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Where can we get married abroad and not have to have a U.K. ceremony too?

(68 Posts)
MummySparkle Sat 13-Jan-18 21:37:37

DP and I have been together for ages. We have 2 beautiful DCs, 4 and 3, and have been engaged for over 5 years.

Frankly we can't be bothered to have a wedding and we don't want the fuss hassle and stress of organising a wedding. Neither of us like big parties and we both have anxiety over that sort of thing. The though of having to say our vows in front of people fills us with dread.

We've contemplated just going to a registry office with both sets of our parents and signing the paperwork, but even that throws up issues. Both of our mums have re-married, I have no contact with my dad so from my side it would be mum and stepdad but I'd have to have my grandma there too. Then on DPs side he'd have to have his mum and stepdad, but his dad would be upset if he wasn't invited, and then his man would want to be there, so even inviting nobody we'd still end up with 6 or 7 people that don't get on in a room watching us and then we'd have to do something with them afterwards. The thought of going for a meal with all of them is just awful! DPs dad would get drunk, has nowhere to stay locally without staying with DPs auntie so then she'd have to be involved... basically there is no way we could have the little quiet ceremony that we'd like to have here in the U.K.

So, I think our best option would be to book a wedding holiday abroad. Just us and the DCs. I want to go somewhere where we can stay in a hotel, have the wedding nearby, but it just be us, we can rock up wearing casual clothes (nice stuff, but I'm thinking shorts and a nice top not suits and a wedding dress). And just get married. Then stay on for a few days and have a family holiday / honeymoon. The DCs are our world so we want them to be a part of it.

I've been looking online, but it all gets confusing as to which countries we could do this in without having to do anything here other than DP and I turning up somewhere and showing someone some paperwork.

Does anybody have any experience of this? Where can we go? Any recommendations? We don't want the whole 'honeymoon suite' and special treatment. Just a bog-standard package holiday with a quick 'I Do' thrown in. Is this even possible?!

MummySparkle Sat 13-Jan-18 21:38:36

Sorry, that turned out to be quite long!

I just want a really quiet wedding abroad with no fuss, no paperwork & legality issues and no interference from family!

PoshPenny Sat 13-Jan-18 21:42:44

Why can't you just go to the registry office here with a close friend each to act as witnesses without telling anyone else what you're doing? Unless one of your relations goes into the reg office often to read the wedding notices, is anyone likely to find out before?

MummySparkle Sat 13-Jan-18 21:49:19

We don't have friends we'd both feel comfortable enough with to do that. We have quite separate circles of friends and that would just be awkward. And getting married without telling our families would cause them a lot of hurt. Likewise if we told them , but said we were having other people as witnesses that would not go down well either.

The best solution would be to say to our families: we are going on holiday abroad with the kids (they've never been or if the country before). Whilst we're there we are going to get married. We want it to be a special week away for us, but don't want a fuss or a part or anything when we get back.

MummySparkle Sat 13-Jan-18 21:49:50


MummySparkle Sat 13-Jan-18 21:52:17

I also think our families would like that idea and contribute to costs if we did it that way. They know how much we have been through and what a special 'wedding holiday' would mean to us. It would also seem to them like we're making it a special thing rather than just going to a registry office.

We've contemplated hiring witnesses or grabbing some ransoms off the street, but DPs anxiety wouldn't cope with that.

bhdhnghjn Sat 13-Jan-18 21:54:00

I got married in Florida and didn't need to do anything over here!

My sister married in Cyprus and again didn't have to do anything here either

HolgerDanske Sat 13-Jan-18 21:57:01

I think they’ll be just as hurt if you tell them you’re going abroad to get married.

I’d honestly get married here in a simple ceremony at the registry office, let everyone know afterwards and just celebrate with each set of parents and/or relatives separately by going out with them for a nice dinner.

As far as witnesses goes,, if you don’t have any close enough friends that you’d want to ask them to be witnesses I would go completely the other way and just ask some random people on the street if they would be willing to do it, that way it removes the personal aspect and just makes it a legal thing (which, after all, is all it is).

Much simpler, no hassle, and cheaper.

SheepyFun Sat 13-Jan-18 21:59:14

Just to say, there are definitely countries where you can do this (I don't know the list). However if either you or DP aren't British, then check carefully whether or not the marriage would count for visa reasons (I've had friends in this situation who have got married here, having proved the relationship was legitimate. If they'd got married in the groom's home country, the marriage probably wouldn't have been deemed genuine when he was applying for visas).

Areyouready Sat 13-Jan-18 22:01:47

Could you take a uk city break and get married? Belfast? Cardiff? Edinburgh? London?

tigerdog Sat 13-Jan-18 22:03:22

We were going to get married at San Francisco City Hall. Very easy to arrange. Made the mistake of telling family before we did it and my future inlaws went mad, so we didn’t go through with it. I gather New York is also easy enough to arrange a wedding - I know a few people who have eloped over there.

zsazsajuju Sat 13-Jan-18 22:05:30

Most us states are fairly straightforward and are recognised. What about Las Vegas? Could be a fun break.

LIZS Sat 13-Jan-18 22:06:52

Some countries require you to be resident for a minimum period beforehand but the marriage is perfectly legal. It is also common to have the legal formalities at a town hall ahead of a ceremony or reception.

HolgerDanske Sat 13-Jan-18 22:07:43

Yeah if OP is already worried about stress and hassle and trying to please everyone, I really don’t think announcing it beforehand is going work. It’s going to start up a great big shitstorm and loads of stress hassle and fuss from every side.

HolgerDanske Sat 13-Jan-18 22:09:24

I’m sure a marriage ceremony in Denmark would be perfectly valid and they’re easy to arrange (or were some years ago. Don’t know what it’s like now). Or you could do the old eloping thing and take a weekend trip to Gretna green.

HiggedyPiggedy Sat 13-Jan-18 22:19:10


MummySparkle Sat 13-Jan-18 22:27:53

SOme great suggestions here thank you!

US is out of the question because I'm not sure that I'm allowed in. I don't pass the requirements for the visa waiver for medical reasons and that will throw up more issues than it solves... plus I'm not actually sure how I feel about the US these days. I don't want to feel my wedding connects me in any way to Trump! (Daft I know, but I guess a wedding is important!)

Denmark and Gibraltar are great suggestions! I contemplated going up to Scotland, but my family won't get it in quite the same way as if we went on holiday abroad. I can't put my finger on why, I've never even broached the subject with them, but if the wedding is in the U.K. they won't understand why it's in Scotland and not near home. and it's too easy for them to get there, they might turn up!

I will check minimum residency, that's a good point and an important factor. Happy for the wedding to be at the end of the holiday, but ideally want to be away for no longer than a week - 10 days

dementedpixie Sat 13-Jan-18 22:30:14

Dh and i got married in Kenya. Think we had to be there for a few days beforehand

Bodear Sat 13-Jan-18 22:34:04

We got married in Austria last year. All very simple and the ceremonies are very quick and simple. Basicallly, the registrar asks the groom if he wants to marry the bride, then asks the bride the same thing and you both sign the certificate and you’re done. You can pad it out with readings if you want but you don’t have to. We arranged it via email and then had to show our documents in person 2 days prior to the wedding. Let me know if you want more info. Congratulations though, wherever you decide.

MrsPear Sat 13-Jan-18 22:36:33

Albania - is another

MummySparkle Sat 13-Jan-18 22:38:57

I've just looked at gibraltar and I think it might be perfect!! We have to be there three days before, which is fine - we can get married in the middle of our week there. Awesome cable car, apes, kids would love it there! And literally no legal fuss because it's part of the U.K. and we could have the ceremony outside in the botanical gardens, which would be perfect for both of us. Not enclosed, not trapped, easy to step back for a minute or two if we're anxious. Will feel far less formal, we can just wear nice clothes without feeling under dressed. And they can provide witnesses. Ticks every single box!

I think I might actually be getting married!!!!!!!!!

ClaraLane Sat 13-Jan-18 22:39:59

Our friends got married in Santorini and didn’t have to have a ceremony over here. You could also look at Cyprus or Italy? Or what about Ireland?

ClaraLane Sat 13-Jan-18 22:41:00

I also know from when we were planning our wedding and I wanted to elope when everything got too stressful that you don’t have to give much notice to get married in Gibraltar so that’s an option!

Vintagegoth Sat 13-Jan-18 22:42:47

I got married in Sweden. Just needed a certified translation of the marriage certificate to send to authorities in UK to notify the marriage. No ceremony in UK needed.

FinallyHere Sat 13-Jan-18 22:47:38

In these circumstances, I would book a slot at a registry office in the uk, get married (two of the staff will be happy to be witnesses, or ask the next couple in the queue to be your witnesses) then enjoy your holiday with no legal complexities to make you anxious.

On your return, tell everyone you are married and well, get on with your life. Simples.

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