For some, crystal seas and sun-drenched beaches present the perfect backdrop for pledging their vows to the person they love. Others plan their perfect ‘I dos’ in a romantic city like Rome or Paris, with further still opting to escape to the countryside of Mediterranean countries for their nuptials. But with the prevalence of terrorist threats and attacks occurring in most places around the globe, the possibility is never far from our minds.
At the end of 2015, MarketWatch reported that terrorist attacks had cost the travel industry a staggering $8.2 billion. Naturally, when an attack occurs everything in the area gets disrupted, but of equal importance is our reaction to these attacks. In the wake of an attack, a bride and groom may rethink their decision to marry or honeymoon abroad, especially when the attack occurred in the country they were considering. So, should terrorism effect your wedding plans? The answer isn’t as straightforward as the question, unfortunately.
Destination Weddings are on the Decline
We polled our destination weddings providers last month to get their take on the current situation, and whilst most report not noticing a decrease in the number of weddings abroad they sold, nearly 27% did notice a decrease, even slightly. The countries where suppliers reported seeing a slight or definite decrease are: Turkey, Cyprus, Italy, Thailand and Malta.
The number of terrorist attacks around the world has quadrupled since the September 2011 attacks and 30 countries around the world are considered to have a ‘high’ threat for terrorist activity, as defined and determined by the Foreign Office. As a result, 69% of us report being more nervous when visiting a country with a ‘high’ terror threat. Consider this: three of the five countries where our suppliers report seeing a decrease in destination weddings are ranked with a ‘high’ terror threat.
The Bride Who Marries Abroad
It seems as though UK brides are resilient and determined to marry where they want to and when they want to. In fact, 26% of our wedding suppliers polled stated that terrorist attacks don’t seem to be a concern for the brides they work with, with only 10% stating they speak about the possibility of a terrorist threat or attack occurring. Even in the face of increased terrorist threats and attacks, our brides still book destination weddings for a host of reasons, the most popular being to ensure better weather on her wedding day. Are we really willing to risk our lives for the chance to have blue skies in the background of our wedding photos?
Life Must Go On
It depends on whom you ask, but a high percentage of experts agree that life must go on, especially where terrorism is concerned. Take another glance at the Foreign Office’s terror threat map. Where can you go at the moment, where a threat isn’t likely or imminent? In November last year, the US State Department released an unprecedented world wide travel alert, urging us to be vigilant and to exercise caution no matter where we are in the world.
What is the answer? Do we cower in fear, cancel our plans and resign ourselves to weddings putting up with the great British rain? Or do we journey abroad, determined to have the sun shining in our wedding photos?
Unfortunately, there isn’t one right answer. If the thought of having a wedding abroad in an area targeted by terrorists upsets you, you might be better off sticking close to home. If, however, you feel determined to marry when you want to, where you want to, terrorists be damned, then don’t allow anything to hold you back!
Protecting Yourself Whilst Abroad
If you do decide to go ahead with a wedding or honeymoon abroad, there are a few things you should do to protect yourself:
- Make yourself aware of the local threats – visit the government websites of the country you plan to travel to and be aware of any political demonstrations or events that could potentially generate unsavoury attention
- Plan ahead, do your research and make sure you vet any tourist company you travel with or any services you plan on using
- Make good, sound decisions but do not let your emotions cloud your judgement, the chances of you being caught up in a terrorist incident, though greater than it would have been 5 years ago, is still slim
- Discuss with your wedding planner or honeymoon coordinator about any insurance you could take out to protect you if a terrorist event occurs in the days leading up to your wedding or honeymoon. Also, ask what their refund policy is. Nearly 70% of our destination wedding suppliers stated they would be willing to refund a client if a terrorist attack occurred on or near their wedding day.
Refuse to be deterred from tying the knot or honeymooning abroad? Shop a few of our travel-themed essentials:
What are your thoughts on the subject? Have you had to change your wedding or honeymoon plans for fear of increased terrorist activity?