Villa Sao Paolo Portugal

Getting Married Abroad – Your Essential Checklist

Weddings abroad are wonderful. Think sea, sand and sparkles. Here is our handy overview of the whole process of getting married abroad to make sure you have everything covered.

Villa Sao Paolo Portugal


Image courtesy of Villa Sao Paolo, Portugal

As soon as possible

  • Think about where you would like to get married and investigate all the legalities.
  • Contact the relevant embassies to find out the exact requirements and necessary documentation.
  • Work out your budget including air fare, accommodation, fees etc.
  • If you are inviting guests, decide what you are going to pay for (and what they will need to pay for) and speak to them as soon as possible to gauge interest.
  • Once you have a rough idea of numbers, choose your perfect wedding package and make your booking.
  • If you’re planning your wedding well in advance, you may even decide to visit the hotel/area/venue beforehand to make sure that it’s what you’re looking for, and to meet any managers or wedding coordinators.
  • Make sure your passports are up to date. Some countries require that you have at least six months left on your passport before it expires.
  • Get together any documentation and make sure that you fulfill all the legal requirements on the necessary dates.
  • Consider taking out wedding insurance.
  • When the booking is made, ask the venue who your contact will be and establish email communication with your wedding organiser.
  • Start shopping for your wedding dress and organise fittings.
  • Consider what you’re going to do for your honeymoon. This will obviously involve organising flights and accommodation so it’s wise to plan as soon as possible.
  • Send out Save the Date cards or invitations as early as possible as some of your guests may want to arrange their summer holidays around your wedding. Giving your guests as much notice as possible will help them as they will need to organise flights, accommodation and days off from work.

Six months before

  • As responses start coming in from guests, make sure you help them as much as possible with accommodation and travel plans.

Four months before

  • Find out exactly what your wedding package includes and start planning what you would like to organise yourself. You could, for example, take your own cake.
  • Shop for all your accessories (shoes, tiara etc) and pick out some honeymoon clothes.

Two months before

  • Make sure you have all the documentation you need and check whether you should send any of it in advance of your wedding.
  • You should also have all necessary tickets.
  • If you need to take any medical certificates or have any vaccinations, visit your GP.
  • Speak to the airline and organise how everything is going to be transported.
  • Finalise total guest numbers with your venue.
  • If you want to have any beauty treatments at your destination, consider booking them as soon as possible to avoid disappointment.
  • Order your honeymoon accessories from Confetti.

One month before

  • Confirm everything in writing and make sure you have written quotes from all suppliers. Pack these in to a folder to take away with you.
  • Organise holiday insurance.

Two weeks before

  • Start shopping for toiletries and other holiday essentials.
  • Gradually begin the packing process, putting things to one side that need to go in the suitcase.

The week before

  • Finish packing.
  • Collect your dress and hang it up until it needs to be packed or put in a dress bag.
  • Collect your cake if you’re having it made in the UK.

The day before

  • Label all your luggage.
  • Confirm flights.

And last but not least, have an early night… a wonderful wedding and a long and happy marriage.

We have more great weddings abroad advice on in Planning.

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