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Anything I should know before going for a wedding abroad?

(29 Posts)
ThePartyArtist Thu 13-Mar-14 16:58:58

DP and I would like to get married in the future but the costs are so prohibitive that it's virtually impossible. As a result, we've not made any commitments to it, but would both like to at some point.

I am just wondering about whether to do it abroad as his family live overseas, in a place that benefits from excellent weather. Alternatively we could wait and do it in the UK with more people, but I cannot see us being able to afford this - at least not any time soon.

If we went overseas, I would feel uncomfortable inviting as many people as I would in the UK, as it seems unreasonable to expect people to go abroad (plus we need to do this on the cheap). If we had both our families plus partners it'd be 16 people (including us). I would love to also invite friends but once it gets into that there's about 20 extra people and you have to decide on which friends get invited, and risk offending the others, so probably best not to go there. However we could possibly have a hen / stag celebrations, or party on our return, to include more people.

My main hesitations over this idea are as follows - I wondered if anyone can offer advice:

1) The place - we'd have limited choice of venues. The place for the actual ceremony is really beautiful - way nicer than the UK could ever offer (outdoors) but when it comes to somewhere for a meal / hotels options are a little on the 'dated' side.

2) By going to the place DP's family live, would they take over organising? (Obviously this is a difficult question to answer as you don't know them - but something for me to ponder).

3) 4 of the 16 people I have mentioned already live there - would we have to pay for flights and accommodation for everyone who doesn't?

4) Practicalities of all those people being able to get there - how could we organise this?

5) Would it feel not quite right or flat to not have friends / extended family there?

6) My and DP's families aren't exactly kindred spirits - no fall outs just not really anything in common. Would it exacerbate this to have a small gathering? Also the destination would not be a holiday destination of choice for my family.

The pluses however are:

1) We could afford it sooner than a UK wedding (by several years).
2) Good weather.
3) Overseas but somewhere we are both connected to - DP more than me but the outdoor venue is somewhere very special to us both.
4) No need for the stuff I consider unnecessary eg. first dances, cringey speeches, which usually comes with the 'proper' weddings.

Bogeyface Thu 13-Mar-14 18:40:21

DP and I would like to get married in the future but the costs are so prohibitive that it's virtually impossible.

You can get married for £100 registry office costs.

* No need for the stuff I consider unnecessary eg. first dances, cringey speeches, which usually comes with the 'proper' weddings.*

We didnt have that at our wedding.

Why is the cost prohibitive? Surely you can do a registry office weding with a meal afterwards just for close family (ie, parents, siblings, grandparents) and a couple of your closest friends.

Bogeyface Thu 13-Mar-14 18:41:01

Oh and if your family would not choose to go there for a holiday then it is very cheeky to ask them to use holiday and pay to visit it for your wedding.

PortofinoRevisited Thu 13-Mar-14 18:44:12

I agree with the Registry Office idea if you want to get married. I am hugely against the idea that a wedding should cost ANYONE ELSE a fortune, beyond a gift and a few drinks.

ilovepowerhoop Thu 13-Mar-14 18:44:15

dh and I went abroad to get married but we didnt invite anyone to go with us and asked a couple at the same hotel to be our witnesses.

jayho Thu 13-Mar-14 19:08:11

To my mind, marriage is marriage, commitment, public espousal of vows etc, wedding is another beast altogether.. Work out what you want.

Do you want to be married, in which case registry office and celebratory party in each location.

Do you want a wedding, in which case complications as you describe come into play.

Lindt70Percent Thu 13-Mar-14 19:35:49

I never understand when people say they can't afford to get married. I've never wanted a wedding. I know other people dream of their wedding day but it seems such a shame to put off getting married because you can't afford a wedding. You're putting life on hold for the sake of one event.

We got married abroad but didn't invite anyone to the wedding. We had a small family get together at my mum's when we got home. Was really cheap and so stress free! It was also very personal. Neither of us have ever regretted it.

Best wedding I ever went to was my brother's. It was a registry office wedding with just family. After they married we went to a pub nearby for a meal. Everyone paid for their own meals. Then we all left and they went out with their friends in the evening. We had a really lovely time and it somehow felt more genuine than the flashy weddings I've been to that have felt more about the day than the wanting to just get married.

Another lovely wedding I went to was at a castle in Sussex. We all stayed overnight in the castle. The bride was very into horses and had both her horses brought to the castle for photos of her and the groom on horseback. The food was fantastic, the best man (groom's brother) had everyone in tears with his emotional speech. The disco was great fun and when it got dark we all went outside to watch fireworks. They were divorced a year later. The groom claimed he'd never really wanted to get married and had just gone along with it!

I know a flashy wedding doesn't equal divorce. However, both days just resulted in a marriage but one day cost a hell of a lot more than the other.

How about having a small wedding at a registry office here and then travelling to his family's to celebrate with them? That way you also won't care if they take over a bit as the important bit will already have been done anyway.

HelenHen Thu 13-Mar-14 22:52:49

We got married 'abroad' in my country! We limited numbers as we could only afford so many. Eventually we realised that many people couldn't afford to go so we would have been safe to invite everyone. You don't have to pay for flights and accommodation unless you can afford them, which you can't! But don't be offended when people you presumed would come actually can't. We also specified no gifts as people travelling was more than enough.

Its your wedding, do what you want smile

Perfectlypurple Thu 13-Mar-14 22:57:54

lindt we did exactly the same. I also never really wanted a wedding. It was just something I had to do to start my marriage. We went abroad, just the 2 of us and had a bbq for family and another for friends at our home. I never regretted it. I did have a wedding dress but it was just something I felt I had to have. It doesn't really mean anything to me.

tatyr Fri 14-Mar-14 05:45:15

Agree with jayho
Is it a marriage you want or a wedding?

KatieScarlett2833 Fri 14-Mar-14 07:40:17

We got married abroad and invited no one, no invitations were sent .(TBH they invited themselves anyway)
We held a party when we got home.
It was stress free and wonderful.

ThePartyArtist Fri 14-Mar-14 11:06:15

Thanks all, some good food for thought!
Well to be honest, it is a wedding I want. But the idea of a UK registry office just feels a bit flat... and whilst we could go for inviting friends, family etc. for a meal afterwards, realistically this is 100 people and then it's a huge cost!
I've looked into options for going abroad and for £2k we could fly everyone there, rent holiday accommodation, have the wedding night in a nice hotel, do a low-key drinks reception and go out for dinner. For a few hundred extra we could have the drinks reception on a boat watching dolphins. It seems like the money would go a lot further than doing a big wedding in the UK so I am really tempted...

Lindt70Percent Fri 14-Mar-14 11:14:11

In that case, I'd definitely go for the abroad option. Sounds lovely.

mummytime Fri 14-Mar-14 11:32:42

Why not have a big party in the UK when you get back?

You don't have to pay for everyones airfares, but do realise some people might have to say no because they just can't afford it. Whether your DH's family would take over; well that depends on what they are like.

CountessOfRule Fri 14-Mar-14 11:38:02

Foreign weddings aren't cheaper; they just shift the cost from the B&G to the guests.

That said, if your families are split across two countries anyway then there is no cheap option that includes everyone.

There are lots of MN threads, including one currently in AIBU ("... to continue my wedding thread here") about budget weddings. You can do it cheaply and nicely without putting a financial or social obligation on other people or including elements you dislike.

Have a foreign wedding if you want one but not just because you think it might be cheaper.

Yes, they will take over. Whoever is local inevitably does.

BertieBotts Fri 14-Mar-14 11:44:13

Yes when you're looking at around 100ish people you're looking at about 4k minimum, that's what we found.

In the end we went for registry office (there are some really nice ones. Ours was in a beautiful old house with lovely gardens and a view of the town castle.) we did it at short notice and originally specified it would be a small do and had 35 guests. We spent just over 1k.

I think your cost issue is to do with numbers. You could have a really nice wedding for 2k in the UK inviting only 20 people. So your main reason for having it abroad is a genuine-sounding reason to cut numbers.

fluffiphlox Fri 14-Mar-14 11:46:10

I think it's entirely a matter of choice BUT having seen the conveyor belt of weddings on a Caribbean beach (nearly 30 years ago admittedly) avoid that option like the plague. Things may have changed but it seemed like the naffest thing going: everybody bright pink and sweating, being gawped at by a load swimsuited guests.
Also don't expect your would-be guests to stump up for an expensive trip that they didn't ask to have.
Register Office, simple dress, meal at somewhere nice for a dozen of you. That wouldn't break the bank.

ThePartyArtist Fri 14-Mar-14 12:11:20

@flyffiphlox no definitely not Caribbean! To be honest i have always found it strange when people go for a wedding abroad to somewhere they have no connection to. In this case it would be a much less glam location, where DP grew up.

BlingBubbles Fri 14-Mar-14 12:20:57

We got married abroad in my home country which also offered us lovely weather and with the exchange rate a much cheaper option than the UK. We had the most amazing wedding that I dare not think how much it would have costed in England.

We still invited all our friends and family but knew some people would not make it, that is risk with an overseas wedding. Quite a lot f our friends did come over and made a holiday out of it and stayed touring the country for 2 weeks.

As my mum lives they she helped a lot with the planning and so did the wedding coordinator from the venue. It was great having my mum there, she met with all the flower people, decor people etc and emailed me pictures. So it really helped.

When 1 person comes from abroad it's never an easy option of where to get married, someone's family will always lose out.

You could do what my cousin did and just get married in a country between hers and her DH smile

Good luck I hope it goes well

Laquitar Fri 14-Mar-14 13:37:21

We 've done that. We paid the flights for my family to fly to dh's country. My ils paid hotel for them but as the hotel was owned by relatives it was only a very small charge.Then the wedding was cheap and cheerful and everybody helped. In a country with warm weather you can have outdoors party in the evening.
Don't forget to take on account the airport transfers too,greeting people who arrive, introducing each other etc. This was a bit tiring as people arrived on different days. Mind you it was a very small country and we were very close to the airport.

ThePartyArtist Fri 14-Mar-14 14:07:07

@Laquitar which country was this if you don't mind me asking?

Laquitar Fri 14-Mar-14 14:49:11

We married in Cyprus. So the distances between towns, airport, venue, were small.
Are you going there too?

ThePartyArtist Fri 14-Mar-14 14:57:52

No - we're thinking Gibraltar. Just thought it sounded similar in terms of scale and wondered if you'd been married in the same place.

Laquitar Fri 14-Mar-14 15:05:53

Oh lovely!!!
My family came from Spain.
Well i think you will have a lovely time:-)

ArsePaste Fri 14-Mar-14 17:19:20

We got married in a register office (there are some lovely ones, if you look around) and had 150 people at the reception. Wedding in total cost around �2.5k including food and a band. It doesn't have to be expensive, or "flat" to have a wedding in the UK.

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