AIBU to get married in the country where DP and I live?

(51 Posts)
Boleh Wed 11-Jun-14 06:48:15

OK - sorry, another wedding thread!

So DP and I are both from the UK (families several hundred miles apart though) and have been living in Asia for just over a year now, we expect to be here at least another 3 years.

We have recently got engaged and I've started thinking about wedding plans. It would be significantly easier for me to have the wedding where we live and avoid having to return to the UK at least once and probably multiple times to check out venues, food, florists etc. using a lot of money and annual leave each time and probably getting regular middle of the night phonecalls. Also trying to please both families and geographically spread friends with the location.

On the other hand with a few exceptions in the US most of the guests would have to travel from the UK. The flight alone is a day in each direction so it's a serious time commitment and it's expensive. The wedding where we live would cost a lot less in the UK so we could contribute to costs for some folks with the difference but certainly couldn't cover the whole cost for everyone.

I know some people will leap at the excuse for an awesome holiday and make it part of a bigger trip but equally I think it rules out a few people. I know it rules out my only GP but she would be unable to go anywhere more than 1/2 an hour or so from home anyway or want to stay for long, so if we plan it around her attending we have very limited options anyway.

To further complicate things although having it here would be simpler it certainly won't be easy, 2 months or so of paperwork including a visit in person to various offices in the capital, you can't just search online for a florist or photographer, will all be word of mouth etc. to help with this my DP is keen to find a wedding planner - personally I can't think of anything worse than having someone else take over my wedding! If I do this I feel like I might as well just find a UK venue and ask them to sort it all. That said I don't want to spend the day running around trying to fix stuff and the bridesmaids will have just flown in so have no chance of helping!

So, I'm appealing to the folks of MN - on balance I'd rather have it where we live than in the UK but is this grabby and unreasonable when we can't pay for everyone we'd like to come and some folks won't be able to come at all?

Also AIBU to react so negatively to the idea of a wedding planner...?!

Euphemia Wed 11-Jun-14 06:54:56

Small legal ceremony where you are, honeymoon in the UK with a big party for friends and family?

Oriunda Wed 11-Jun-14 07:06:35

Depends what's more important to you - having all/most of your friends and loved ones with you in the uk or having an easy wedding in Asia but with just a select few who have the money/time/freedom to make the trip. If you marry out of school holidays you can discount any friends with children making the trip, and tbh a lot of people with young children won't make it either. During school holidays presumably the fare will be more expensive?

We had an 'overseas' wedding in that DH is Italian so his family and friends came to the UK. Not everyone came, only his closest friends and apart from immediate family, only two sets of aunties/uncles with their older children. The majority of his family just don't/won't travel. That said, we held a second wedding reception in Italy and perhaps you could have a smaller wedding in Asia and then arrange a blessing or reception back in the uk?

If you do hold the wedding in Asia, I think you need to make things as easy as possible for the guests who are making the effort. We arranged - and paid for - airport transfers to/from, hotels (paid 2 nights' a com, any extra days at guests' expense), pre-wedding day meals, and also organised a guided tour for the overseas guests. In their rooms was a welcome pack with maps and tourist information. You need to block book rooms ideally in same hotel or give options. Give loads of notice. Think about how your guests will travel from church/town hall etc to venue and back to hotel. A wedding planner would be of help here. I organised it all myself (but am good at it) and on the wedding morning was giving advice on where to buy aspirin/getting someone's aircon turned down/searching for MIL's lost handbag/sourcing a jacket for a cold priest.

I would also be careful about offering to pay for some people's airfares and not for others. People talk and I think guests could get upset if treated unfairly. Better to pay for a nights' accom for everyone?

TestingTestingWonTooFree Wed 11-Jun-14 07:11:59

Overall wouldn't the cost be less in having a wedding in the UK close to where friends/family live? It's cheaper to have it local to you because you can shift the cost of attending on to guests. The problem with an Asia wedding and uk party is you still have to do planning and organising from afar.

I agree with a pp, you need to prioritise either people attending or low hassle/cost.

TraceyTrickster Wed 11-Jun-14 07:23:23

we were living in Australia, but got married in UK as most family and friends were there. Internet was not as extensive as it is now, but I did all of my bookings on the internet. Turned up 2 days before the wedding and saw the venue for real, for the first time. it was fine.

DH had to fly before me to be 'resident' in UK and meet the residency requirements, but it was a stress free way to get married.
Well apart from the venue (Hilton) who called us at 3am our time to discuss menus!

HippyPottyMouth Wed 11-Jun-14 07:32:22

Would the most important people make it over - parents, siblings, best friends?

Sirzy Wed 11-Jun-14 07:37:38

Get married where you like, but you and your partner needs to decide which is more important where you have the wedding or who is able to attend the wedding?

eurochick Wed 11-Jun-14 07:43:31

To me the most important thing was having my friends and family there to celebrate with me. So I would go for the uk. Do you have a trusted sibling or parent who can view venues for you and talk to suppliers and pass on info so you can make decisions remotely?

Gennz Wed 11-Jun-14 07:57:35

If you're not a bridezilla it's easy to organise a wedding overseas. We were living in the UK, as were many of our friends, but got married in NZ where we are from. I don't think you would need to go home at all to check out venues etc. You can do everything by email, even more so now than when we got married. We were lucky that almost all of our UK based friends made the trip back as we timed the wedding to coincide with Christmas, summer hols etc. I would have been happy to have a London wedding but DH was against it.

I think it depends on your family's relative financial situations, age & stage of friends etc... we got married at a stage where friends were footloose and fancy free and happy to travel for weddings. Now, in our 30s with everyone pregnant or with small kids I think it would be more difficult. I didn't have extravagant expectations re venue etc but factoring in long haul flights meant we couldn't go crazy (which was fine by me).

Gennz Wed 11-Jun-14 08:02:52

One tip - don't have a huge bridal party (ideally don't have one!). I just had my sister as bridesmaid, DH had best mate as BM. Sister found a nice dress that she liked, sent me a link to it, I sent her the money - didn't actually see it until a day before the wedding! Matching dresses etc across continents would be a nightmare

Bambambini Wed 11-Jun-14 08:14:59

Depends on what's important - location or people. We wanted to get married away very much - family weren't keen. In the end we had the big traditional wedding in our home town so everyone could come. Not the wedding I wanted but it turned out lovely in the end and I might have regretted marrying away and not having some people there.

Our home town is also not where we live. We arranged it mostly by phone with just one trip. TBH, as it wasn't the wedding I wanted we just winged it and got friends and family to recommend and book things for us as I didn't really care.

Either way - it wasn't ideal but we went for family.

schokolade Wed 11-Jun-14 08:15:18

DH and I are from opposite ends of the world so I got married overseas from where I was living. One thing to bear in mind is transporting your wedding dress. Mine was small enough to take in hand luggage on the plane. Or you could have it sent to by our destination and arrive early enough to have alterations done if necessary.

Boleh Wed 11-Jun-14 09:32:57

We only have one possible guest with school age children and she probably wouldn't take them a night away from home even in the UK but I will speak to her and check. We'd be aiming for after the start of uni holidays (term dates already checked) and before the start of school holidays when prices go up.

Based on the cost of weddings I have heard in the UK then I think we'd be paying around 10-20% of the cost here at least for venues and food so that would leave a lot for flights and things.

We would of course arrange block bookings in a hotel, coach from hotel around to the church, reception and back and suggest various tours for people to take before or afterwards. Also considering a group booking at a touristy spot for a few days after the wedding where we could spend time with the people who'd flown out to see us. Problem there is that some people would enjoy the jungle others the shopping mall!

Paying for 2 days hotel stay would be fine but this would equate the max 20% of the flight cost - certainly not enough to enable everyone to come. Good point about causing trouble by only offering some people money though - do you think it would be more reasonable if it was parents, siblings and bridal party only? Less unfair?

I had considered the idea of ceremony in one place and party in another. It would probably actually be easier to do the legal bit in the UK but the UK guests would then expect church, reception etc so we'd just end up doing it all twice. I don't really want to have the ceremony here without my family then just have a party in the UK as a) they'd miss the 'important' bit and b) I think more of my guests would be willing to travel across the world for a wedding than across the country for a party!

It's good to hear that people have had success in arranging the wedding remotely, having family in UK help out is a possibility. Tricky thing is our families are in opposite corners of England and key friends are Northern Scotland so no one UK venue will suit all either...

Good point on transporting the dress! I

NewLeafExpat Wed 11-Jun-14 09:43:32

boleh silakan.. wink

I too live in Asia and got married here to avoid getting CNI certificates back in England And multiple trips back to the UK.

if I could do things again I would do this:
elope legally just for you and DP. use a wedding planner to help get the legal stuff sorted. its cheap and so worth it. get a photographer for your elopement.
go back to England And have a huge celebration reception within a month after eloping.

of course it all totally depends on what YOU both want but that's how I would redo mine if I could. smile

wobblyweebles Wed 11-Jun-14 10:33:35

I would do what NewLeafExpat suggests. I couldn't do it that way because of how my visa worked but it would have been so much easier.

whatsagoodusername Wed 11-Jun-14 11:26:48

I'm American, living in the UK with British DH.

We got married in the US. I delegated nearly everything to my mother and sisters and came out to the US about two weeks before the wedding; DH arrived the week before.

As long as you're happy to delegate, and probably keep things low-key, planning a wedding in the UK shouldn't be too difficult for you as long as your family is happy to help.

HayDayQueen Wed 11-Jun-14 11:52:31

I would get married in the UK. Unless you are living somewhere which would be your permanent home, I think you should go back 'home' to get married tbh.

In this age of internet you really won't find it too difficult to organise a wedding here. And you probably already have ideas on nice places anyway, if you stop and think about it.

If you think the ceremony is the 'important bit' and you want family to be there, then I think you've just hit the nail on the head why it would be better to do it back in the UK.

Some hotel resorts let you book out the whole venue, would something like that be possible financially? Then people could choose to book a room at a discounted rate if they wanted to, or stay somewhere locally if they preferred.

TreadSoftlyOnMyDreams Wed 11-Jun-14 13:09:51

It's your wedding. If you'd like to have it in Asia just so you can arrange all the minutiae yourself that's your prerogative.

If you are doing it to save cash, but then intend to spend it on helping out key guests then what's the point?

I'd use the spare cash on the "bridal party" ie immediate family who you would be gutted if they couldn't attend for financial reasons, rather than extended family or friends.

Beware that many people will be put off because it is Asia rather than USA/SA/AUS where there is no language barrier. Be prepared for a much smaller number than you would have had at home. If it's really important to you to have a huge extended family attend, then you need to learn to delegate the small stuff and come home to get married. This probably multiple times to check out venues, food, florists etc is rubbish.

As an example [and I have no interest in this hotel group other than I found them professional when I was looking] www.handpickedhotels.co.uk/Weddings/ . If you have no particular affiliation with a region of the UK (unless you want your grandmother to attend) you can contact one organisation who will do all the work for you. Venues are dictated by:
- the number of people you want to attend ( I wanted 120 - most venues could do 80 or 150 so it narrowed it down v quickly)
- the number of people who are likely to attend who will also require overnight accommodation
- your budget for that number
- it's proximity to major transport hub (assuming you don't want to travel a long distance on arrival with your wedding dress over one arm)
- availability on the dates you prefer

You can do all that from overseas after which they will supply you with a list of recommended suppliers [bands/florists/DJ's etc] and you could come home and do the whole thing in a week, including selecting clothing for the wedding party.

KitKat1985 Wed 11-Jun-14 13:44:49

I think if you have the wedding in Asia you should be prepared for a lot of non-attenders as for a lot of people the time / financial / family commitments of going would just be prohibitive to attending. Even if people can afford doesn't mean they will want to, and some guests might feel resentful at having to spend hundreds and hundreds of pounds to attend, or having to miss out completely. If therefore it's important to you to have most of your guests at the wedding I'd have the wedding in the UK personally. Presumably since you both have family in the UK you would both be visiting the UK occasionally anyway, so if for example you planned the wedding for a couple of years time you could probably do bits of planning combined with family visits? The other alternative is to look at a wedding planner to do at least organise some bits for you? I know you don't want to (I initially didn't want any help planning my wedding) but I promise you although it all sounds very exciting at the beginning it gets quite tedious / frustrating very quickly (frankly I was quite relieved in the end when my wedding was over, as much as I enjoyed the day itself, as I was fed up of demanding guests / never-ending-phone-calls after 16 months of wedding planning).

PrimalLass Wed 11-Jun-14 14:01:35

Yes, I think YABU. If you want a big wedding, then you can't expect lots of people to fly across the world for it.

SilverShadows Wed 11-Jun-14 14:25:05

I was backwards in that I travelled for my wedding. I only saw my wedding venue the day before. Everything was arranged by email/internet.

If you want people to be at the ceremony, then UK is your best bet.

MaryWestmacott Wed 11-Jun-14 14:33:36

offering to pay for flights for the wedding party, the people you expect to be there, is perfectly fine! Parents, siblings, best man/bridesmaids, then any others are 'nice to have' and you accept a lot won't come.

If you have it in the UK you might feel you have to have a 'big' wedding, whereas having an overseas one means you can just have a smaller one, and as long as eveyrone's been invited, you aren't leaving anyone out, they are chosing not to come.

If you wanted to do the wedding in the UK and do a big wedding, then using a hotel that will do it all for you and getting them to sort the lot would be a lot more sensible than flying back and forth. If you are feeling brave, you could just do the lot over the phone...

Boleh Thu 12-Jun-14 03:20:35

Thanks folks for all the input.

For clarity, we aren't looking at a 'big' wedding wherever it is. I put together a tentative gues list last night which is around 60 people, my family list is 7 who are vital and will definitely all travel plus 6 I'd quite like, of whom 2 will definitely travel and 2 who would be coming from US so travel either way. There are then a few close family friends who are also up for the trip. DPs family list is 15, all of which he is pretty confident will travel if we time it right and provide options to make it a holiday. There are then 20-40 friends who are more of a mix in terms of the travel. The deal breaker for having it abroad for me might be my godmother who possibly won't travel and some school friends.

The aim is not to 'save money' but to spend it in the best possible way - is it better to spend it on UK wedding costs or on helping people travel? We live in a pretty awesome holiday destination but of course it wouldn't be where everyone would choose to spend their annual leave!

It definitely sounds like if I had it in the UK I could safely hand it over to the venue to arrange - I'm just a little suprised at that as my friends who've got married all seem to have travelled the length of the country at least twice to the venue for various things. Perhaps I have 'bridezilla' friends!

Going back to the UK is not as simple as having it where our friends and family are - they range from Suffolk to Aberdeen via Bristol, Manchester etc! So people will have to travel - just not so far.

I think Mary may have hit the nail on the head with my DPs attitude that in the UK we'd end up having a big wedding with people we felt obliged to have there, where we live would probably be smaller but the people really close to us. As I said above there are just a few key folks for me that might swing it back to UK.

Family aren't really clarifying things, DF thinks it would be easier and simpler to have in the UK, DM and DSis think it would be more me and more fun to have in Asia!

Hmm, I've only been engaged a week and this is already consuming way too much of my thought process. I might already be becoming a bridezilla!!

zikreetdreaming Thu 12-Jun-14 04:45:11

I live in the Middle East and got married in the UK. It wasn't particularly complicated arranging the wedding. We did have to do one trip back but that was it and that was sufficient to arrange everything (although MIL had set up a lot in advance). I did go back the week before the wedding as well.
Ultimately though it's down to what you want. We considered getting married locally but at the time our only option was the embassy and we we weren't allowed enough guests to be able to invite immediate relations so it wasn't poss (didn't fancy telling my step mother she wasn't invited!).

If that hadn't been an issue we'd probably have gotten married out here. However the wedding itself wasn't partic important to me in the first place.

Brabra Thu 12-Jun-14 06:09:29

I think you should do whatever you want, as it is your wedding.

However, don't expect everyone to believe it is the single most important event in the history of the world ever. Weddings really aren't awesome holidays, because, let's face it, the guests aren't picking the destination. If you want to be the center of attention in a big wedding, you should do it where people live so they don't have to travel. No one else is as interested in your wedding as you.

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