

Whether you want to get married aboard a Kenyan dhow, on a scuba diving holiday in Florida or just a quickie in Vegas, a specialist tour operator will be able to organise your full wedding-abroad package.

Garden Venues Malta

Image courtesy of YPA Weddings in Malta

The most fuss-free way to organise a wedding abroad is to book with a tour operator specialising in arranging weddings. A wide variety of well-known tour operators now specialise in weddings, with dedicated wedding personnel who can answer all your queries and arrange every detail.

Looking at brochures

Have a browse through a variety of brochures to get inspiration and see what’s out there. While most companies have standard wedding packages, destinations on offer can vary between brochures, as can details such as the standards of hotels, the choice of hotel restaurants, and where you can have your ceremony. So be selective, and don’t be afraid to ask as many questions as you like.

Before you book

  • Decide on a budget before choosing a destination.
  • Decide what kind of destination you’re after – hot or cold, exotic or cultural?
  • Think about how far you want to travel, and the practicalities of long flights.
  • Bear in mind what time of year you want to get married – is it hurricane season, or should you expect rain?
  • Narrow down your choice to one particular tour operator and call up a sales consultant to discuss their brochure.
  • Check exactly what’s included in the wedding package and if you can alter certain aspects of it – you may decide to organise a different photographer or florist, or to take your own wedding cake.
  • Check where the ceremony will take place, and if the hotel restricts the number of weddings that take place each day.
  • Ask if the hotel has an in-house wedding co-ordinator.
  • Does the hotel have an email address for easy communication through different time zones? This will help save on expensive phone bills.
  • Find about what will happen if it rains. Can the date of your wedding be changed or is there an indoor venue?
  • Check that the legal side of things are properly covered, and what documentation you’ll need to take with you.
  • Get absolutely everything in writing.

When to book

Try to book a minimum of 12 weeks before departure to allow enough time for arrangements to be made and the necessary documentation completed. There will be more administration to be completed once you arrive at your destination, which can take up to three days, and you will also need to comply with any residency requirements.

DIY weddings abroad

It is possible to arrange your own wedding abroad, but this will involve researching legal requirements, residency rules and organising all the details from a distance. If you prefer to be in control, then your first step will be to contact the consulate or embassy of the country where you intend to marry for advice.
It’s wise to take out an insurance policy over and above your holiday insurance to cover every possible eventuality, from the loss of your dress to a hurricane preventing your wedding from taking place.

Stay healthy

Health services, hygiene and risk of disease vary throughout the world. You should take health advice as early as possible and ensure that vaccinations or preventative measures, such as malaria tablets, are taken in plenty of time to be fully effective by the date of travel (usually a month or more prior to departure). Pick up a copy of the Department of Health free leaflet  and apply for your EHIC (European Health Insurance Card) if applicable, available from post offices or your GP.

We have lots of great weddings abroad advice on Confetti!

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